The 1986 French Grand Prix, otherwise known as the 72e Grand Prix de France, was the eighth round of the 1986 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit Paul Ricard on the 6 July 1986. The race, which marked the halfway point in the 1986 campaign, would see Nigel Mansell claim victory as Alain Prost moved to the top of the Championship.
The switch to the shorter circuit at Paul Ricard had been enforced after Elio de Angelis' fatal accident at the circuit a month earlier. Indeed, the new circuit completely cut off the Esses where the Italian had flown off the circuit in the Brabham-BMW, and greatly reduced the length of the Mistral straight.
It was Championship leader, and de Angelis' former teammate Ayrton Senna who claimed pole position during qualifying, the Brazilian lapping the shortened circuit in 1:06.526. Nigel Mansell would, as ever, claim second for Williams-Honda ahead of his teammate Nelson Piquet, while Prost would start from fifth behind René Arnoux.
The start of the race would see Mansell sprint ahead of Senna, while Arnoux, Gerhard Berger, Prost and Johnny Dumfries all getting the jump on Piquet. The Brazilian was hence left to fend off Keke Rosberg as tried to hang onto seventh, while Michele Alboreto was left stranded on the grid after stalling.
The early stages would see Mansell establish a small lead at the head of the field, while Senna spectacularly crashed out of contention when he hit an oil slick left by Andrea de Cesaris. That put Arnoux up into second ahead of Berger, although the Austrian racer was coming under constant attack from the two McLaren-TAG Porsches as the early laps ticked away.
Ultimately Berger's resistance would be broken before the end of lap ten, before the Austrian ultimately removed himself from the proceedings by slamming into the back of Christian Danner. Prost and Rosberg, meanwhile, would be left to attack Arnoux for second, and would duly complete their respective moves on the Ligier-Renault before the end of the eighteenth lap.
Mansell would pit from the lead a few laps later, the Brit opting for a two stop strategy rather than the McLarens' one. As such Mansell would drop behind both Prost and Rosberg mid-race, although after his second stop the Brit would be able to retake the lead with ease with fresher rubber.
Indeed, barring a late move by Piquet on Rosberg the race would effectively be over by the end of lap 58. Mansell therefore claimed victory at a canter from Prost and Piquet, while Rosberg was frustrated to slip to fourth in the closing stages as his tyres faded badly. The remaining points would go to the two Ligiers, with Arnoux ahead of Jacques Laffite.
The results of the race meant that Prost re-took the lead in the Championship at the halfway mark, a point ahead of Mansell in second while Senna dropped three behind in third. In the Constructors Championship, meanwhile, it was Williams-Honda who ended the afternoon on top, five ahead of McLaren-TAG Porsche.
Background[edit | edit source]
Victory in Detroit had propelled Ayrton Senna back into the lead of the Championship, with the Brazilian having opened out a three point lead over Alain Prost. Furthermore, with Nigel Mansell just four points further back in third, it seemed as if it would be a three way fight for the Championship, with all three drivers holding two wins across the first seven races. Behind, Nelson Piquet was ten points off his third placed teammate, with Keke Rosberg even further back in fifth.
It was a similar picture the Constructors Championship at the start of the French Grand Prix weekend, with Williams-Honda and McLaren-TAG Porsche having ended the Detroit weekend just a point apart. It was the Anglo-Japanese combination, rather than the Anglo-German alliance that led, before an eleven point gap back to third placed Lotus-Renault. Indeed, the Ethel based squad were also in the hunt for the crown, provided that second driver Johnny Dumfries became a regular scorer, having left Ligier-Renault in an increasingly distant fourth.
Entry list[edit | edit source]
The full entry list for the 1986 French Grand Prix is outlined below:
Practice Overview[edit | edit source]
Qualifying[edit | edit source]
Friday Qualifying[edit | edit source]
Saturday Qualifying[edit | edit source]
Qualifying Results[edit | edit source]
The full qualifying results for the 1986 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
|13||16||Patrick Tambay||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:09.108||1:08.616||+2.090s|
|19||24||Alessandro Nannini||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:09.792||1:10.630||+3.266s|
|20||15||Alan Jones||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:09.929||1:10.733||+3.403s|
|23||23||Andrea de Cesaris||Minardi-Motori Moderni||1:11.483||1:21.859||+4.957s|
|25||21||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:14.496||1:12.443||+5.917s|
|26||22||Allen Berg||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:18.866||1:14.264||+7.738s|
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
- T Indicates a driver using their test/spare cars to set their best time in this session.
Grid[edit | edit source]
|24||Andrea de Cesaris|
Race[edit | edit source]
Report[edit | edit source]
Results[edit | edit source]
The full results for the 1986 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Boutsen was unable to be classified as he failed to complete 90% of the race distance.
Milestones[edit | edit source]
- Derek Warwick entered his 75th Grand Prix.
- Thierry Boutsen entered his 50th race.
- Tenth entry for Christian Danner.
- Fifth victory for Nigel Mansell.
- Williams secured their 26th win as a constructor.
- Nelson Piquet recorded the 70th podium finish for Williams.
- Mansell would record the 25th fastest lap for a car using #5 as its race number.
Standings[edit | edit source]
Second place in France was enough to hand the Championship lead back to Alain Prost at the halfway point in the season, although victory for Nigel Mansell ensured that he was just a point behind. Indeed, even former leader Ayrton Senna had not lost too much ground in-spite of slipping to third, remaining just three off the lead, before a huge thirteen point gap to Nelson Piquet. Further back, Keke Rosberg had lost more ground in fifth ahead of Jacques Laffite, while René Arnoux crept up the table to seventh.
In the Constructors Championship it was Williams-Honda who ended the first half of the season on top, ending the French Grand Prix with a five point lead. McLaren-TAG Porsche were still their closest challengers, sat on 56 points, while Lotus-Renault were beginning to fall out of the fight in third, ending the day twenty behind McLaren. Indeed, the effort from Ethel were being punished for only having one consistent point scoring driver, with Johnny Dumfries yet to threaten the points at all.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
References[edit | edit source]
Images and Videos:
- 'French GP, 1986', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr428.html, (Accessed 29/03/2019)
- 'France 1986: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/france/engages.aspx, (Accessed 29/03/2019)
- 'Grand Prix de France 1986 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1986/races/505/france/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 29/03/2019)
- 'Grand Prix de France 1986 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1986/races/505/france/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 29/03/2019)
- 'France 1986: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/france/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 29/03/2019)
- 'France 1986: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/france/classement.aspx, (Accessed 29/03/2019)
- '1986 French GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1986&gp=French%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 29/03/2019)
- '8. France 1986', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1986/france.aspx, (Accessed 29/03/2019)
|V T E||French Grand Prix|
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