The LIII Foster's Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the 1988 Australian Grand Prix, was the sixteenth and final round of the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged on the 13 November 1988 at the Adelaide Street Circuit. The race would see Alain Prost claim victory ahead of World Champion teammate Ayrton Senna, in what was the last race, and victory, for a turbocharged car until the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.
The build-up to the 1988 season finale was coated in controversy, with FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre insinuating that McLaren-Honda had been biased towards Senna in the latter half of the season. In response McLaren boss Ron Dennis demanded an apology from FISA, although there was no threat of a McLaren withdrawal as the team aimed for a record fifteenth win of the campaign.
Newly crowned Champion Senna duly put his McLaren on pole, with Prost claiming a comfortable second in the sister car. Nigel Mansell was best of the rest in his Williams-Judd, ahead of Gerhard Berger of Ferrari, out-going Champion Nelson Piquet, and Riccardo Patrese, who was making a record breaking 176th Grand Prix start.
The start of the race saw Senna limp away from pole, handing Prost an instant lead on the run into the first corner. Senna hence had to fend off an attack from Mansell into the first corner, and duly squeezed the Brit towards the wall to hold onto his position.
Mansell duly dropped behind Berger and Piquet having backed off, as Michele Alboreto and Alex Caffi removed one-another just behind. Prost, meanwhile, was able to establish a small lead over Senna, with the Brazilian himself unable to shake the attentions of Berger and co. behind.
Indeed, Berger would ease past the Brazilian early on lap three, and duly went on to hunt down Prost for the lead. A swift move on lap fourteen carried the #28 Ferrari to the head of the field, with Berger quickly establishing a lead ahead of the Frenchman.
It looked as if it was Berger's race to loose, only for the Austrian to smash into the back of René Arnoux while trying to lap him. Berger was out on the spot with heavy damage, handing Prost a now comfortable lead over Senna in second.
Prost duly went on to win the race at a canter, with Senna a distant second to end the season three points off the Brazilian. Nelson Piquet, meanwhile, would survive a series of late retirements to claim the 172nd and final podium finish for Lotus, as McLaren-Honda set a new record for most points scored across a Championship season.
An eighth victory of the season last time out in Japan had ensured that Ayrton Senna was declared as the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship Champion with a race to spare, with dropped scores having a major influence. Indeed, his major rival Alain Prost could only score three points in Australia, which would only bring him level with the Brazilian if Senna failed to score. Senna would therefore win the crown by virtue of his eight wins to the Frenchman's seven, despite the fact that Prost had outscored Senna across the entire season.
In the Constructors' Championship, meanwhile, McLaren-Honda had once again increased their record points tally, having moved onto 184 points in Japan. They left Suzuka with a 119 point lead over second placed Ferrari, who had officially secured the runner-up spot in Japan. Benetton-Ford Cosworth had likewise secured third ahead of Arrows-Megatron, with March-Judd, Lotus-Honda and Williams-Judd all in the fight for fourth.
The full entry list for the 1988 Australian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1988 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|8||19||Alessandro Nannini||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:20.331||1:20.182||+2.434s|
|10||20||Thierry Boutsen||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:21.114||1:20.486||+2.738s|
|11||36||Alex Caffi||Dallara-Ford Cosworth||1:20.781||1:20.881||+3.033s|
|14||23||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:21.905||1:21.133||+3.385s|
|15||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Rial-Ford Cosworth||1:21.944||1:21.164||+3.416s|
|16||14||Philippe Streiff||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:22.170||1:21.262||+3.514s|
|17||3||Jonathan Palmer||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:21.959||1:21.307||+3.559s|
|20||33||Stefano Modena||EuroBrun-Ford Cosworth||1:21.972||1:21.856||+4.108s|
|21||24||Luis Pérez-Sala||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:23.022||1:21.893||+4.145s|
|24||30||Philippe Alliot||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:22.420||1:22.211||+4.463s|
|25||32||Oscar Larrauri||EuroBrun-Ford Cosworth||1:23.413||1:22.213||+4.465s|
|DNQ||31||Gabriele Tarquini||Coloni-Ford Cosworth||1:23.650||1:22.393||+4.645s|
|DNQ||4||Julian Bailey||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:23.530||1:22.529||+4.781s|
|DNQ||29||Pierre-Henri Raphanel||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:23.393||1:22.733||+4.985s|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|Andrea de Cesaris||16|
- * Modena would start the race from the back of the grid after stalling on the formation lap.
The full results for the 1988 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * de Cesaris, Johansson, Alliot and Streiff were all still classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.
- Final race to feature a turbocharged Formula One car until the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.
- Zakspeed made their 51st and final appearance as an engine supplier.
- 32nd and final Grand Prix for Megatron as an engine supplier.
- Maiden entry for Pierre-Henri Raphanel.
- Ayrton Senna claimed the 40th pole position for a McLaren chassis.
- The Brazilian also set a record for most poles in a single season - 13.
- Alain Prost secured his 35th victory.
- Prost set a new record for most point scoring races in a season - 14.
- McLaren claimed their 70th win as a constructor.
- McLaren set a new record for most points scored in a single season - 199.
- McLaren also claimed the record for most point scores in a single season - 27.
- Lotus claimed their 172nd and final podium finish.
Alain Prost ended the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship as the highest scoring driver after his seventh win of the season, and yet that was not enough to see him crowned Champion. Indeed, for just the second time in F1 history, and the first since John Surtees claimed the 1964 title, the title had been decided on the dropped scores rule. Ayrton Senna was hence able to receive his crown having officially scored 90 points to Prost's 87, despite the fact that they had scored 94 and 105 respectively across the season.
In the Constructors' Championship, meanwhile, it had been a startlingly dominant season for McLaren-Honda, who ended the turbo-era of F1 with a record 199 point haul. Their tally was more than three times that of second placed Ferrari, and over five times the value of Benetton-Ford Cosworth's 39 point tally in third. Elsewhere, Lotus-Honda had hauled themselves back into the top five at the season finale, with ten teams having registered points across the campaign.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 '16. Australia 1988', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/australie.aspx, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 'Australian GP, 1987', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr468.html, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Australia 1988: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/australie.aspx, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Foster's Australian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1988/races/542/australia/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Foster's Australian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1988/races/542/australia/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Australia 1988: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/australie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 'Australia 1988: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/australie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 '1988 Australian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1988&gp=Australian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 15/04/2019)
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