The 1990 Australian Grand Prix, otherwise known as the LV Foster's Australian Grand Prix, was the sixteenth and final round of the 1990 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Adelaide Street Circuit in South Australia on the 4 November 1990. The race, which was the 500th World Championship Grand Prix to be held, would see Nelson Piquet sweep to victory for Benetton-Ford Cosworth.
The final round of the 1990 campaign was heralded by the fallout after the title deciding Japanese Grand Prix, where a collision between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna had settled the Championship in the latter's favour. Ferrari, in protest of the Brazilian's actions, threatened to withdraw from F1 unless FISA conducted an investigation into dangerous driving, after Senna effectively said that he would instigate a crash between himself and Senna in Japan.
Away from the political battles and it was Senna who secured pole position for the finale, beating McLaren-Honda teammate in another duel for top spot. Nigel Mansell was best of the rest for Ferrari ahead of his teammate Prost, while Jean Alesi got his Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth ahead of the two Williams-Renaults and Benettons.
Senna duly aced his start to break away at the head of the field, leaving Berger to fend off the Ferrari challenge for second. Behind, Piquet made an excellent start to jump Riccardo Patrese and Alesi off the line, with the rest of the field surprisingly making it through the first corner without issue.
The early laps saw Senna eek out a lead at the head of the field, while Berger accidentally hit his ignition switch and lost power, allowing Mansell to sneak into second. Elsewhere, Piquet barged his way past Prost to claim fourth, and duly claimed third from Berger a few laps later, while Aguri Suzuki was an early casualty with a differential failure.
Mansell caught up to the back of Senna over the following laps, although he was unable to make a move stick on the Brazilian. Indeed, the pair remained virtually nose-to-tail until lap 43, when a mistake from Mansell saw the Ferrari go skating down the escape road, and hence prompted the Brit to pit.
Mansell rejoined in fifth, and with fresh rubber was quickly able to get back ahead of Berger, who had just slipped behind Prost. Senna, meanwhile, had a comfortable lead ahead of Piquet at the head of the field, only for a gearbox issue to send his McLaren sliding into the barriers.
Piquet was hence left in the lead, although as the final laps ticked away he would see a scarlet Ferrari get larger and larger in his mirrors. Indeed, Mansell was throwing everything at the Adelaide circuit in hopes of claiming the win, having dealt with Prost with ease soon after passing Berger.
Ultimately Mansell would catch Piquet on the final lap, although his hopes of victory were ended when a his lunge for the lead sent him skating wide at turn four. Piquet was hence able to cruise home ahead three seconds ahead of the Brit to secure victory, while Prost completed the podium ahead of Berger, Thierry Boutsen and Patrese.
The 1990 FIA Formula One World Championship was effectively over prior to the trip to Adelaide, with Ayrton Senna the de facto Champion with a race to spare. Indeed, while Alain Prost was within a race win of the Brazilian's tally, the dropped score rule ensured that he would drop too many points to overhaul Senna's tally. The Frenchman would therefore have to settle for second, while Gerhard Berger faced an intriguing fight for third with Nelson Piquet in Australia.
Likewise, the Constructors Championship had been decided with a race to go, with McLaren-Honda holding an eighteen point lead over Ferrari in second. Indeed, with just fifteen points on offer in Australia there was no chance of Ferrari overhauling the Anglo-Japanese alliance, meaning they had to settle for second. Behind, Benetton-Ford Cosworth had seemed to have seized the imitative in their fight for third with Williams-Renault, moving eight points clear ahead of the season finale.
The full entry list for the 1990 Australian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1990 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|5||4||Jean Alesi||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:16.837||1:17.246||+1.166s|
|7||20||Nelson Piquet||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:17.640||1:17.173||+1.502s|
|8||19||Roberto Moreno||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:17.437||1:18.089||+1.766s|
|10||23||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:18.235||1:17.827||+2.156s|
|12||25||Nicola Larini||Ligier-Ford Cosworth||1:19.567||1:18.730||+3.059s|
|13||3||Satoru Nakajima||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:18.738||1:19.066||+3.067s|
|14||16||Ivan Capelli||Leyton House-Judd||1:19.341||1:18.843||+3.172s|
|15||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Dallara-Ford Cosworth||1:19.107||1:18.858||+3.187s|
|16||15||Maurício Gugelmin||Leyton House-Judd||1:19.804||1:18.860||+3.189s|
|19||26||Philippe Alliot||Ligier-Ford Cosworth||1:19.202||1:19.835||+3.531s|
|20||24||Gianni Morbidelli||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:19.408||1:19.347||+3.676s|
|21||21||Emanuele Pirro||Dallara-Ford Cosworth||1:19.476||1:19.609||+3.805s|
|22||14||Olivier Grouillard||Osella-Ford Cosworth||1:21.047||1:19.722||+4.051s|
|26||17||Gabriele Tarquini||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:21.222||1:20.296||+4.625s|
|DNQ||9||Michele Alboreto||Arrows-Ford Cosworth||1:20.630||1:20.545||+4.874s|
|DNQ||18||Yannick Dalmas||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:21.342||1:20.570||+4.899s|
|DNQ||10||Alex Caffi||Arrows-Ford Cosworth||1:21.101||1:21.609||+4.938s|
|DNQ||31||Bertrand Gachot||Coloni-Ford Cosworth||1:23.135||1:23.975||+6.464s|
- 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|
The full results for the 1990 Australian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- 500th FIA Formula One World Championship Grand Prix to be staged.
- Tyrrell started their 300th race as a constructor.
- Andrea de Cesaris made his 150th Grand Prix start.
- Philippe Alliot entered his 100th race.
- 50th race entry for Nicola Larini.
- Tenth Grand Prix entry for Johnny Herbert.
- 22nd victory for Nelson Piquet.
- Benetton claimed their fourth win as a constructor.
With the chequered flag falling in Australia the 1990 FIA Formula One World Championship was concluded, with Ayrton Senna proclaimed as the Champion with 78 points to his name. Alain Prost ended the campaign in the runner-up spot, with an official score of 71 points, while Nelson Piquet climbed to third on the final day, sporting 43 points. Gerhard Berger ended the campaign level with the Brazilian but behind on countback, while Nigel Mansell completed the end-of-season top five.
In the Constructors Championship it had been another strong campaign for McLaren-Honda, who ended the season on 121 points. Ferrari were officially scored in second, eleven off the Champions, while Benetton-Ford Cosworth had secured third, moving onto 71 points after their late-season flurry. Williams-Renault were next on 57, with some 41 points separating them from fifth placed Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Australian GP, 1990', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr500.html, (Accessed 10/07/2019)
- 'Australia 1990: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1990/australie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 10/07/2019)
- 'Foster's Australian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1990/races/79/australia/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 10/07/2019)
- 'Foster's Australian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1990/races/79/australia/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 10/07/2019)
- 'Australia 1990: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1990/australie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 10/07/2019)
- 'Australia 1990: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1990/australie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 10/07/2019)
- '16. Australia 1990', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1990/australie.aspx, (Accessed 10/07/2019)
- '1990 Australian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1990&gp=Australian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 10/07/2019)
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