The 1990 French Grand Prix, otherwise known as the LXXVI Rhône-Poulenc Grand Prix de France, was the seventh round of the 1990 FIA Formula One World Championship staged at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France, on the 8 July 1990. The race would see Alain Prost secure his third victory of the season on home soil, denying Leyton House-Judd a famous maiden victory having dominated the race for a significant period.
The race was heralded by news that a new venue would host the French Grand Prix in 1991, with the Magny-Cours circuit being built at the behest of French President François Mitterrand. There were also some major changes behind the scenes at several F1 teams, with Adrian Newey leaving Leyton House to join Williams for 1991.
Into the 1990 edition of the French race and qualifying would see Nigel Mansell sweep to pole position, breaking McLaren-Honda's six race streak. Gerhard Berger and Ayrton Senna would, however, claim second and third for the Marlboro backed squad, while Prost was the best placed Frenchman in fourth.
It was Berger who made the best start to the race, sprinting ahead of Mansell to secure the lead into the first corner. Senna gave chases in third, while Prost slipped behind Alessandro Nannini and Riccardo Patrese during the sprint to the first corner.
Senna proved to be the man to watch during the early stages, scything past Mansell before latching onto the back of teammate Berger. They subsequently worked together to build a lead ahead of Mansell, Nannini, Patrese and Prost, with Thierry Boutsen becoming an early retirement after an engine failure.
The top drivers in the field soon stopped for fresh tyres, with slow stops for McLaren, combined with a stunningly quick swap for Prost, leaving the Frenchman at the head of stoppers. On track, meanwhile, the two Leyton House-Judds had opted to run without stopping, with Ivan Capelli ahead of Maurício Gugelmin.
Common sense dictated that the two Leyton House cars would lose their lead eventually, with tyre wear causing their pace to deteriorate as the race wore on. However, those with fresh tyres were struggling to match the pace of the lead duo, meaning the Leyton House duo would surprisingly run unopposed at the head of the field through past half distance.
Indeed, it was only when Gugelmin's pace faltered that the chasing pack was able to gain ground, with Prost ultimately passing the Brazilian on lap 54, moments before Gugelmin's engine expired. Furthermore, Capelli's pace would collapse around the same time, with Prost latching onto the back of the Italian a few laps later.
Capelli tried his hardest to keep the Frenchman at bay, although his valiant defense would be broken with just three laps to go. Prost was hence able to break away to claim a reasonably comfortable victory ahead of the Italian, while Senna secured third.
Ayrton Senna had retained the lead in the Championship in-spite of his late retirement, although his advantage had been cut to eight points leaving Mexico. His arch-rival Alain Prost was once again his closest challenger, level on points with Gerhard Berger but ahead by virtue of having two wins, while Jean Alesi, Nigel Mansell andNelson Piquet completed the top six. Otherwise the order was fairly unchanged, with fourteen drivers on the scoreboard.
McLaren-Honda had seen their huge early lead in the Constructors Championship slightly dented in Mexico, with Ferrari able to make a fair amount of ground after claiming a one-two. The Scuderia would leave Mexico eighteen points off of the Anglo-Japanese squad, with a sixteen point gap back to third placed Williams-Renault. Williams-Renault themselves would end the weekend level on points with Benetton-Ford Cosworth, remaining ahead of their British rivals by virtue of having one race win.
The full entry list for the 1990 French Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full pre-qualifying results for the 1990 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||17||Gabriele Tarquini||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:07.232||+2.067s|
|4||18||Yannick Dalmas||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:08.151||+2.986s|
|DNPQ||14||Olivier Grouillard||Osella-Ford Cosworth||1:08.219||+3.054s|
The full qualifying results for the 1990 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
|5||19||Alessandro Nannini||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:05.670||1:05.009||+0.607s|
|7||16||Ivan Capelli||Leyton House-Judd||1:06.384||1:05.369||+0.967s|
|9||20||Nelson Piquet||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:05.640||1:05.744||+1.238s|
|10||15||Maurício Gugelmin||Leyton House-Judd||1:05.818||1:06.446||+1.416s|
|12||26||Philippe Alliot||Ligier-Ford Cosworth||1:05.980||1:06.866||+1.578s|
|13||4||Jean Alesi||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:06.084||1:06.200||+1.682s|
|15||3||Satoru Nakajima||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:06.999||1:06.563||+2.161s|
|18||9||Michele Alboreto||Arrows-Ford Cosworth||1:06.847||1:07.239||+2.445s|
|19||25||Nicola Larini||Ligier-Ford Cosworth||1:07.224||1:06.856||+2.444s|
|21||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Dallara-Ford Cosworth||1:09.727||1:07.137||+2.735s|
|22||10||Alex Caffi||Arrows-Ford Cosworth||1:07.496||1:07.207||+2.805s|
|23||23||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:07.315||1:07.333||+2.913s|
|24||21||Emanuele Pirro||Dallara-Ford Cosworth||1:07.687||1:07.692||+3.285s|
|26||18||Yannick Dalmas||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:08.630||1:07.926||+3.524s|
|DNQ||24||Paolo Barilla||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:08.008||1:08.592||+3.606s|
|DNQ||17||Gabriele Tarquini||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:09.176||1:08.147||+3.745s|
|DNQ||35||Gregor Foitek||Onyx-Ford Cosworth||1:08.794||1:08.232||+3.830s|
|DNQ||36||JJ Lehto||Onyx-Ford Cosworth||1:08.854||1:08.487||+4.085s|
|DNPQ||14||Olivier Grouillard||Osella-Ford Cosworth||1:08.219|
- 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.
|22||Andrea de Cesaris|
The full results for the 1990 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Nannini and Mansell were both still classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.
- † de Cesaris was disqualified from the results after his car was found to be under the minimum weight.
- 50th Grand Prix start for Satoru Nakajima.
- 250th race entry for a Judd engine.
- Lola made their 200th race entry as a constructor.
- 200th Grand Prix entry for Riccardo Patrese.
- Bruno Giacomelli secured his 75th race entry.
- Pierluigi Martini earned his 50th race entry.
- Nigel Mansell secured a record 108th pole position for Ferrari as a constructor.
- 42nd career victory for Alain Prost.
- Ferrari claimed their 100th win as both a constructor and engine supplier.
- The Scuderia were the first constructor to claim a 100th win.
- Ivan Capelli claimed his third and final podium finish.
A third win of the season for Alain Prost ensured that the Frenchman was solidly in title contention leaving Paul Ricard, ending the weekend just three points off the lead. Indeed, Ayrton Senna had seen his Championship effectively cleaved in two in France, with his arch-rival bearing down. Gerhard Berger, meanwhile, had lost ground in third ahead of Nelson Piquet, while Ivan Capelli was up in the top ten after becoming the fifteenth scorer of the season.
McLaren-Honda would, as ever, leave France at the head of the Constructors Championship hunt, heading into the former's home race with a fifteen point lead. Ferrari were still their closest challengers, moving onto 45 points, with clear air between the Scuderia and third placed Benetton-Ford Cosworth. Williams-Renault and Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth completed the top five, while Leyton House-Judd had rocketed up to sixth from thirteenth after their maiden podium finish.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
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- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- ↑ 'France 1990: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1990/france/engages.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2019)
- ↑ '1990 French GP: Pre-Qualifying'. chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/race.pl?year=1990&gp=French%20GP&r=1&type=preq, (Accessed 28/06/2019)
- ↑ 'Brazilian Grand Prix 1985 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1985/races/482/brazil/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 01/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Brazilian Grand Prix 1985 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1985/races/482/brazil/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 01/04/2019)
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 'France 1990: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1990/france/classement.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 '7. France 1990', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1990/france.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2019)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 '1990 French GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1990&gp=French%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 28/06/2019)
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