Nigel Mansell and Williams-Renault had dominated the opening two rounds of the championship, the reigning champions McLaren-Honda had a more troublesome start to the season in their outdated MP4/6B chassis. It was now evident that McLaren could no longer rely on the MP4/6B to compete against the FW14B, the team rushing the development of their new car in order for it to be prepared for Interlagos. Interlagos was the home race of their lead driver, Ayrton Senna, however it would look unlikely that he would be able to repeat his home win from the previous year unless he was equipped with the team's latest machinery. The MP4/7A had gone through an extensive testing programme following the Mexican Grand Prix. In a desperate attempt to close the gap to Williams, McLaren opted to debut the new car one race early in Interlagos. Nonetheless, although it was hoped it would tighten the pace advantage, the new McLaren still had many teething issues.
After Ferrari's disastrous start to the year which had seen its drivers, Jean Alesi and Ivan Capelli consistently suffering from engine failures. In an attempt to counter these woes, the team placed their 1991 engines in the back of their cars. The team unsure at what was causing such significant reliability woes in their new engine. It was a frustrating occurence for Ferrari, the team being forced to take another step backwards in what was proving to be a difficult year.
After being refused entry in South Africa and failing to prepare in time to make it to Mexico, new team Andrea Moda were finally ready to compete in Brazil. After its two drivers, Alex Caffi and Enrico Bertaggia had repeatedly criticised the teams organisation, both drivers were remarkably sacked. For Brazil, the team had arrived with a completely new line-up. Experienced driver Roberto Moreno had finally rejoined the paddock with the new Andrea Moda outfit. Alongside him was young British racer who was planning to make his debut, Perry McCarthy. However as McCarthy arrived at Interlagos, the FIA denied him a superlicense for various bureaucratic reasons. McCarthy would be denied the opportunity to make his debut at Interlagos.
The full entry list is outlined below for the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix:
The Friday morning practice standings from unofficial practice were as follows; Nigel Mansell, Riccardo Patrese, Andrea de Cesaris, Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi, Stefano Modena, Pierluigi Martini, Olivier Grouillard, JJ Lehto, Erik Comas, Mauricio Gugelmin, Gabriele Tarquini, Mika Hakkinen, Michele Alboreto, Aguri Suzuki, Martin Brundle and Johnny Herbert. The top 19.
Mansell had dominated the sessions once again, however he had noted how difficult the Interlagos circuit was to drive following the practice session. Mansell had likened Interlagos to a street circuit, thunderstorms throughout the week had washed away the grip of the circuit. Whilst the track would gain more grip as the weekend continued, it remained a slippery and troublesome drive for the grand prix drivers.
Mauricio Gugelmin had a spectacular Yamaha engine blow-up in his Jordan. Gugelmin would be forced to use his spare car for qualifying. This was expected to hamper him significantly in qualifying.
Mansell was keen to exert his dominance early on in the session, bringing his Williams out of the garage at the beginning of the session and immediately beginning to set some blistering lap times. The Ferrari's of Jean Alesi and Ivan Capelli and Karl Wendlinger's March were the only cars to join Mansell on track at the start of the session.
After only a couple of laps, Mansell had set a 1:16.819, a lap faster than his qualifying time of the previous year and notably, without qualifying tyres. Joining the circuit at this point were Stefano Modena and Michele Alboreto. Mansell further improved his time to a 1:15.982, the Ferrari's of Alesi and Capelli languishing over three seconds adrift of the Williams. Another lap later and Mansell had dropped his time by another three tenths. The Williams's pace staggering the opposition.
In the McLaren pits, Ayrton Senna watched the timing screens. A concerned look crept over the McLaren drivers face, neither he nor teammate Gerhard Berger seemed to be able to produce any of the pace they were hoping for in their new car to challenge the Williams's.
After completing his run of blistering times, Mansell pulled into the pits allowing teammate Riccardo Patrese to go out on track for his first timed runs. Another significant runner entering the track at this point was the Benetton of Michael Schumacher. Patrese immediately began to lap quickly but as usual was unable to set times equalling Mansell. Schumacher was now the third fastest car on track, still someway off the pace of the Williams's. Following Schumacher was Alesi, Modena, Martini, De Cesaris, Capelli, Wendlinger.
Martin Brundle had been having troubles in his Benetton throughout morning practice, only 18th fastest in the unofficial practice and languishing only in 15th for most of the Friday afternoon qualifying, he managed to improve his time to move into seventh midway through the afternoon qualifying. At the same time, McLaren finally made their move out onto the track with Gerhard Berger leaving the pits, shortly followed by teammate Senna.
Berger set an underwhelming time to only go into ninth position for his first lap time. Senna was pushing his car to the limit, however it was clear he was not comfortable in the new McLaren MP4/7. After his first lap, Senna spun off entering the first corner after a sudden loss of grip. Senna recovered and continued to push, managing to put his car into sixth place behind Mansell, Patrese, Schumacher, Alesi and De Cesaris. Berger improved his time to go fourth fastest.
In response to the McLaren's going out on track, Nigel Mansell came out of the pits. Mansell putting in some testing laps, his provisional pole time looking completely unchallenged by the rest of the field. Mansell and Patrese had comfortably locked out the first two positions whilst Schumacher in third remained the only driver apart from the Williams's to break into the 1:19's. Behind Schumacher, the qualifying times were looking competitive with a number of drivers beginning to close in on Schumacher's third fastest time. Eleven drivers were within one second of eachother, the grid was closing up significantly.
As the session began to draw to a close, some of the drivers began to push beyond their limits in their final laps. Katayama who was 25th fastest made a somewhat typical qualifying spin in his Venturi-Larrousse and found himself beached in the grass. Shortly afterwards, De Cesaris who had been running well in his Tyrrell and was currently ninth fastest had a minor spin. On his final lap, Gianni Morbidelli crashed his Minardi at the back end of the circuit. Morbidelli walking away from his wrecked car unscathed.
In the dying minutes of the session, Schumacher improved his time by three tenths, continuing to consolidate his third fastest time. Pierluigi Martini was flying for Dallara putting his car into a commendable fourth position by the end of the session. Berger was fifth ahead of Alesi and De Cesaris. Stefano Modena had demonstrated his first sign of promise this season by putting his Jordan into eighth. Disappointing in the session was Ayrton Senna who never looked comfortable throughout the day to go ninth whilst behind him was Brundle's Benetton who was way off the pace of teammate Schumacher.
Alboreto had done a good job in improving the Footwork to go eleventh, Comas was twelfth whilst Ivan Capelli still struggled to come to grips with his Ferrari to go thirteenth. Capelli spinning into the first corner after crossing the finishing line to his final lap. Following Capelli came Wendlinger, Gachot, Lehto, Tarquini, Hakkinen, Gugelmin, Boutsen, Belmondo, Suzuki, Fittipaldi, Herbert and Katayama. The drivers in danger of failing to qualify were Chiesa, Grouillard, Van de Poele and Amati.
During the morning practice session, 19 drivers had managed to improve on their Friday qualifying times. The Saturday session was expected to see another shake-up in the time sheets before the final grid would be decided. McLaren-Honda were not looking good heading into Saturday qualifying. Senna and Berger had both suffered engine failures on their new MP4/7's during the morning practice. Berger, fed up with the troubles, swapped for the spare MP4/6 and went faster in his old car than he had been driving in the new MP4/7 all weekend. Following that he had his second engine failure, the third overall for the Honda engines.
As the session began, Karl Wendlinger who was the first car out on track spun his car going into the first corner, the Interlagos circuit still demonstrating very little grip on the circuit. Mansell, like on Friday was one of the first to enter the track, however even he was struggling to match his Friday dominance. Alesi became the first driver to improve his time, putting in a time that moved him up to fourth. Brundle was the next front runner to improve, moving up to ninth position.
Senna who had largely underperformed throughout the weekend so far, suddenly finally found his pace on Saturday qualifying. After pushing his car up into fourth after his first flying lap, his second lap saw him depose Schumacher from third position. Senna's lap times suddenly were coming within striking distance of Patrese's second position. Berger in the second McLaren was continuing to drive the old MP4/6 after his engine failure in morning practice. He was experiencing more difficulty in improving his time.
Thierry Boutsen who had been struggling all weekend finally made an improvement in his time and moved up to tenth whilst Karl Wendlinger managed to move up into eighth position. With Senna aggressively pushing to improve his time, Riccardo Patrese went out and improved his time, allowing him a second's space between him and Senna in third.
Brundle put in a big improvement to move into sixth position, gaining ground on teammate Schumacher who had done very little running throughout the day. Mansell had been unable to improve on his Friday time, yet comfortably held provisional pole. Mansell had been struggling largely with traffic throughout the day, however his most significant incident came at the very end of the session. Whilst on a flying lap, Mansell closed upon the rear of his rival, Ayrton Senna's car. Senna proved unwilling to let Mansell through and blocked him midway through the lap. Mansell despite having his lap compromised still attempted to get past his rival and at turn 10 attempted to overtake around the outside. Senna once again proved uncooperative and forced Mansell wide, running out of room on the track to avoid Senna, Mansell spun off and slammed into the barriers.
A furious Mansell emerged from his car with a slight limp and although he was attended by medical doctor, Sid Watkins, Mansell glumly walked back to the pits. As this drama unfolded, Berger in the old MP4/6 was able to improve his time to go fourth, demoting Schumacher down to fifth on the grid. Alesi did well to put his underperforming Ferrari sixth whilst Brundle had slowly improved throughout the weekend to go seventh.
Martini had completed a good qualifying for Dallara to move into seventh whilst he was followed by Wendlinger and Boutsen who rounded out the top ten. Capelli was still unable to get to grips with his Ferrari and ended the session eleventh ahead of Modena and De Cesaris who both had poor second qualifying sessions after impressing on Friday.
Christian Fittipaldi was brought before the stewards due to making practice starts in the pit lane.
It was an ominous start to the day for McLaren when Gerhard Berger failed to leave his grid position on the warm-up lap due to electrical problems. His fourth grid position wasted, Berger was forced to be pulled into the pit-lane by his mechanics.
Riccardo Patrese made the best start, stealing the lead from teammate Mansell. Behind them Michael Schumacher and got the jump on Ayrton Senna, however the Brazilian retook the positon going into the second turn. Behind them came Alesi, Brundle, Martini, Wendlinger, Boutsen and Capelli. One lap later, the McLaren mechanics had got Berger's car running, however the car was running very slowly and three laps later Berger would be in the pits to retire. The end of the first lap saw Gabriele Tarquini pull into the pits, his Fondmetal misfiring, however he would continue. This could not be said for the Jordan of Stefano Modena who pulled in to retire with gearbox problems.
The Williams cars took a typical opening lead to the race, Patrese continued to lead yet Mansell loomed only a second behind his teammate. Behind them a secondary battle began to form with the Benetton of Schumacher on the tail of Senna's McLaren. Senna became increasingly uncomfortable in his McLaren, gesticulating furiously to his pit crew as he went past the start finish line. The McLaren now holding up not only Schumacher but Alesi, Brundle and Martini who had closed up behind him.
At the end of the sixth lap, Schumacher moved past the slowing McLaren going through the final corner. However unexpectedly, Senna moved back into third going into the first corner. Senna running slowly, leading a huge train of cars right down to fourteenth position. Following him came Schumacher, Alesi, Brundle, Martini, Wendlinger, Boutsen, De Cesaris, Capelli, Alboreto and Comas.
The Benetton cars becoming increasingly aggressive, Schumacher attacking all over the rear of Senna whilst Brundle had several runs on Alesi ahead of him. Senna's engine problems eventually became too much though and into the final corner, both Schumacher and Alesi were able to move past. Going into turn 8, Brundle had also managed to move past Senna.
Having cleared Senna, Schumacher immediately began to pull away. However his time stuck behind Senna meant he was now 30 seconds adrift of the leading Williams pair of Patrese and Mansell. Although Schumacher began setting his personal bests, the superiority of the Williams cars meant Patrese and Mansell continued to pull away from the rest of the field. Meanwhile on lap 17, the crippled McLaren of Senna pulled into the pits to retire. Another disappointing result for the reigning champion.
Meanwhile at the front, Mansell slowly edged in on race leader Patrese. Mansell was much faster than his teammate through the second sector of the circuit, soon enough he began to challenge for the lead consistently at turn four. Patrese however continued to hold his ground.
On lap 21, Schumacher darted into the pits for new tyres. The Interlagos circuit proving to even strain these very hard compound Goodyear tyres. He exited the pits in fifth position. The same lap saw De Cesaris retire his Tyrrell from ninth position with engine problems. Two laps later, Bertrand Gachot pulled off his Larrousse with suspension problems from 17th place.
The second major runner to come into the pits was Jean Alesi, the Ferrari runner making a quick stop of 6.8 seconds. However his speedy release meant he exited his pit box right into the path of the Ligier of Thierry Boutsen who was also coming in to pit. Luckily the two cars avoided an impact.
Lap 24 saw Brundle come in for his pit-stop, he dropped from third to sixth, behind Schumacher, Comas and Alesi. Pierluigi Martini who was running behind Brundle before his stop had a tragic end to an excellent race for Dallara. His clutch failed, forcing him to relinquish his sixth place and retire.
Patrese and Mansell continued to battle for the lead of the race, the two approaching the midfield runners to lap. The traffic proved troublesome for the Williams pair. Mansell was bauked by the Lotus of Mika Häkkinen whilst a couple of laps later, Patrese nearly ran into the rear of Olivier Grouillard's Tyrrell. Grouillard typically proving difficult to pass. Taking advantage of Grouillard's mistake, Mansell had a run at Patrese going into turn five but once again the race leader kept his position.
Mansell stuck in traffic and unable to find his way past Patrese darted into the pits for new tyres. Mansell having a cautious 8.8 second stop on lap 28 exited the pits still in second but in free air. Mansell having the undercut was now lapping much faster than Patrese setting a new fastest lap of the race. The late stop for Patrese who came into the pits on lap 30 had cost him the lead. By the time he had exited the pits, Mansell had taken the lead. The pit-stop phase giving him the free space to take control of the race.
The only two front runners who had yet to pit were Comas in fourth place and Gugelmin who had brought his Jordan up to sixth. Following the pit-stop phase, Brundle's Benetton had been catching the Ferrari of Alesi. Going into turn one on lap 30, Brundle made a move down the inside. However a highly defensive Alesi slammed the door shut and Brundle collided with the side of Alesi's car. The two cars spun off the track, Alesi was able to continue, luckily escaping major damage whilst Brundle was out of the race.
Mansell held a five second lead over Patrese, however as he began to encounter the traffic the Williams duo had met before their pit stops, Patrese began to close in again and then set the new fastest lap of the race. Following the pit stops of Comas and Gugelmin, the field had settled down once more. Schumacher continued to hold a very distant third, 50 seconds down on the Williams cars. The two Ferrari's of Alesi and Capelli were a long way adrift of Schuamcher in third whilst the two Ligier's of Comas and Boutsen were sixth and seventh. Just behind the Ligier's came Johnny Herbert who had fought throughout the race from the back row of the grid.
It would all be in vain for Ligier and Lotus though, on the 36th lap, Boutsen tried an over optimistic move on teammate Comas and the two cars collided going into the first corner. As the two cars began to spin, Herbert who was following just behind was caught in the melee and left with no room to run crashed into the side of Boutsen's Ligier. Comas was off the circuit but was the only one of the three to continue, although he lost his sixth place to Michele Alboreto's Footwork. The same lap, Gugelmin who briefly ran in eighth place following the collision retired his Jordan with gearbox trouble.
For the first time since Footwork had entered Formula One they had looked on course for points, Alboreto doing a good job to bring his car up sixth and the final points place. The final runners behind Alboreto were Comas, Wendlinger, Grouillard, Morbidelli, Häkkinen, Fittipaldi, Lehto, Katayama and Tarquini. At the half way point of the race, only Schumacher and Alesi remained on the same lap of the dominating Williams pair of Mansell and Patrese. By lap 40, Mansell was past Alesi and maintained a seven second lead over Patrese. Schumacher the final man on the same lap of the pair was 20 seconds above of Alesi in fourth.
Whilst chasing down Alboreto's sixth place, Comas retired on lap 42 with gearbox troubles. This allowed Alboreto to hold sixth without opposition, all he had to do was survive the race to score Footwork's first points. On the 54th lap, Mansell moved past to lap Schumacher. He had spent a lap sitting behind the Benetton who proved unwilling to move over for the Williams. Mansell had now lapped the field with the exception of his teammate Patrese who was now 12 seconds adrift.
On Grouillard's 52nd lap, the Ilmor engine on his Tyrrell expired and he was forced to pull into the pits and retire from seventh place. A couple of laps later, Fittipaldi retired his Minardi with gearbox problems. With Senna and Gugelmin already out of the race, all the local Brazilian drivers had now retired. A lap later, the March of Karl Wendlinger who had been running uncompetitively in seventh place retired with clutch failure.
The race at this point had largely settled, the only battle remaining on track was the battle for fifth. Ivan Capelli was still struggling with his Ferrari and was now falling into the clutches of Alboreto who was running extremely well for Footwork. Alboreto was remaining within a second of Capelli, but struggled to find a way past the Ferrari driver. Tarquini, who had been running an uncompetitive race, retired his Fondmetal on lap 62 with engine failure.
The final 10 laps of the race were uneventful, Mansell took another dominant win, 29 seconds ahead of teammate Patrese. Schumacher had taken third, a long way adrift of the Williams cars yet a long way ahead of Alesi. Ferrari had scored their first points of the season, reverting back to the 1991 engine had improved reliability and Alesi and Capelli were fourth and fifth. Capelli only just being able to fend off the Footwork of Michele Alboreto. Alboreto doing an excellent job to score Footwork's first points and his own first point finish since his podium at Mexico in 1989. The final finishers were Morbidelli in the Minardi, then Lehto, Katayama and Häkkinen. Häkkinen having suffered mechanical trouble dropped behind Lehto and Katayama in the closing laps.
Standings after raceEdit
|V T E||Brazilian Grand Prix|
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