The 1992 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Magny-Cours on 5 July 1992. It was the eighth round of the 1992 Formula One season.
A win apiece for the McLaren duo of Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger had allowed McLaren to close the gap to Williams in the Constructor's championship. The Williams had shown its first sign of weakness when a puncture had cost Nigel Mansell victory in Monaco, whilst a week later in Canada a failed overtake on Senna for the race lead had eliminated Mansell from the race. However despite Mansell's first retirement of the season, neither of his two main championship rivals, Riccardo Patrese and Ayrton Senna were able to close the championship battle when they too would retire from the race. The championship looked well in control for Mansell, however his mistake in Montreal was a reminder he was not unbeatable. Teammate Patrese was still able to beat him as well as outside contenders, Senna and Michael Schumacher. Patrese had been dominant at the inaugral Grand Prix at Magny-Cours the previous year, however although taking a convincing pole position, a poor race start had cost him victory. The race win had gone to none other than Nigel Mansell.
Following the race in Montreal, the team's headed to Silverstone for a week of testing in preparation for both the French and British Grand Prix. Despite their recent blip in performance, Williams demonstrated they had lost none of their speed when Mansell broke the circuit's lap record. However more notably, Jean Alesi had survived a terrifying accident at the Becketts corner in which his helmet was cracked after his Ferrari had slammed into the barriers. Despite warnings from his team that his undertray was becoming loose, Alesi continued to push which was suspected for the cause of accident. Alesi had suffered a bruised neck and concussion when he hit his head on the steering wheel, however was cleared to compete for his home race, a week later. The accident occured shortly after teammate Ivan Capelli's large shunt in the race at Montreal, Capelli had been lucky to walk away unscathed in an incident that nearly saw his head colllide with the barriers. Nonetheless, Alesi would continue to push hard for Ferrari, his place being confirmed in the team as apart of the 1993 line-up by Niki Lauda. Lauda also confirming Ferrari had stopped developing their disastrous F92A and had shifted focus to their 1993 car.
Whilst most of the team's were testing in Silverstone, the Ligier team had been testing flat out at the Magny-Cours circuit for their home grand prix. Ligier had looked competitive at the start of the season, however had progressively lost their competitive pace throughout the season. Eurosport commentator, Allard Kalff, making the comment, "if the Ligier's aren't quick in France, they won't be quick anywhere". It would be imperative for Ligier, who were the only team to share the efficient Renault engines with title leaders Williams to get a good result for their home race. Renault would be bringing one of the new RS4 engines for Williams at Magny-Cours, however they were feeling the still prototype engine would be reliable enough to complete qualifying. The Williams-Renault remained the most impressive partnership on the grid, however after constant improvement from the Honda powered McLaren, Renault were prepared to debut their new engine on home territory.
There was concern that the French Grand Prix would be unable to take place due to political turmoil in France surrounding French trucking unions. French truckers had planned to block major roads and highways in France, one of the major targets being that of the Magny-Cours circuit. The team's were forced to make extra precautiounary measures to ensure their equipment could be transported to the circuit without delay. Most of the Formula One circus were able to navigate the blockades effectively, however notably, oil suppliers Agip and Mobil, engine supplier, Yamaha, and one team, the little Andrea Moda squad were all effected by the blockades. Agip and Mobil were eventually managed to break through the blockade, however the Yamaha's were having difficulty navigating the blockade. Their truck driver had threatened to burn the engines if they attempted to move the trucks. Eventually Jordan had ordered a new set of Yamaha's to be flown into the circuit in order to compete in the race. However Andrea Moda, who had been having a nightmare debut season failed to arrive at the circuit in time for pre-qualifying. Therefore by default, Andrea Moda was eliminated from the race which prevented the need for pre-qualifying to take place.
The full entry list for the 1992 French Grand Prix is outlined below:
Nigel Mansell suffered a further blip in which an oil pressure problem had kept him in the pits for most of the session. The Jordan team were forced to sit out most of the morning practice session as they waited for their Yamaha engines to arrive following the blockade. The Ferrari's also were suffering technical difficulties, however Jean Alesi managed to make it out on track towards the end of the session, impressing the field to put his car second in the timing sheets.
Following the first practice session, the Brabham team were hopeful for qualifying for their first race of the season since the opening round in South Africa. Damon Hill was left feeling optimistic after a strong practice session. The team were supporting an unusual new pink and blue colour scheme as apart of their attempted ongoing revitalisation.
Patrese was the first of the front runners to come out and after a few laps, he had set the initial benchmark for the team's to beat. However as Patrese returned to the pits, teammate Mansell entered the track and quickly beat his teammate's time with a 1:15.120. After further beating his own benchmark, Mansell quickly returned to the pits. Schumacher then set a time to go third fastest, however immediately after his first lap, he blew his Ford engine and was forced to pull off the circuit near the exit of the pits.
Alesi had lost none of his fighting spirit, he had been strong during practice, however was only running his Ferrari fastest for fifth best in the early stages. The fiery Alesi blocking the lap of Paul Belmondo's March after he had felt his own lap had been ruined by the March driver a lap earlier. Impressing on home turf, Érik Comas in the Ligier was sitting fourth fastest behind Mansell, Patrese and Schumacher.
As the session hit the half hour mark, Damon Hill who was pushing for his first qualification spun his Brabham into the gravel at the 180° corner. Hill was able to keep the engine running and return the pits, however he promptly stalled the engine in the pit-lane as he slowed to allow the obstructing Gerhard Berger to be wheeled into the garage by the McLaren mechanics. It had not been a good start for the supposed revitalised Brabham team. Shortly after Hill's spin, Michele Alboreto spun his Footwork into the pit wall which promptly brought out the red flag for the session.
Alboreto's accident had ruined a second run for Patrese who had returned to the track in an attempt to beat Mansell's pole time. As Alboreto's car was cleared away, Mansell led the timing sheets ahead of Patrese, Schumacher, Comas, Alesi, Brundle, Häkkinen, Martini and Suzuki.
McLaren had largely been inactive during the first part of qualifying, although Berger was preparing for a lap before the red flag had came out. Once Alboreto's stricken car had been cleared, Senna who had been patiently watching the proceedings from the pit wall entered the track. His first lap was hampered by Martini's Dallara through the Estoril curve, this prompted Senna to block Martini into the Adelaide hairpin. Then at the conclusion of the lap, Senna whilst approaching the rear of Capelli's Ferrari nearly lost control of the car at the Imola chicane. Nonetheless his lap time was good enough to allow him to move into third position. In response to his main rival entering the track, Mansell had also exited the pits. Although like Senna, his lap had been hampered by slower cars, he too improved his time, setting the new benchmark as a 1:15.047.
The top three of Mansell, Patrese and Senna had all returned to the pits, leaving their nearest rivals to lap the circuit. Alesi continued to push hard and like Hill earlier had a spin at the 180° corner. He would continue to push hard, however the handling of the Ferrari continued to be difficult and he would regularly run wide. Nonetheless, he was lapping much faster than teammate Capelli who continued to lack confidence in the car. Schumacher now in the spare Benetton, however like most of the drivers on track, there was no significant time improvement. Brundle who had been ever improving throughout the season, was lapping incredibly close to his quick young teammate Schumacher. The third victim of the 180° corner would be Stefano Modena's Jordan, however unlike Hill and Alesi before him, Modena would be beached in the gravel and was forced to exit his car.
Mansell had returned to the track, however he failed to improve his time after being blocked by Andrea Chiesa's Fondmetal. He had looked on course to improve his time, however thereafter struggled to match his former speed. Berger who had left his running until very late in the session improved to go third, whilst Schumacher's Benetton then pipped Senna's McLaren to fourth. Senna, however waiting until the end of the session then further improved his time to retake third place, however he remained a second off the Williams pair.
There was some drama at the end of the session, Berger who was on a cool down lap, failed to allow Belmondo on a fast lap to pass. This forced Belmondo to take evasive action at the Nurburgring corner, however Comas's Ligier who was following the pair misjudged the two slower cars and collided with the back of Berger where he was catapulted over the McLaren and into the 180° barriers. As Berger and Belmondo returned to the pits, a furious Belmondo stopped outside the McLaren pits where he angrily shook his fist at Berger. To conclude the session, the other Ligier of Boutsen also encountered drama when he spun his Ligier at the exit of the Imola chicane.
At the conclusion of the session Mansell led Patrese, Senna, Berger, Schumacher, Comas, Brundle, Alesi, Capelli, Herbert, Boutsen, Häkkinen, Wendlinger, Martini, Gachot, Modena, Suzuki, Morbidelli, Tarquini, Grouillard, Lehto, Alboreto, Gugelmin, Katayama, Chiesa and Belmondo. Sitting in the non-qualification zone were De Cesaris, Fittipaldi, Hill and Van de Poele. De Cesaris who had been performing well for Tyrrell throughout the year was the surprise driver to be in danger of not-qualifying. He complained of a lack of grip being the reason for his poor performance.
The track was soaked by an early morning rain shower, however the track had dried out early in the first practice session. Mansell remained quickest despite a small off when his foot slipped off the brake pedal. Senna had continued to improve to within a second of the Williams time, the Honda engineers believing the improved performance was down to the fixing of a misfire that had plagued McLaren throughout the weekend.
Olivier Grouillard had a large accident, a stone puncturing his car which had caused him to lose control and hit the barriers. More seriously, Christian Fittipaldi's Minardi clipped the rear of Michele Alboreto's Footwork which pitched him into the barriers. There was concern that Fittipaldi had suffered a neck injury and he was fitted with a neck collar and flown to Nevers Hospital. Whilst he had not suffered any serious injury, his ability to participate in the second qualifying session was thrown into doubt. A very poor result considering after Friday, Fittipaldi was not qualifying for the race.
Mansell became the first major improvement in the session, he had been quick all throughout the morning practice and improved his time to a 1:14.901. However his morning time was a full 0.8 seconds faster than his first flying lap. Mansell had yet to unleash his best time. His second lap was a further improvement with a 1:14.479, he would then go on to do a third lap in which he would further his best his time with a 1:14.316. Teammate Patrese had also further improved his time, however he was not competing on the same level as Mansell and opted to return to the pits with his front row position relatively secure.
Schumacher became the first major improvement, he had improved his time to take third position, moving ahead of the two McLaren's of Senna and Berger. Berger then put in a strong lap time to take the third place away from Schumacher. Senna then entered the circuit and whilst he moved ahead of Schumacher, his initial runs were not strong enough to beat Berger's time.
Alesi who had been driving wildly all weekend, had improved his time to go sixth fastest. Shortly afterwards he had spun into the gravel trap at the final chicane. He rejoined the track, before entering the pits. Alesi hurriedly returned to the track, spilling stones from the gravel track all over the racing line. A move that had drawn criticism from, Eurosport commentator, John Watson. Mansell, meanwhile had returned to track and had improved the pole time down to a 1:13.864. Senna meanwhile continued to push and had unseated teammate Berger from his third position. Patrese had attempted to further improve his time, however
Eric van de Poele had spun his Brabham into the gravel at the Estoril curve. Further problems were encountered for the team when Hill's car broke down on track. It was clearly apparent that the Brabham's would not be capable of qualifying for the race like they claimed. Häkkinen then became the next spinner when he spun his Lotus at the notorious 180° corner. Häkkinen had been struggling to match his Friday time and was dropping well down the order, however he then managed to improve to eleventh, one place ahead of teammate Herbert. Herbert would then be prevented on improving his time, a major spin causing damage to the front of his car. He attempted to continue, however damage to his car forced him to pull off beside the finishing line.
Similarly to the morning practice session on Saturday, the track had been saturated by an early morning shower. The track was left in intermediate conditions, most of the track was occupied by the slower runners in the early part of the session. Schumacher in the Benetton was one of the few leading cars to take to the track, setting a number of laps in the wet conditions. He was pushing hard, however was struggling with oversteer in the wet condition. Mid-way through the session, Mansell took to the track. The leading Williams was in his spare car, despite having dominated the Saturday, his race car despite having given him a convincing pole position had been afflicted by a mysterious fuel problem that was worrying for his reliability in the race.
Towards the end of the session, the sun had broke through the clouds for the first time that morning. Unlike the previous day, the track had failed to dry out and none of the drivers were confident on going out on slicks. The French crowd were provided interest, their lead favourite, Alesi was running well amongst the leading two Williams and Berger's McLaren. Comas, another of the home favourites gained some notoriety when he performed a daring overtake on an unsuspecting Mansell into the final corner. The two cars oversteering in synchronisation through the final corner.
Lotus were once again performing well, the team were pleased to announce a new sponsorship deal ahead of their home race in Britain, Häkkinen and Herbert were performing well to run fourth and fifth, finishing the session ahead of Senna's McLaren who had performed very little running in the warm-up.
Since the conclusion of the warm-up, the rain clouds had continued to loom over the circuit. The race looked likely to be held under wet conditions. However as the race start would be declared dry, if there was to be any rain, under the regulations, the race would have to be stopped and restarted in order to be declared a wet race.
In the paddock, the Formula One community welcomed a return to Alain Prost, who all but confirmed that he would be returning to the grid for 1993. Whilst his team had not be decided, it was becoming most likely that he had signed for the Williams team. A worrying prospect for Mansell who was unwilling to face Prost as a teammate once again, Senna too, who was still holding out for a Williams seat was now looking to have his chances of joining the team diminished. Meanwhile, Patrese, who currently held the seat alongside Mansell had already began searching for a new drive, his 1992 performances had left him doubtful of being retained by the current leading Formula One team.
Unlike the previous year, Patrese made the perfect getaway and immediately took the lead from Mansell. As the cars rounded the Estoril bend, the two Benetton's of Schumacher and Brundle closed on the rear of Senna, who, like Mansell had made a poor start and had lost third to his teammate, Berger. In the approach to the Adelaide hairpin, Schumacher made an ambitious lunge on Senna, only for the Brazilian to slam the door shut. The two cars collided, Schumacher slicing his front wing off whilst Senna was immediately eliminated from the race.
The incident between Schumacher and Senna had caused the midfield to bunch up as they headed into the hairpin. Gachot's who had made a poor start, was then hit from behind by Gugelmin which had sent him spinning into the rear of Wendlinger. Gachot spun to a halt beside Senna's car, whilst Wendlinger amazingly avoided the rest of the field and continued. There was chaos at the rear of the field, most of the cars being forced to take evasive action to stay out of the two separate incidents at the hairpin. The hapless Chiesa had his race brought to an end when he hit the rear of another car whilst attempting to stay out of trouble. It would be a double retirement for Fondmetal, Tarquini would pull out of the race with gearbox issues on the sixth lap.
Senna and Gachot were eliminated on the spot, whilst Gugelmin and Chiesa limped back to the pits for retirement. Wendlinger amazingly would continue without damage, whilst Schumacher now at the back of the field would be forced to come into the pits for a new front wing. At the end of the first lap, Patrese led from Mansell, Berger, Brundle, Alesi, Häkkinen, Boutsen, Comas, Herbert and Capelli.
Patrese began to storm away at the front of the field, after the first lap, Mansell had begun to slip back with Berger's McLaren beginning to apply the pressure. On the second lap, he ran slightly wide putting a wheel on the grass, nearly losing the position to Berger. However after a poor few opening laps, Mansell began to close on Patrese, leaving Berger to fall back and battle for third with Brundle's Benetton.
After four laps, Mansell had closed right onto the rear of Patrese's car and had set the fastest lap of the race. However in response, Patrese made his response and began to edge away from Mansell and set a new fastest lap for the race. Behind them, Capelli whilst chasing Herbert's Lotus had a spin, dropping him out of contention. After ten laps, Berger's Honda engine expired, forcing him to pull off the circuit in the final sector of the circuit. Upon his retirement, Berger sat outside the pit entry at the Lycée chicane, where he was soon joined by teammate Senna. The two McLaren drivers lent against the barriers, discussing the race and watching their opposition from the sidelines. As rain began to sprinkle over the back part of the circuit, the two drivers returned to their garage, allowing a brief interview from the BBC's Jonathan Palmer as they walked back.
The two Williams cars continued to dice for the lead, Mansell was hanging slightly back from Patrese, however continued to loom in his teammates mirrors. Mansell looked for an overtaking opportunity when the two cars came to lap Grouillard's Tyrrell, however he pulled out of the maneuver. A couple of laps later, Mansell once again attacked into the Adelaide hairpin, however once again, Patrese held the door firmly shut. Mansell, however would not give up and heading into the Nurburgring corner, Mansell attacked around the outside, the two Williams cars running abreast into the 180°. However once again, Patrese firmly held the door shut, for the first time this season, Mansell was facing serious opposition from his teammate.
At this point, the ominous dark clouds finally arrived on the circuit and had began to release the rain over the final sector of the track, the clouds would progressively move to pass over the circuit. The wet conditions had allowed Häkkinen to close and pass Alesi for fourth position. However Alesi remained close on the Lotus's tail, a couple of laps later whilst the pair were lapping Grouillard's Tyrrell, Alesi plunged down the inside of Häkkinen at the Lycée corner to retake fourth position.
The rain was beginning to seriously afflict the circuit, Modena's Jordan spinning his car, the battling Williams cars of Patrese and Mansell having to take evasive action to avoid the recovering Modena. Grouillard was also struggling, putting his Tyrrell into a four wheel drift through the Lycée chicane. At the front, Mansell attempted another maneuver at Adelaide whilst the two cars lapped the backmarkers of Lehto and De Cesaris, however Patrese once again decisively maintained his position.
However after 20 laps, the race organisers opted to bring out the red flag in response to the increasingly wet conditions. The cars therefore assembled at the start finish line. At the point of the red flag the race was organised with Patrese ahead of Mansell, Brundle, Alesi, Häkkinen, Boutsen, Comas, Herbert, Capelli, Alboreto, Suzuki, Morbidelli, Katayama, Martini, Wendlinger, Lehto, De Cesaris, Modena, Grouillard and Schumacher.
As the conditions began to clear, the team's and drivers prepared for the restart, most cars continuing to fit the slick tyres for the race. The Lotus drivers were jovial, Herbert discussed the race with Jonathan Palmer of the BBC whilst Häkkinen demonstrated an optimistic spirit whilst talking to the ESPN reporters. Martin Brundle in third position also discussed the race with Palmer whilst sitting behind the wheel of his Benetton.
In less positive spirits, Schumacher was refusing all interviews, sheepish in the knowledge of his mistake with his earlier incident with Senna. However worse was to come for Schumacher, as Senna, now changed into his civvies marched up to the Benetton driver whilst he was preparing for the restart. Caught on the television cameras, Senna angrily confronted Schumacher about his first lap manoevure. Senna could be seen disciplining his younger rival, before returning to his garage where he waved off all the curious journalists that had assembled around the pair.
Once the rain had cleared, the cars were once again prepared to go racing. All of the drivers remained on slick tyres for the restart, however Comas in seventh place unusually started on brand new slick tyres. The rain had temporarily abated, however it looked likely to return before the race had been run. As the cars left the grid to begin what would be the second formation lap, Katayama stalled his Venturi-Larrousse and would be forced to start from the back of the grid.
At the second start, there was very little change to the front running order, although the notorious Grouillard who started from the back made a very blatant jump start to the race. Grouillard would be given a ten second stop and go penalty for his misdemeanor.
As the cars headed towards the Adelaide hairpin, Mansell dived down the inside of Patrese, however he had outbraked himself which allowed Patrese to move back into the lead at the exit of the corner. At the back of the field, Schumacher once again was overly aggressive into the hairpin and made a repeat of his first start, this time, he collided with the right rear wheel of Modena's Jordan. However unlike his first start, his day would come to an end, he had snapped his front right suspension.
Whilst Patrese had reclaimed his lead, after only a single lap he waved teammate Mansell through to take the lead. A mysterious move, especially considering both drivers were considered to be on equal footing in the championship. Mansell now streaked into the lead, with this move, Patrese had effectively conceded the championship fight to teammate Mansell. Now free of Patrese, Mansell began to put in some impressive laps, breaking the lap record twice in two laps in succession.
Three laps after the restart, Suzuki spun his Footwork into the gravel trap where he would become yet another retirement to the race. Modena became the next retirement, his engine blew on the 25th lap, forcing him into the pits and into retirement. Modena concluding what had been a nightmare weekend for the Jordan team. Wendlinger would be the next retirement with gearbox issues and he would then be followed out of the race by Capelli with engine failure.
The rain would return, it would particularly afflict the final sector of the circuit. As the rain steadily fell, the cars began to struggle more and more. Häkkinen would have a spin at the final Lycée corner, however luckily he would recover and continue. Boutsen in sixth place, was less lucky, approaching the same corner, he spun his Ligier and stalled the engine. There was a nervous moment when the marshalls, pushed Boutsen's car against the oncoming traffic to clear the car, however luckily the car was cleared without incident.
Grouillard would be involved in yet another incident, as the Dallara of Lehto attempted to overtake him at the Adelaide hairpin, Grouillard refused to give way and collided with the side of Lehto's car. Lehto was luckily able to continue without problem, however Grouillard was sent into a spin. Katayama then pulled out of the race at the final corner
Meanwhile at the front, Brundle had began to develop a misfire in his Ford engine and had allowed Alesi to take third position. Alesi, the leading French driver was flying on home turf and had managed to close onto the rear of Patrese's Williams. The rain had now thoroughly began to soak the circuit, race leader Mansell became the first driver to make the decision to pit for wet tyres. A lap later, Brundle too came into the pits for the wet compound, whilst two laps after Mansell, Patrese who was being hounded by Alesi also made the decision to come into the pits.
Alesi meanwhile continued to press on with the slick tyres, remarkably he was lapping at much similar pace to Mansell who was out on the circuit with the wet compounds. Nonetheless for the drivers that remained on slicks, the conditions remained much more treacherous. De Cesaris was to demonstrate this when he spun his Tyrrell into the gravel trap at Nurburgring. Shortly after, Alesi was lucky to survive a major spin where he luckily avoided the barriers as he exited the Estoril curve and entered the Golf straight.
Häkkinen and Comas who were running fifth and sixth, both decided to come into the pits. Herbert, in the second Lotus to Häkkinen had therefore taken fifth place, however eventually he too would decide to make the decision to come in for wet tyres. Alesi therefore continued as the last of the leaders on slick tyres, however eventually he too made the decision to pit for the wet compound as the rain steadily increased. However as he entered his pitbox, Alesi stalled the engine of his Ferrari. The time lost as the mechanics restarted Alesi's car had allowed Brundle's Benetton to retake third position.
Alesi would thereafter attempt to chase Brundle, however Brundle appeared to be well in control of his third position, the Benetton driver pulling some spectacular overtakes on the backmarkers of Morbidelli and Lehto. It would all be in vain for Alesi, after pushing hard all afternoon, Alesi suffered an engine failure which forced him to pull into the pits and retirement with eight laps to go. Brundle, had lost his nearest challenger, however he was now fighting himself, suffering a major spin through the Lycée chicane. Luckily for Brundle, he kept the engine running and maintained his third position.
In the final laps, the two Lotus cars of Häkkinen and Herbert had closed upon the rear of Comas's Ligier. In fact due to the aggregate time before the stopping of the original race, Häkkinen would take the fourth position despite not having overtaken him on the circuit. Comas would be the top finishing French driver, an encouraging result in which the points scored by Ligier would enable them to stay out of pre-qualifying. Herbert who had shadowed teammate Häkkinen in the final stages of the race would finish in sixth position, the double points finish for Lotus enabling them to move ahead of Footwork in the Constructor's Championship.
However the race victory would got to Nigel Mansell, who with the concession of the lead from Patrese and failure to finish from his other main rivals, Senna and Schumacher looked set to take his first world title. Mansell, would now hold the equal record for the most wins for a British driver alongside Jackie Stewart. Behind Patrese came Martin Brundle, scoring his first official podium after his first podium at the 1984 Detroit Grand Prix was disqualified.
"We know Senna can perform miracles, we have seen him do it in the past, but right now he really hasn't got the equipment that I consider necessary to do so, but noone has probably told him that..." - John Watson, Eurosport. Saturday Qualifying
"Its the control that a driver has to use on his qualifying laps, you have got to make use of your race tyres to the limit but you have also got to remember its controlled aggression, its not uncontrolled aggression, that's where we see the difference between driver's like Mansell and Senna, and some of the less experienced younger drivers" - John Watson, Eurosport. Saturday Qualifying
"He seems to just casually drop these laps in, in fact its so casual, we aren't even able to see him doing it." John Watson, speaking on Mansell constantly improving his time. Eurosport. Saturday Qualifying.
"If we are talking about improving a car, the Benetton's are very close to the McLaren's at the moment, but still a long way away from the Williams". Allard Kalff. Eurosport. Saturday Qualifying.
"Martin Brundle, is he going to improve on his personal best I think he is! No he's not..." Allard Kalff. Eurosport. Saturday Qualifying.
"What also was very clear yesterday morning, when it was wet. When trying to drive more precisely and not literally go for it in the traditional way, the times were more easily attained. Once the track had dried out in the afternoon session, some teams and drivers could not match the times they met in what I describe to be slightly less favourable conditions. And I put that down to the fact that the Magny-Cours circuit is one of those race tracks where trying too hard causes you to go slower rather than go quicker". John Watson. Eurosport. Warm-Up.
"We know that Jean Alesi is a real press on driver, always on the limit. Where as Ivan Capelli has not gained the confidence and therefore the commitment, but Magny-Cours might well suit the Capelli driving style rather than the Alesi driving style." John Watson, discussing the closer gap between Alesi and Capelli. Eurosport. Warm-Up.
"Michael Schumacher's driving technique, you see a lot of left hand, right hand lock. Fighting the car a great deal. Michael is a press on driver, he knows only one way, that's absolutely flat out. Balancing that against teammate Martin Brundle, a more mature driver, probably a slightly smoother driver, it appears to me that if you push, there is a degree to which you can go. And if you go beyond that there is no grip". John Watson. Eurosport. Warm-Up.
"Now that is Martin Brundle, he has made the same decision, now this is an indication that the fact to be a grand prix driver, you do not just drive with your heart and your right foot, you drive with your head. That is exactly what Nigel Mansell has done, he has a 27 second lead over Riccardo Patrese, they were both slipping and sliding over this increasingly wet Magny-Cours circuit, and Mansell cooly tells the pits 'I am coming in for wet tyres!'." Murray Walker. BBC. Race.
"Hopefully this will be testimony to the organisers that it is possible for wet races not to be stopped as the rain comes down. I really hope that as a result of this they may change the rule. It certainly makes for much more exciting racing". James Hunt, discussing the rule of having to stop the race if it becomes wet when declared a dry race. BBC. Race.
"What is unfortunate is that some of the drivers will be relying on the fact that when the conditions get wet. The organisers automatically stop the race and for that reason, they would not be unreasonable to think that to soldier around on slicks is the right thing to do and wait. Mansell had enough lead that he had the luxury to not have to wait for the organisers and could maintain, or get back out [on wet tyres] still in the lead. There is Alesi who as far as I can see is still on slick tyres and he might well be saying to himself, 'Well they are supposed to stop the race, and I should stay out rather than give places away in going to the pits', and in that he would have every justification. They must do something about this rule, I sincerely feel that it is wrong for them nowadays to stop the race when it rains." James Hunt. BBC. Race.
"I most certainly would second that, although I don't know if Jean Alesi feels the same way. I would presume he would from the way he is charging on". Murray Walker. BBC. Race.
"Well Alesi is doing a tremendous job because he is lapping less than a second slower than Mansell and he is on slicks, so things aren't that bad... Oops, Alesi's had a bit of a mess up there." James Hunt. BBC. Race,
Standings after race
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|Races||1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009–2017 • 2018 • 2019 • |
|European Championship Races||1931 • 1932 • 1933–1937 • 1938 • 1939|
|Non-Championship Races||1906 • 1907 • 1908 • 1909–1911 • 1912 • 1913 • 1914 • 1915–1920 • 1921 • 1922 • 1923 • 1924 • 1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928 • 1929 • 1930 • 1931–1932 • 1933 • 1934 • 1935 • 1936 • 1937 • 1938–1946 • 1947 • 1948 • 1949|
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