After the first five rounds of the championship, Williams-Renault had seemed completely untouchable. Their team leader, Nigel Mansell, had won the opening five round of the year, never in Formula One's history had a driver had a more dominant start to the season. Despite a dream start for Mansell and Williams, their success was not being well received by fans and spectators in the world at large. After the San Marino Grand Prix, nine television companies had cancelled their coverage of Formula One after Mansell's fifth win. Williams's technologically superiority over the rest of the field was leading to what some expected to be a highly predictable remainder of season. Concerned by the loss of public appeal, FISA President, Max Mosley, had organised a meeting a meeting amongst the top teams in Fiorano, Italy, following the Monaco race to discuss the future of Formula One. Amongst the suggestions to improve the sport, Mosley stated banning carbon brakes, reintroducing mid-race refuelling and banning some of the new technological innovations as ways to purify the sport for the future.
Nigel Mansell had never won the Monaco Grand Prix, however given his recent form, Mansell was tipped as hot favourite to win the most prestigious race on the calendar. Nonetheless, Monaco remained one of McLaren's top circuits. Despite their deficit to Williams in 1992, McLaren had won every Monaco race since 1984. The only exception to this being when Ayrton Senna won in a Lotus in 1987. Since 1989, Senna had won every Monaco Grand Prix, if he were to win in 1992, he would equal Graham Hill's record of five wins on the circuit. The supremacy of the Williams meant it looked difficult for Senna and McLaren to continue their Monaco winnning streak, however Mansell remained wary and had insisted McLaren had closed the gap on them.
Heading into Monaco, Ferrari continued to be plagued by internal politics. The team was thankful to have settled out of court with former driver Alain Prost after the team had sacked him with a year to run on his contract. Prost, who had called the car a truck had finally officially parted ways from Ferrari following the settlement. Prost remained off the Formula One grid in 1992, however he remained a wanted man by many of the top teams for 1993.
Ivan Capelli who had being having a dismal start of year with Ferrari had not quashed the rumours that he would be replaced in the middle of the season. These rumours were fuelled further when it was seen that Gianni Morbidelli, Minardi driver and Ferrari test driver was seen to be conducting most of Ferrari's testing in between San Marino and Monaco. Ferrari President, Luca di Montezemelo was forced to announce that Capelli's place in the team was 'safe' in order to quash his replacement rumours. Despite the political turmoil and a somewhat inconsistent and unreliable car, lead driver Jean Alesi had been putting in some stellar performances for the team. Monaco was proven to be a good circuit for Alesi, of the two times he had been to the circuit, he had scored a podium on both occasions.
The full entry list for the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full pre-qualifying results for the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||34||Roberto Moreno||Andrea Moda-Judd||1:27.186||+1.773s|
|4||14||Andrea Chisea||Fondmetal-Ford Cosworth||1:27.756||+2.343s|
|DNPQ||35||Perry McCarthy||Andrea Moda-Judd||17:05.924||+15:35.511|
The full qualifying results for the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:
|6||19||Michael Schumacher||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:23.150||1:21.831||+2.336s|
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
Due to a gearbox problem, the Minardi of Gianni Morbidelli was not able to start the race from his twelfth grid position. Instead, Morbidelli would be forced to start his Minardi from the pitlane. As the race commenced, Mansell got a lot of wheel spin off the line, however maintained his lead into the first corner. Behind him, Senna got a strong start and dived down the inside of Riccardo Patrese at Sainte Devote to take second place. Schumacher also got a good start to move past Berger's McLaren and into fifth place at the first corner.
Pierluigi Martini did not complete the first lap, heading into Portier, the Dallara driver had slid wide into the barriers. Morbidelli was not able to overcome his starting gearbox gremlins and retired at the end of the first lap. Wendlinger also ended his day when he parked his car with his own gearbox issues shortly before Tabac.
Mansell began to pull away from the field by a second a lap, Senna maintained second place, however Patrese was now right on the tail of the McLaren driver. A small distance behind them, Schumacher was pressuring Alesi for fourth position. Following them came Berger, Brundle, Capelli, Herbert, De Cesaris, Alboreto and Hakkinen.
There were further retirements, Grouillard pulled out on lap 4 with transmission failure, whilst two laps later, Stefano Modena spun his Jordan into the barriers at Massenet. Gabriele Tarquini had an engine failure on lap 9 whilst De Cesaris completed Tyrrell's day early when he retired with a gearbox failure. Roberto Moreno ended Andrea Moda's first race on lap 11, he had been running quietly in nineteenth but engine problems had ended his day.
Mansell meanwhile had continued to extend his lead at the front of the race. Unable to find a way past Senna, Patrese had dropped back from the rear of the McLaren, unwilling to drive in the dirty air of Senna's car. This allowed the duo of Alesi and Schumacher to close behind. Under the threat from the Ferrari and Benetton, Patrese began to apply the pressure on Senna once again.
On lap 12, Schumacher dived down the inside of Alesi at the Loewes Hairpin, Alesi, however had shut the door. The two drivers collided, Schumacher nearly sending Alesi into a spin. Amazingly both drivers would continue without losing any places, the incident however had allowed Senna and Patrese to pull away from the pair.
There was more drama on lap 17 when Herbert spun his Lotus into the barriers at Rascasse. A disappointing result for him having put his car in a top ten position. A lap later, Mauricio Gugelmin ended Jordan's day when he retired with gearbox problems.
The same lap, Martin Brundle who had been challenging Gerhard Berger's sixth position all race made a mistake going into the Nouvelle Chicane. As a result, Brundle damaged his front wing and picked up a puncture. Being forced to pit for repairs, Brundle had lost seventh place to Ivan Capelli.
Alesi, in fourth was beginning to quickly lose ground to Patrese ahead of him. His earlier collision with Schumacher had done more damage than originally anticipated. The left side pod and radiator being heavily punctured. On lap 23, Schumacher moved past the crippled Ferrari and began to chase down Patrese and Senna ahead of him. Alesi's day would come to an end on lap 28, gearbox and overheating issues brought his car to a halt.
The second Benetton of Brundle was charging through the field, after dropping to fifteenth following his pit-stop, Brundle set the fastest lap of the race. His return to the front would be assisted when Suzuki's Footwork ahead of him, spun at the Portier.
On lap 30, Hakkinen who had done a very good job to put his Lotus up into eighth in his first outing with the new Lotus retired with gearbox problems. A more significant retirement came on lap 32, Gerhard Berger retired his McLaren with similar gearbox issues. The retirements of Alesi and Berger meant Capelli had moved up to fifth whilst Alboreto, who was searching for Footwork's third consecutive points finish was now in sixth place.
Whilst Mansell held a commanding lead at the front, the second Williams of Patrese had come under increasing pressure from Schumacher behind who had closed upon Patrese's rear. The now developing battle between Patrese and Schumacher had allowed Senna to pull away and consolidate his second place. As of lap 43, Senna remained 23 seconds behind Mansell who once again was dominating the race.
By mid-race the order read Mansell leading Senna, Patrese, Schumacher, Capelli, Alboreto, Gachot, Brundle, Fittipaldi, Lehto, Comas, Suzuki and Boutsen. Brundle had been charging all afternoon, despite only being in eighth place he was largely the fastest car on the circuit with the exception of leader, Nigel Mansell.
With Patrese and Schumacher continuing to battle, race leader Mansell had lapped Capelli's Ferrari behind them. Capelli still unable to find a way to fight among the front runners. Brundle after his earlier mishap was charging and looking good to get back in the points, after finding a way past Gachot's Venturi, Brundle was now closing on Alboreto's Footwork.
On lap 60, Brundle overtook Alboreto around the outside at Mirabeau. Subsequently on the exit of the corner, Alboreto spun. Luckily he avoided the barriers, however he lost seventh place to Bertrand Gachot's Venturi-Larrousse. Senna was lucky to not hit Alboreto and lost ten seconds trying to navigate his way around Alboreto. This allowed Mansell to extend his lead to 30 seconds and it also eliminated Senna's hard earned lead over Patrese and Schumacher behind him.
Only a lap later, Capelli sacrificed his much needed opportunity to score points for Ferrari when he damaged the car heading into Casino Square. Whilst Capelli looked capable of continuing, his entrance into the swimming pool complex saw him spin the car, causing him to hit the barriers and perch the car on an awkward 45-degree angle at the corner. It was another poor performance that would further hinder Capelli's reputation among the top.
With Capelli's retirement, Brundle moved up to fifth whilst Gachot put his Venturi-Larrousse into sixth. Gachot looking to score Larrousse's first points under their Venturi partnership. As the race drew to a close, the order appeared to have stabilised, apart from the ever continuing battle between Patrese and Schumacher for third, the rest of the field seemed to be set for the finish. Mansell appeared in hand to win his first Monaco Grand Prix, however on lap 71 he had a problem with his left rear tyre exiting the tunnel. A loose wheel nut saw him dramatically slow, the problem forcing him into the pits for a tyre change. Despite his 30 second lead, the pitstop had lost him so much time that Senna took the lead of the race.
Mansell exited the pits, 5.2 seconds adrift of Senna's McLaren. Mansell then begun a frantic charge to reclaim the lead from Senna, in three laps he had set the fastest lap around Monaco ever and had closed right on the rear of Senna's McLaren. The final three laps of the race saw Mansell desperately trying to find a way past Senna at nearly every corner. Senna however held firm and would not allow Mansell to make it past him. Therefore Senna went on to take the victory, only 0.215 seconds ahead of his main rival. In the race, Senna had broken Mansell's five race winning streak, sealed his fourth consecutive win at the circuit and his fifth overall race win at Monaco. His fifth win brought him level with Graham Hill's all time record of five wins at the Monaco circuit.
Behind Senna and Mansell, Patrese successfully held off Schumacher to claim third. Schumacher was fourth whilst his teammate, Brundle had shown his qualities as a driver to make a tremendous comeback in the race to claim fifth place. Bertrand Gachot was pleased to score Venturi-Larrousse's first points of the season after what had been a difficult start to the year for them.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 'Monaco 1992: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1992/monaco/engages.aspx, (Accessed 21/03/2020)
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