|Race 1 of 16 in the 1988 Formula One season|
|Date||April 3, 1988|
|Official name||17o Grande Premio do Brasil|
|Location||Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
5.031 km (3.126 mi)
|Distance||60 laps, 301.860 km (186.417 mi)|
|Weather||Cloudy and hot|
|Time||1:32.943 on lap 45|
The 1988 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on April 3, 1988 at the renamed Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in Rio de Janeiro. Following his 3rd World Drivers Championship in 1987 the Jacarepaguá Circuit was named after local hero Nelson Piquet. It was the first race of the 1988 Formula One season.
Winter testing had indicated Ferrari would be maintaining the edge that they had gained at the end of the 1987 season despite only having an updated version of their 1987 car, with McLaren-Honda and Williams-Judd also producing cars that looked like potential race winners. During the qualifying session there was controversy when Nelson Piquet made comments in the local media publicly insulting Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Mansell's wife Roxanne, and both drivers' families. BMS Dallara's Alex Caffi had to use a modified Formula 3000 chassis because the Formula One chassis was not ready.
Drivers making their debut in Rio were: Mauricio Gugelmin (March-Judd), Luis Pérez-Sala (Minardi-Ford), Oscar Larrauri (EuroBrun-Ford), Julian Bailey (Tyrrell-Ford) and Bernd Schneider (Zakspeed), with Bailey and Schneider failing to qualify.
EuroBrun (with Larrauri and Stefano Modena) and Rial Racing (with Andrea de Cesaris as its sole driver) were making their F1 debuts as constructors. It was something of a return for both teams, the "Euro Racing" part of the Eurobrun team had run the factory backed Alfa Romeo team from 1982-1985, while Rial was run by German Günther Schmid, ex-owner of the ATS team who were in Grand Prix racing from 1977-1984. Both teams would use the 3.5L Ford DFZ V8 engine.
Just five months after his crash at the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix, Mansell produced a sensational performance to qualify his naturally aspirated Williams second, 1.5 seconds faster than the next 'atmo' car, the Benetton-Ford of Thierry Boutsen in 7th. On the pole was Senna in his first drive for McLaren with a time almost two seconds slower than Mansell's 1987 pole time. The second row was occupied by Gerhard Berger's Ferrari (Berger's time was reportedly much slower than he managed in the annual Rio pre-season tests just two weeks prior to the race which led to speculation that the Ferraris had not been using the FIA mandated pop off valves in testing), and Alain Prost's McLaren, the Frenchman not being happy with his new car in qualifying.
The four non-qualifiers were the Tyrrell-Ford of Julian Bailey, the turbo Zakspeeds of Piercarlo Ghinzani and Schneider, and the turbo Osella of Nicola Larini. Alex Caffi failed to pre-qualify his Dallara.
On the parade lap, Senna's gear selector mechanism broke and he had to complete the lap jammed in first gear. The first start was aborted and Senna started from the spare car in the pits. At the second start, Alain Prost led from the first lap, with Mansell in 2nd place. On lap 19, the temperature gauge showed that his Williams was overheating. He entered the pits to investigate, handing second to Gerhard Berger; during the process, his engine stalled. Senna was making a remarkable drive from the rear of the grid, climbing to 21st on lap 1, 15th on lap 4, 8th on lap 10, into the points on lap 13 and by lap 20 was in second place.
Prost pitted on lap 26 without losing the lead, and Senna pitted a lap later. He stalled the engine and dropped to sixth place. Shortly afterwards he was shown the black flag and disqualified for changing cars after the green flag had been shown following the parade lap, a move that was not allowed (McLaren should have known this as Prost suffered the same fate at the Italian Grand Prix in 1986). Over the last 10 laps of the race Berger closed to within 10 seconds of leader Prost, but the Frenchman was merely pacing himself and Berger was unable to catch him.
Piquet, the reigning World Champion, came home third in his first drive for Lotus-Honda ahead of Derek Warwick in the Arrows-Megatron. Michele Alboreto in the second Ferrari and Satoru Nakajima in the second Lotus rounded out the points with 5th and 6th places. The first atmospheric car to finish was the Benetton-Ford of Thierry Boutsen who finished in 7th place.
|14||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Rial-Ford||1:34.988||1:32.275||+4.179|
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- Unless otherwise indicated, all race results are taken from "The Official Formula 1 website". Retrieved 2007-07-12.
1987 Australian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1988 San Marino Grand Prix
1987 Brazilian Grand Prix
|Brazilian Grand Prix||Next race:
1989 Brazilian Grand Prix
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