|1989 German Grand Prix|
|Race 9 of 16 in the 1989 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||30 July 1989|
|Official name||LI Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland|
near Heidelberg, West Germany
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||6.802 km (4.227 miles)|
|Distance||45 laps, 305.865 km (190.055 miles)|
|Time||1:45.884 on lap 43|
Pre-qualifying had been reorganised going into the second half of the season, with several drivers and teams now being required to pre-qualify, or avoiding the need to do so. Brabham, Dallara and Rial had scored enough points in previous races to enable them to escape the Friday morning sessions entirely. Larrousse, with their Lamborghini V12-engined Lolas had scored no points thus far, so they were required now to pre-qualify for Grands Prix. Philippe Alliot was now partnered by Michele Alboreto who had left Tyrrell after a sponsorship dispute, replacing Éric Bernard, who had stood in at Larrousse for two races.
Also new to pre-qualifying was Roberto Moreno, joining his Coloni team-mate Pierre-Henri Raphanel; and Gabriele Tarquini, joining his AGS team-mate Yannick Dalmas in the Friday morning sessions. This was despite Tarquini's sixth-place finish at the Mexican Grand Prix, as Minardi had scored three points at Silverstone. Onyx had also only scored two points so were forced to continue to pre-qualify. Osella, EuroBrun and Zakspeed had scored no points thus far, so also had to continue to pre-qualify.
Bertrand Gachot topped the pre-qualifying session for the third time in a row, with his Onyx team-mate Stefan Johansson second. The two Larrousse-Lola drivers were third and fourth, with Alboreto edging out Dalmas in the AGS by a thousandth of a second. Nicola Larini was sixth in his Osella, with his team-mate Piercarlo Ghinzani again failing at this stage, down in eighth. Moreno and Raphanel were ninth and tenth, with Gregor Foitek eleventh in the new, untested EuroBrun ER189. The Zakspeeds were bottom of the time sheets, with Aguri Suzuki outpacing Bernd Schneider for only the second time this season.
As expected, the McLaren-Honda's of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost dominated qualifying on the ultra fast Hockenheim circuit, with Formula One's supreme qualifier Senna just under a second faster than Prost, who was himself almost eight-tenths faster than the Ferrari 640 of Nigel Mansell.
McLaren weren't without their problems in qualifying though. During the Friday session Senna ran over a stone which put a sizeable hole in his car's undertray and the resulting damage would require a complete change of car, the problem being that the team only had three of the new transverse gearbox cars in Germany. As a precaution, team manager Jo Ramírez instructed the team's secondary (test) crew, who were on their way to Imola for a week of testing with the new car, to stop in Dijon (France) in case the race team needed a replacement chassis. When Senna's car was deemed too badly damaged, the test crew made their way to Hockenheim and McLaren were back to having three full cars ready for use by Saturday's morning practice.
Prior to the race meeting there had been a major shakeup of management at Team Lotus. Long time Lotus man and team boss since Colin Chapman's untimely death in 1982 Peter Warr had been asked to leave the team and was replaced as team manager by Rupert Manwaring, while Lotus also had a new chairman in Tony Rudd.
|21||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Dallara-Ford||1:47.879||1:48.005||+5.579|
The race started with Senna on pole position and Prost alongside him. At the start, Gerhard Berger in the semi-automatic Ferrari made a tremendous start from fourth, passing both Senna, Prost and his teammate Mansell and led the entire field into the first corner with Senna, Prost and Mansell following in succession. At the start Philippe Alliot went off the track at the start in spectacular fashion as he was touched from behind by the Minardi of Pierluigi Martini and lost control of his Lola, spinning off into the grass. He was able to rejoin but his race only lasted 20 laps after his V12 Lamborghini developed an oil leak. His new teammate Michele Alboreto was forced out of his first race with Larrousse just past turn 1 on the second lap after the Lamborghini's electrics failed. Alboreto had qualified 26th and last, only 0.016 ahead of the Minardi of Luis Pérez-Sala.
Berger's lead was to last about a quarter of a lap as a result of the greater power of the Honda V10 engines. Senna had Berger before the first chicane, and Prost outbraked him at the Ostkurve. At the start of the second lap, it was Senna leading from Prost, Berger, Mansell, Thierry Boutsen (Williams-Renault), Alessandro Nannini (Benetton-Ford), Emanuele Pirro (Benetton-Ford), Riccardo Patrese (Williams-Renault), and Nelson Piquet (Lotus-Judd).
The McLarens of Senna and Prost and the Ferraris of Mansell and Berger started to pull away from the field, with the Benettons of Pirro and Nannini, and the Williams of Patrese just barely clinging on (Boutsen retired on lap 5 after being punted off by Pirro at the Bremsschikane 2). On lap 14, Mansell had been hounding Berger for 2 laps, but Berger had a puncture right when approaching the first chicane, and he went up on the marker, launching his Ferrari in midair, landing on a grassy patch and went across the track, just barely avoiding Mansell and came to rest on the trackside grass.
Prost and Senna were on the limit the entire race and Prost hounded Senna for 16 laps, until he went in for his pit stop for tyres, which was a terribly slow one of 18 seconds, which put Mansell in second place and Senna even further away. The next lap, Mansell came into the pits for his tyre change and his pit stop was faster than Prost's but still a poor stop of 11 seconds, which dropped him down back to fourth behind, Senna, Pirro and Prost. Then Senna decided to take advantage of his huge lead and came into the pits for his tyre change, but his stop was even worse than Prost's, lasting 23 seconds. This dropped him down to second behind Prost and Pirro had come into the pits for a tyre change and dropped to fourth.
Pirro crashed into the styrofoam barriers at the stadium entrance on lap 26 and had to be taken to the hospital after one of the barriers had hit his helmet. With Mansell having problems with his Ferrari, Senna and Prost battled for the entire race, as both drivers were driving on the limit. They started trading off fastest laps and Prost held off Senna for almost the entire race, but on lap 43, Prost's gearbox malfunctioned, lost sixth (top) gear and Senna passed him coming into the stadium. Prost limped around the track for the next 2 laps and Senna cruised around the track to grab his fourth victory of the season, followed by Prost second, Mansell third, Patrese fourth, Piquet fifth and Derek Warwick (Arrows-Ford) sixth.
In the post race press conference, Senna refused to speculate on whether he would have been able to pass Prost if the Frenchman hadn't lost top gear, instead stating that winning after suffering four straight DNFs was all he was concerned about. For his part, Prost was of the firm belief that he would have had no trouble holding on for the win had he not had a gearbox problem.
Championship standings after the raceEdit
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- "1989 German Grand Prix | Motorsport Database".
- Walker, Murray (1989). Murray Walker's Grand Prix Year. First Formula Publishing. p. 77–84. ISBN 1-870066-22-7.
- "1989 German Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "Germany 1989 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 18 March 2019.