The 1986 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monza on September 7, 1986.
During the 2nd Qualifying session at Monza, Gerhard Berger's Benetton B186-BMW was speed trapped fastest of all cars at 352.22 km/h (219 mph), while teammate Teo Fabi was second having been clocked at 349.85 km/h (217 mph) on the long front straight. Interestingly, Berger's speed wasn't recorded on his fastest lap. The top 5 cars through the speed trap, the two Benettons, the two Brabhams (Derek Warwick and Riccardo Patrese), and the Arrows of Thierry Boutsen, were all powered by BMW. The fastest non-BMW powered car was the Williams-Honda of Nigel Mansell who was 10 km/h (6 mph) slower than Berger (as was Boutsen). In comparison, the Lola-Ford's of Patrick Tambay and Alan Jones were barely hitting 200 mph (322 km/h), slower than the Zakspeed of Jonathan Palmer and the Minardi-Motori Moderni of Alessandro Nannini.
Despite Patrese qualifying 4th in Austria and Warwick's car being the fastest through the speed trap at the Österreichring, the speed of the Brabhams surprised some in the paddock as the lowline design of Gordon Murray's Brabham BT55 had been seen as somewhat of a failure after dismal results. However, as Murray continually pointed out, the problems with the BT55 were engine and gearbox related and not because of the car's design (the normally upright 4 cyl engine was tilted 18° from horizontal which created oil surge and made worse the already poor throttle response of the BMW). The top speed achieved by Warwick (347 km/h (216 mph), 3 km/h faster than he had been in Austria) again showed that the concept worked as it created downforce but did not increase drag and hinder top speed and once again on a high speed circuit, the Brabhams were relatively high up on the grid with Warwick 7th and Patrese 10th, their only problems being the acceleration from the Variante del Rettifilio and Ascari chicanes.
Fabi scored his second pole position in succession when he lapped the 5.8 km circuit in 1:24.078 giving Benetton their first back-to-back pole positions. In a surprising 2nd on the grid at the noted power circuit was the McLaren-TAG Porsche of World Champion Alain Prost, despite being almost 20 km/h (12 mph) slower than the Benettons on Monza's long straights. Prost's lap of 1:25.014 showed that even at a power circuit such as Monza, a well set up car was still a crucial factor. Third was World Championship leader Nigel Mansell in his Williams-Honda with Berger's Benetton in 4th place. Brazilian pair Ayrton Senna (Lotus-Renault) and Nelson Piquet (Williams-Honda) rounded out the top six qualifiers. Michele Alboreto, after missing the first day of qualifying because of an injured arm (either through falling in his hotel bathroom or falling off his motorbike, whichever story you believed) was the fastest of the Ferraris in 9th place, 1.417 seconds slower than Fabi. Alboreto's teammate Stefan Johansson briefly got to drive the Italian's car during Friday qualifying and noticed a marked difference between the power of the engine in the #27 and his own.
With one new car taking the entry to 27 for only this and the next race in Portugal, FISA allowed all cars to start, and the beneficiary was Alex Caffi who started 27th in the Osella-Alfa Romeo. The new car was the French AGS of Ivan Capelli. He qualified the Motori Moderni powered car 25th ahead of both Osellas. For Caffi, who for this race only was taking the place of Canada's Allen Berg, it would be his Formula One début while Capelli was returning to F1 after 3 races with Tyrrell at the end of 1985.
Following problems at the start of the parade lap, pole position man Teo Fabi was forced to start from the back of the grid and Alain Prost, alongside him on the front row, had to start from the pit lane in the spare car. At the green light, Gerhard Berger took the lead, but on lap 8 lost positions to first Mansell, Piquet and an on-form Alboreto in the Ferrari. Ayrton Senna was out with a broken gearbox at the start. Alboreto looked to be in challenging the Williams duo for the lead having overtaken Rosberg, Arnoux and Berger before spinning at the exit of the first chicane. Like the British Grand Prix, the race became a close fight between the two Williams drivers, but this time Piquet hunted down his teammate British driver Nigel Mansell to take victory. Piquet defeated Mansell in a straight fight, leading the British home by 9.828 seconds. The Brazilian managed to pass Mansell at the Curva Grande to go on and claim his fourth win of the season. Behind, Fabi and Prost had charged from the rear and by lap 12 were running 8th and 9th. Prost was disqualified for changing cars after the start of the parade lap, but his engine blew a lap after he was flagged anyway. Johansson charged early in the race, passing Rosberg and Arnoux on lap 5 to go on to finish third.
Gerhard Berger 8 (1-6, 25-26), Nigel Mansell 29 (7-24, 27-37), Nelson Piquet 14 (38-51)Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.