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1987 Australian Grand Prix

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Date  15 November 1987
Course length  3.780 km (2.362 mi)
1987 Australian Grand Prix
Official name  LII Foster's Australian Grand Prix
Location  Adelaide Street Circuit Adelaide, South Australia
Course  Temporary street circuit
Distance  82 laps, 309.960 km (193.684 mi)

The 1987 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Adelaide on 15 November 1987.


1987 was the first time in the history of the Australian Grand Prix (dating back to the first race in 1928) that no Australian driver was on the grid. As it turned out, no Australian driver would compete in an AGP until David Brabham drove for the Brabham team (founded in 1962 by his father, triple World Champion Jack Brabham) in the 1990 Australian Grand Prix.


The third Australian Grand Prix to be held at Adelaide and the final round of the 1987 Formula One World Championship proved to be another eventful race. Gerhard Berger started from his third pole position of the year despite being ill during qualifying. The event had one vital missing ingredient in the form of Nigel Mansell, still recovering from his accident during qualifying for the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix. Standing in for Mansell at Williams was Italian veteran Riccardo Patrese, who was given permission from Brabham owner Bernie Ecclestone to join Williams one race early, having already signed for the team for 1988. 1987 Formula 3000 champion, young Italian Stefano Modena, replaced Patrese at Brabham to make his Formula One debut.

At the green light, it was Nelson Piquet, in his last race for Williams before moving to Lotus in 1988, who got away best of all, darting past Berger to take the lead into the first chicane. Alessandro Nannini in the Minardi was out immediately after crashing into the wall. A confident Berger, fresh from his victory in the previous race in Japan, re-passed Piquet going into turn three. The Austrian then went on to lead until the chequered flag to claim his third Grand Prix victory. Behind Berger developed a sparkling battle between Piquet, Alain Prost (McLaren), Michele Alboreto (Ferrari) and Ayrton Senna (Lotus). Piquet pitted for new tyres and later retired leaving the other trio to fight over second position. Senna eventually made a break from Alboreto and Prost who were being held up by back markers, with the Larrousse of Philippe Alliot in particular proving difficult to pass.

Prost suffered brake failure on lap 53, spinning off into the wall at Stag Turn and subsequently retiring. He had earlier jumped over a chicane when behind Alliot. Senna made a late charge in an attempt to catch Berger, but the Austrian had enough in hand to respond despite having what appeared to be a dragging under-tray. Senna finished second but was later disqualified when post race scrutineering revealed oversized brake ducts on his Lotus. Alboreto was promoted up to second to make it a Ferrari 1-2, the first since Alboreto and Stefan Johansson finished 1-2 in the 1985 Canadian Grand Prix. Third across the line was the Benetton of Thierry Boutsen. Of the races seven finishers (the Brabham of Andrea de Cesaris and the Williams of Patrese were classified as finishers despite not running at the end), Alboreto was the only driver to not be lapped by Berger.

The first non-turbo car to finish was the Tyrrell of Jonathan Palmer in 4th place. Frenchman Yannick Dalmas finished 5th in his Larrouse, with triple Australian Grand Prix winner Roberto Moreno (1981, 1983 and 1984) scoring a point in his Formula One debut with AGS by finishing 6th. The last car to cross the finish line was the Zakspeed of Christian Danner in 7th place, 3 laps down on Berger.


* Yannick Dalmas finished fifth but scored no points: he was racing in a second Lola car that wasn't eligible to score points because at the start of the season the team had only submitted an official entry for one car for the full championship. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, this would prove to be the only time in his Formula One career in which he would finish in the points.

Lap leaders

  • Gerhard Berger 82 (1-82)
  • Championship standings after the race

  • Bold text indicates the champions.
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for all four sets of standings.
  • References

    1987 Australian Grand Prix Wikipedia

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