Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

1989 Spanish Grand Prix

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Date  1 October 1989
Course length  4.218 km (2.6209 mi)
1989 Spanish Grand Prix
Official name  XXXI Gran Premio Tio Pepe de España
Location  Circuito Permanente de Jerez Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  73 laps, 307.918 km (191.328 mi)

The 1989 Spanish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Jerez on 1 October 1989.


After failing to pit after being shown the black flag twice for reversing in the pits during the previous race in Portugal, Ferrari driver Nigel Mansell had been suspended for the race by the sports governing body FISA. Never far from drama, Mansell stated in a pre-practice press conference that he would be forced to consider retirement if FISA honestly believed he would ignore a black flag. The general feeling among those in the paddock and the members of the press was that Mansell was really being punished for 'ruining the championship' after his post black flag crash that took Ayrton Senna out of the race. Ferrari did not replace Mansell in Spain and only entered one car for Gerhard Berger.


Pre-qualifying was again a lottery. Last start podium finisher Stefan Johansson failed to pre-qualify his Onyx, while new team mate JJ Lehto finished second behind the Osella of Nicola Larini. Third was Larini's team mate Piercarlo Ghinzani, while qualifying specialist Philippe Alliot finished 4th in his Lola-Lamborghini. Missing out were the likes of Johansson, Michele Alboreto and Roberto Moreno.

Ayrton Senna blasted around the 4.218 km (2.6209 mi) Jerez circuit in 1:20.291 to take his pole position record to 40. Gerhard Berger was second in his Ferrari 640, only 0.274 seconds behind the man who would be his 1990 team mate at McLaren. Over a second behind Senna in third was world championship leader Alain Prost in his McLaren, with the surprise of late season qualifying, Pierluigi Martini, fourth in his Minardi, the Pirelli qualifying tyres once again coming to the fore. Martini had been an incredible second fastest after Friday qualifying, only 0.388 slower than Senna.

Philippe Alliot snared a career best fifth place on the grid in his Larrousse, proving that both the Lola chassis and the Lamborghini V12 designed by Mauro Forghieri was starting to come good. It also enhanced Alliot's reputation as a demon qualifier.

Williams-Renault entered two different model cars for their drivers Thierry Boutsen and Riccardo Patrese. Boutsen qualified 21st the new Williams FW13 that had debuted in Portugal, while Patrese reverted to the older model FW12C and ended up sixth on the grid alongside his surprisingly fast former Brabham team mate Nelson Piquet in his Lotus.

René Arnoux (Ligier) and the Rial pair of Pierre-Henri Raphanel and Gregor Foitek all failed to qualify for the race.

Race Summary

McLarens reigning World Champion Ayrton Senna took the pole, set the fastest race lap and kept the world championship alive with his sixth win of the season. Second with his third podium finish in a row following his second in Italy and his win in the previous race in Portugal was the Ferrari 640 of Gerhard Berger. World Championship leader Alain Prost finished third in his McLaren-Honda in what was his last ever race finish for the team with whom he won the 1985 and 1986 World Drivers' Championships.

Rounding out the points were the 'find of the season' Jean Alesi in his Tyrrell in fourth, the older model Williams-Renault of Patrese in fifth in what would be the FW12C's final race, and giving the Lamborghini V12 its first ever points finish in Formula One was Alliot in what would be the best drive of his Grand Prix career.

Prost's third place gave him a 16-point lead over Senna with only two races to go. If he was to retain his title, the Brazilian would need to win in both Japan and Australia with Prost scoring no more than two more points. If that had turned out to be the case and the pair had ended the season with the same amount of points, Senna would have won the championship on a count back with six wins to Prost's four.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • References

    1989 Spanish Grand Prix Wikipedia

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