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1990 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Date  25 March 1990
Course length  4.325 km (2.687 mi)
1990 Brazilian Grand Prix
Official name  XIX Grande Prêmio do Brasil
Location  Autódromo José Carlos Pace São Paulo, Brazil
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  71 laps, 307.075 km (190.807 mi)

The 1990 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 25 March 1990 at Interlagos. It was the 19th Brazilian Grand Prix and the ninth to be held at Interlagos. The São Paulo circuit had not held the Grand Prix since 1980 and the circuit was extensively renovated with the circuit itself almost halved in length. The race was contested over 71 laps of the four kilometre circuit (as opposed to 40 for the races on the original circuit), for a race distance of 307 kilometres.


The race was won for the sixth time by the reigning world champion Alain Prost driving a Ferrari 641. The win extended Prost's record for most wins of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Prost's winning margin was 13 seconds over Austrian driver Gerhard Berger driving a McLaren MP4/5B. Berger's Brazilian team mate Ayrton Senna was third.


The rebuilt Interlagos circuit which hosted the race for the first time since 1980 had been dramatically altered, the track had been shortened by 3.5 km and lost many fast sweepers and the Retao straight, which allowed Formula One drivers to use full throttle for 20 seconds.

In pre-qualifying, the Life Racing Engines team saw their car splutter to a halt 400 metres after exiting the pits, Gary Brabham claimed the mechanics were on strike and refused to put oil in the car.

Local hero Ayrton Senna took his 43rd career pole position and led from the start. Gianni Morbidelli made it through qualifying for the first time in his Formula One career.


At the first corner, Jean Alesi, Alessandro Nannini and Andrea de Cesaris tangled, eliminating de Cesaris and requiring the Benetton driver to stop for a new nosecone. On lap 8 Thierry Boutsen passed Gerhard Berger for second place, and Alain Prost took the Ferrari past the McLaren driver on lap 17. Nigel Mansell pitted on lap 27 for new tyres and also to inspect a broken rollbar. He rejoined in 9th place. Boutsen's pit stop on lap 30 went disastrously wrong. With failing brakes, and a tricky bump in the pitlane, the Williams was unable to stop and crashed into the wheel and tyre equipment stacked in the garage. This required a new nosecone and when he rejoined, he was down in 11th position.

Prost was piling on the pressure – by lap 35 he had climbed to second within 10 seconds of Senna, and was now ahead of Riccardo Patrese, Berger and Nelson Piquet. When Senna came up to lap backmarker Satoru Nakajima, there was contact and the McLaren had to pit for a new nosecone. He rejoined and challenged hard, but the reduced downforce levels made the car difficult to drive. On lap 66, Patrese retired with a broken oil cooler.

Prost took his 40th victory, and his first for Ferrari, from Berger and the recovering Senna. Mansell finished an excellent 4th, having driven through the field with a broken rollbar. Boutsen finished a creditable 5th and Piquet claimed the final point in front of his home crowd after passing Jean Alesi – who was suffering severe tyre wear after attempting to run non-stop – on the last lap.

Championship standings after the race

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

    1990 Brazilian Grand Prix Wikipedia