|Date 8 July 1990|
Course length 3.813 km (2.369 mi)
|Location Paul Ricard
|Official name Rhône-Poulenc Grand Prix de France|
Course Permanent racing facility
Distance 80 laps, 305.04 km (189.543 mi)
The 1990 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Paul Ricard on 8 July 1990. It was the seventh race of the 1990 Formula One season. It was the 68th French Grand Prix and the 14th and last to be held at Paul Ricard. It was held over 80 laps of the four kilometre circuit for a race distance of 305 kilometres. This race was held the same day as the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final in Rome, Italy, but that event took place later in the day from this Grand Prix.
The race almost saw one of the most remarkable upsets in Formula One history with the Leyton House Racing team of Italian driver Ivan Capelli and Brazilian driver Maurício Gugelmin running first and second for an extended period of the race in their Leyton House CG901s. French driver Alain Prost claimed the lead late in the race to take the win in his Ferrari 641 by eight seconds over Capelli. Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna finished third in his McLaren MP4/5B.
The win, Prost's third for the season, closed the gap to championship points leader Senna to just three points.
Nigel Mansell took pole position from Gerhard Berger and Ayrton Senna being followed by Alain Prost, Alessandro Nannini fifth, Riccardo Patrese sixth, Ivan Capelli seventh followed by Thierry Boutsen in eighth, Nelson Piquet in ninth and Maurício Gugelmin tenth.
In one of the most remarkable turn arounds in Grand Prix history the Leyton House cars of Ivan Capelli and Maurício Gugelmin ran first and second for almost two-thirds of the race. Neither car had qualified for the previous race in Mexico, but on the smooth surface of Paul Ricard with its 1.1 km long Mistral Straight the team were able to exploit their highly efficient aerodynamic package, as well as being the only team to attempt to race without stopping for fresh tyres. Gugelmin stopped while third late in the race on whilst Capelli led until three laps from home when his engine encountered problems and dropped to second.
Berger took the lead at the start followed by pole sitter Mansell, Senna, Nannini, Patrese, Prost, Boutsen, Piquet and Jean Alesi. Later in the race when the leaders pitted, Capelli took the lead being followed by team mate Gugelmin. Prost overtook Gugelmin on lap 54 and Gugelmin's engine blew on lap 57. Prost overtook Capelli for the lead on lap 77 of 80 and went on to win in front of his home crowd at the last French Grand Prix held at Paul Ricard before the race was moved to Magny-Cours in 1991.
Prost's win was the 42nd of his career, his 3rd French Grand Prix in succession, his 5th French GP overall (and his 4th at Ricard), and the 100th Grand Prix victory for Ferrari. It would also prove to be the 3rd and last podium finish for Ivan Capelli and the only podium finish for the Leyton House Racing team.