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An excellent review of the 1986 Formula 1
season covering each race in detail.
The 1986 season had one of the most dramatic conclusions ever in Formula 1. Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet fought hard
all year, and with just a few points separating them heading into the final race in Adelaide Australia, a stunning upset
occurs when Mansell blows a tire, Piquet makes a precautionary stop, and Alain Prost takes the title!
There were many changes as 1986 began. Niki Lauda retired, his seat at McLaren filled by former world champion Keke
Rosberg, while Nelson Piquet took over Keke’s seat at Williams. A young Ayrton Senna was in great form with Lotus, while
Derek Warwick headed for Brabham, joined by Elio de Angelis. The Toleman team had now turned into the Benetton team,
with drivers Gerhard Berger and Teo Fabi. Fuel consumption was again an issue as the fuel allowed per race was reduced
from 220 liters to 195. The amount of turbo boost the drivers used was a factor, as the more boost a driver cranked in,
the more fuel would be used, so they had to dance a fine line between all out speed and being able to finish the race.
There were only five different winners for all 16 races in the 1986 F1 season; Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell,
Ayrton Senna, and a lone victory by Gerhard Berger.
Nelson Piquet was off to a great start, winning the first race of the season in Brazil in front of his home fans. After a
five-year break, Spain was on the F1 schedule again with the twisty Jerez track in the country’s far south. And it
produced a thrilling race, with Senna holding off Mansell by 0.014 sec. At the San Marino Grand Prix, Senna was on pole
again, but a jammed wheel bearing forced him out, while Keke Rosberg fell from second to fifth when he ran out of fuel.
Alain Prost had his usual steady (but fast) pace, as he takes the win over Nelson Piquet. At the Monaco Grand Prix, Alain
Prost finally broke Senna’s string of poles. But one of the biggest stories of the year so far was the return of Ford (their
first run in F1 since the demise of the Cosworth DFV) introducing its first turbo in the rear of the Haas Lolas of Alan
Jones and Patrick Tambay. At the Belgian Grand Prix, it was Nigel Mansell taking the win over Ayrton Senna. The Canadian
Grand Prix had the fans going wild as Nigel Mansell takes the win over Prost and Piquet. On the street circuit in Detroit
Michigan, it’s Ayrton Senna winning, but the surprise of the afternoon is that both Ligiers, driven by Jacques Laffite and
Rene Arnoux, led the race at some point, a huge boost to the Ligier team. Tragedy struck at the French Grand Prix when
Elio de Angelis was killed in testing, the Italian driver being asphyxiated when his car inverted after rear wing failure.
Nigel Mansell would go on to win, ahead of Prost, Piquet and Rosberg. At the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, another
dramatic moment when crowd favorite Nigel Mansell had a drive shaft break, but his day was saved by a red flag as
Stephan Johansson and Jacques Laffite collided. Laffite hit a barrier, breaking both his legs and ending his career. Nigel
Mansell won the race after a restart and a tussle with Nelson Piquet. At the German Grand Prix, the podium had Piquet,
Senna, and Mansell. Then came F1’s first visit to the Eastern bloc when the cars lined up at the Hungaroring in Budapest
Hungary. Nelson Piquet outran Ayrton Senna to win in front of 200,000 spectators. At the Austrian Grand Prix, the
Benetton team rose to the occasion, with Teo Fabi and Gerhard Berger on the front row. Berger led until his turbo blew,
and in a race of high attrition it was inevitably Alain Prost who kept it flowing to win over Michele Alboreto. The Benettons
remained strong for the next race at Monza with Teo Fabi on pole, but in the end it was Nelson Piquet over Nigel Mansell
for yet another Williams one-two. Senna was on pole in Portugal, but Mansell led all the way to win from Prost and Piquet.
Formula 1 returned to Mexico City for the first time since 1970, and the Benetton team finally had their first win when
Gerhard Berger wins over Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
It now came down to the final race of the F1 season. Nigel Mansell had a substantial 6 point lead over Alain Prost, who was
1 point ahead of Nelson Piquet. As F1 fans know, this was the old points system, where points were awarded as 9 (1st), 6
(2nd), 4 (3rd), and only the top 6 positions were awarded points, so it appeared Mansell had an excellent chance at
winning his first championship. As the race unfolded, Nigel was in a perfect position to take the win until he blew a rear
tire. The Williams team then made Nelson Piquet pit for a precautionary change, and he fell to second behind Alain Prost.
When Prost crossed the finish line, he would have his second F1 World Championship trophy.
This is an excellent documentary from 1986, originally titled “All Over Down Under”, narrated by Clive Davis.