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1989 Formula 1 Season Review
1989 F1 Season Review
1-DVD (180 Minutes)
A tremendous review of the 1989 F1 season, covering each race in detail, and so
much more! Originally produced at the end of the 1989 season, this video
captures one of the most exciting and controversial years in the history of
Formula 1. This is a 3-hour DVD burned on a dual-layer (DL) disc.
McLaren dominated the 1988 season, winning 15 of 16 races between teammates Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, and
Senna captured his first World Championship. For 1989, McLaren was still the team to beat, but there was trouble
brewing behind the scenes. Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna were no longer on speaking terms.
While the Prost/Senna battle raged on, the rest of the field essentially watched from the sidelines, as Team
McLaren was set to repeat their 1988 success. Nigel Mansell had quit Williams, and was now on the Ferrari Team
alongside Gerhard Berger. Between the two of them, they would win 3 races in 1989. Meanwhile, the Williams Team
had abandoned their Judd engines for Renault powerplants, and Ferrari had introduced semi-automatic gearboxes,
allowing their drivers to use paddle shifters mounted on their steering wheels to shift gears.
Aside from the opening race in Brazil, won by Nigel Mansell in the Ferrari, the 1989 McLaren Team dominated again.
At Imola, where Senna was leading, the race was stopped when Gerhard Berger crashed hard and suffered
second-degree burns to his hands, and a broken rib. With Prost and Senna winning the next few races, it was the 6th
race in Canada that finally saw their success broken. In very wet conditions, Senna was leading the race, but with 3
laps to go, his engine quit, which gave Thierry Boutsen (Williams) his first win, followed by his teammate Riccardo
Patrese. At the French Grand Prix, Mauricio Gugelmin launched his March over the rest of the field, causing the race
to be stopped. On the restart, Ayrton Senna’s transmission failed, and Alain Prost would take the win. With the
McLaren drama continuing, Senna failed to score at the British Grand Prix, spinning out while in the lead, and Prost
would win. Nigel Mansell delighted the partisan crowd with second place. Senna would win the German and Belgian
Grand Prix races, while Mansell would get his 2nd win of the year at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Senna finishing
second. Senna would then win in Belgium, with Prost second, but Prost would win at the next event at Monza, Italy. It
was at this Italian Grand Prix that Prost announced he would be driving for Ferrari in 1990. McLaren team manager
Ron Dennis was furious, and when the trophies were awarded, he threw the trophy at Prost’s feet. At the
Portuguese Grand Prix, with Senna and Prost fighting for every point, it was Gerhard Berger taking the win in the
Ferrari. But there was controversy. Nigel Mansell had dominated the race, but during mid-race pit stops, Mansell
overshot his pit, reversed, and was then black-flagged for backing up on pit lane. Mansell ignored the black flag, and
while working his way back up to 3rd place, chasing 2nd place Senna, he collides with Senna and takes out both cars.
Ron Dennis of Team McLaren was livid, storming the Ferrari pits. Mansell was given a one-race ban, but this was
little solstice to Ayrton Senna, who would end the race with a DNF, while teammate Alain Prost finishes 2nd to
Gerhard Berger’s Ferrari. Senna was watching his title chances slip away with only 3 races to go. But the Brazilian
battled back at the next race, easily defeating Mansell (2nd) and Prost (3rd) at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Then came the moment that defined the 1989 season ; the Japanese Grand Prix. Alain Prost arrived at this second to
last race of the year with the title all but won. With a 16-point advantage, Prost did not need to win to claim his 3rd
World Championship. But his teammate and now nemesis Ayrton Senna DID need the win, and he needed to have
teammate Alain Prost have a sub-par performance in order to keep his championship hopes alive. Prost was in 1st,
Senna 2nd, and they were far in front of the rest of the field. On lap 47 of 53, Senna made his move, and dove
inside Prost at the chicane. Prost stood his ground and turned into Senna, and the teammates collided. Prost’s
suspension was damaged on his McLaren, and he walked off the track. But Senna motioned to the track marshals to
give him a push so he could refire his McLaren, which he eventually accomplished. Senna then weaved his way through
barriers to get back on track. After pitting to replace his damaged front wing, Senna drove to a remarkable
comeback victory. But he was later disqualified after a protest from Alain Prost. In a politically motivated and
controversial ruling by FIA and FISA president Jean Marie Balestre (who was French, and publicly supported
fellow countryman Alain Prost), the ruling was that Senna had re-entered the track in a different location than
where he exited, therefore he did not complete the lap. It is worth noting that many drivers in previous races had
used the escape roads near chicanes after on-track incidents, as is customary, without receiving penalties. Senna
was disqualified, and Alessandro Nannini (Benetton) was awarded the win. Senna would never forget this incident.
At the final event of the year in Australia, Alain Prost had the championship wrapped up. In a rain-soaked
atmosphere, he completed one lap and then parked his McLaren. Senna was going to boycott this race in protest of
Japanese Grand Prix controversy, but he decided to run. He was winning by a large margin by lap 13, but with poor
visibility in the rain, he ran into the back of Martin Brundle’s Brabham and was eliminated from the race.
Alain Prost remained World Champion for 5 days, until an appeal by McLaren regarding the
Japanese Grand Prix results ended up in court. The court ruled in favor of Alain Prost.