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This is the complete race as broadcast on LIVE TV.
Another rare treat for Formula 1 fans! This is the entire 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, as seen from the
cockpits of McLaren teammates Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Since this DVD consists of just the in-car
cameras, the race itself is hard to follow, so here’s a rundown of what happened in what is considered one
of the greatest, most dramatic, and most controversial F1 races of all time.
The Japanese Grand Prix was the second to last race of the year. Ayrton Senna had just had a dominant
victory at the previous race in Spain, and was now 16 points behind his teammate and rival Alain Prost. In
order to keep his championship hopes alive, Senna had to win this race. If Prost won the race, the
championship would be over, and Prost would win his third world title.
In qualifying, Senna was on pole again, with Prost a close second. When the race started, Prost jumped out
in front, followed by Senna. The two McLarens pulled away from the pack, and the drama was unfolding. On
lap 47 of 53, Senna saw his chance to pass, and dove inside Prost into the chicane. They collided, and ended
up side-by-side just off the track. Prost was furious, but he realized with both he and Senna out, he had
the championship won. Prost exited his car and walked away. But Senna motioned for the turn marshals to
push his wounded McLaren, and the Brazilian managed to get his Honda engine re-fired. Now after being
off the track for nearly 40 seconds, Senna carefully weaves between some barriers and rejoins the race.
He pits on the next lap to have his damaged front wing replaced, and as he exits pit lane, Alessandro
Nannini shoots past to take the lead. With only 6 laps remaining, Senna has to chase down Nannini, who now
has a substantial 5-second lead. Driving furiously, Senna passes Nannini on lap 50 of 53 and takes the win.
Alain Prost, realizing he may now lose the championship if he has to have a showdown with Senna at the
final race of the year, protests the race, claiming that Senna not only received outside help when the turn
marshals pushed his car, but that Senna did not re-enter the racetrack at the same point he exited.
FIA and FISA president Jean Marie Balestre, a Frenchman who was an outspoken fan of fellow Frenchman
Alain Prost, ruled that Senna had not officially completed all the laps of the race (it is worth noting that
many drivers in previous races had used escape roads near chicanes after on-track incidents, as is
customary, without receiving penalties). McLaren appealed the decision on behalf of Senna, but the FIA
Court of Appeal not only upheld the decision but fined Senna $100,000 and gave him a suspended six month
ban. Senna was so upset that he threatened to boycott the final race of the 1989 season in Australia, but
friends and family convinced him to run. After Alain Prost received his 1989 F1 World Championship
trophy, Senna reflected on his own career during the off season. He contemplated quitting the sport, fed
up with the politics that occurred at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix. Despite having won his 3rd World
Championship, Alain Prost could not take being a teammate of Ayrton Senna any longer, and at the end of
the year quit McLaren to drive for Ferrari in 1990.
This DVD consists ONLY of the in-car cameras of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. The footage is good, but a
little blurry. Considering it’s all in-car camera though, it’s very watchable!
Note : We also have this exciting race as broadcast live by the BBC (see 1980’s F1 Complete Races).