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This is the complete race as broadcast on LIVE TV.
The opening race of the 1990 Formula 1 season took place on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona. The
months between the end of the 1989 season and the first race of 1990 were marked by an ongoing
political battle between FISA President Jean-Marie Balestre and Ayrton Senna over the events
surrounding the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix. For 1990, Alain Prost moved from McLaren to Ferrari to join
Nigel Mansell, while Gerhard Berger went in the opposite direction to join Ayrton Senna at McLaren.
Thierry Boutsen and Riccardo Patrese stayed at Williams for another season while Sandro Nannini was
joined at Benetton by Nelson Piquet. The Lotus Team was now using Lamborghini engines, and hired
Derek Warwick and Martin Donnelly as drivers, while the Tyrrell Team had the impressive Jean Alesi.
Qualifying resulted in pole position for Gerhard Berger in the McLaren, but a surprise in the next two
positions as some teams were running the new Pirelli tires, which were very fast in qualifying. Pierluigi
Martini was second on the grid in a Minardi, with Andrea de Cesaris third in a Dallara, then fourth was
Jean Alesi (Tyrrell), Ayrton Senna (McLaren), Nelson Piquet (Benetton), and Alain Prost (Ferrari).
At the start Jean Alesi took the lead and led Gerhard Berger, Andrea de Cesaris, and Ayrton Senna.
Senna quickly moved up in the field. On lap 21, Alain Prost was leaving a trail of smoke behind his Ferrari
for several laps, and he finally retired from the race. By lap 30, Ayrton Senna was on top of Jean Alesi’s
Tyrrell looking for an opening to pas. But Alesi was driving a perfect race in the underdog Tyrrell.
Finally, on lap 35, Senna saw his chance and made the pas, but Alesi immediately fought back, making
for some dramatic laps, but Senna managed to hold off Alesi. On lap 49, Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari went up
in a spectacular fireball when his clutch failed. The final result was Ayrton Senna, Jean Alesi, Thierry
Boutsen, and Nelson Piquet, and Stefan Modena.
The Phoenix street circuit was only used from 1989-1991, so this is a rare treat for fans of old F1 sites.
This is an original 1990 ESPN broadcast, rescued from an old VHS tape, with commentators Bob Varsha
and David Hobbs. There is a brief interview with Jack Roush during the race, and a post-race interview
with Ayrton Senna. Some great footage in this one!