The last race to be held on the Jacarepagua circuit in Rio was to prove an exciting one as the 1989 season began in earnest. The changes in drivers around the front running teams meant there was an air of excitement, amplified by the fact that Ayrton Senna was now a World Champion. The great had yet to win on his home soil though, so the fans were rabid for his success.
Unfortunately, thanks to a first corner collision with Ricardo Patrese, it wasn’t to be. The race winner ended up being someone who didn’t even think he’d last the race. Nigel Mansell tasted victory in his very first race for Ferrari, in a car he had so much confidence in that he reportedly booked an early flight home. Indeed, teammate Gerhard Berger did break down on lap one, thanks to the fact that the semi-automatic gearbox in the Prancing Horse was both effective and brittle in equal measures. Mansell shared the podium with Alain Prost and Brazilian Mauricio Gugelmin, surprising many in his March. Our Nige would then cut his hands on the winner’s trophy, thanks to the sharp, angled design.
Another good story from this race is the debut of Brit Johnny Herbert, who could barely walk after a near career-ending F3000 crash less than a year before. Thanks to the lighter braking needs of the circuit, Johnny finishing a massively impressive 4th in Benetton, his injury clear for all to see as he was lifted into and out of the car.
Thanks to the wonderful chaps at Sutton Images, we can bring you a selection of images from the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix. Enjoy!