(I realise I forgot to do this before getting carried away with the 1989 previews so here goes)
After the season had ended, Benetton were retrospectively disqualified from their 3rd and 4th places in Belgium for fuel irregularities, which promoted Ivan Capelli to third, Piquet to fourth and Warwick and Cheever to 5th and 6th respectively. This left the final tables as follows:
|1||Ayrton Senna||90 (94)|
|2||Alain Prost||87 (105)|
|15||Andrea de Cesaris||3|
* Top 11 finishes only are counted. Total points scored in brackets.
1. Nelson Piquet
2. Satoru Nakajima
A pretty dire year for the venerable team as absolutely nothing went right in Piquet’s title defence. Things seemed to start reasonably enough with a brace of third places for Piquet, but it all went downhill from there. Proof if proof were needed that just a good engine isn’t the only factor in success. Piquet’s final podium visit in Australia lifted the team from seventh to fourth in the Constructors’ race, and if anything their final position flattered them. Next year, the same driver lineup but no more Honda power; not especially promising.
3. Jonathan Palmer
4. Julian Bailey
The Tyrrell team had had a dreadful 1988, made all the more galling by coming off the back of a rewarding 1987 season that had seen the team monster the 3.5l category and score “real” points on several occasions to boot. Poor Julian Bailey caught the worst of it, only managing to qualify six times while the more experienced Palmer at least put a few points on the board. The 017 chassis just wasn’t right and much will hinge on new recruit Harvey Postlethwaite’s design for next year.
5. Nigel Mansell / Martin Brundle / Jean-Louis Schlesser
6. Riccardo Patrese
Considering how dominant the Williams cars were in 1986-7, this year was a real comedown. Many put the blame squarely on the loss of Honda power and its replacement with the atmospheric Judd, but – while undoubtedly straight-line speed was a problem – there was at least as much of a problem with the “reactive” suspension system. Once that was binned, things picked up a little and Mansell and Patrese both showed some speed, with Mansell in particular impressing. With Boutsen instead of Mansell in 1989, some fear the team may struggle, though.
9. Piercarlo Ghinzani
10. Bernd Schneider
The Zakspeed team were by some measure the worst-peforming of any of the turbo cars, and indeed struggled to qualify against the theoretically slower normally-aspirated cars on many occasions. Rookie Schneider, like Bailey at Tyrrell, found the going toughest while Ghinzani is at least used to this sort of thing from his years at Osella. Next year, the home-brewed turbo will be no more, but the replacement Yamaha engine is an unknown quantity and a bit of a gamble.
11. Alain Prost
12. Ayrton Senna
With a season of such dominance behind them the only real question for McLaren is whether Honda’s new V10 atmospheric engine will be as good as their V6 turbo has been. They’ve certainly been working team test driver Emanuele Pirro hard all season and no-one can accuse them of not being prepared. Everyone else has a lot of catching up to do, but with no offence to the Woking Wonders, most neutrals are hoping for a bit more variety on the podium next year.
14. Philippe Streiff
AGS have had a most frustrating season, with the unfortunate Streiff qualifying as high as 10th, often running well and looking like scoring on numerous occasions, but inevitably breaking down before the finish. Things haven’t been helped by the abrupt mid-season pull-out of sponsors Bouygues, leaving the team part way through constructing their new factory and in a bit of financial trouble. Here’s hoping for more reliable money and more reliable cars in 1989.
15. Ivan Capelli
16. Maurício Gugelmin
As first-ever designs go, Adrian Newey’s March 881 was a revelation and confirms him as a talent to look out for in the future. Early reliability woes were sorted and from Britain onwards a March scored at every race bar two, with Ivan Capelli in particular making waves with a series of great qualifying performances followed up by gung-ho races that put him on the podium twice. Their colourful cars, relaxed demeanour and underdog-made-good story have made them a paddock favourite this year – let’s hope for even better in ’89!
17. Derek Warwick
18. Eddie Cheever
Just six races before the turbo ban took effect, engine guru Heini Mader finally solved the problem with pop-off valves popping off too early and was immediately rewarded with Eddie Cheever’s 3rd place in Italy. It turned out that the FIA-mandated valves had been mounted too high back at the start of 1987 and since BMW were no longer actively supporting the engine, there were fewer resources available for diagnosis and testing. At any rate, Arrows had a decent season all things considered and certainly once the valve problem was sorted out they looked much better. Next season without the sluggish BMW/Megatron engine they might do even better.
19. Thierry Boutsen
20. Alessandro Nannini
A pretty good year for the brightest team on the grid, all things considered. Exclusive access to the new Ford DFR engine and a neat Rory Byrne aerodynamic package saw Benetton take third in the constructors’ table and Boutsen fourth in the driver rankings. The fact this was the team’s first ever non-turbo car (even Toleman were a turbo outfit right from the outset) makes it even more impressive. With top scorer Boutsen off to Williams next year and rookie Johnny Herbert arriving (assuming he recovers from his injuries in time), Nannini will be thrust into the spotlight as team leader.
21. Nicola Larini
Things had looked promising for Osella during winter testing but it had all gone so very wrong. Disqualified for failing scrutineering at San Marino, Larini qualified and finished 9th in Monaco, raising hopes again, but he only finished one more race, in 12th place. He was even running well in Britain, before running out of fuel 5 laps from the end and being classified 19th. Nobody is quite sure how Osella still keeps going…
22. Andrea de Cesaris
The little Rial team didn’t have a bad debut at all, all things considered. Andrea de Cesaris had a good year and put in some excellent drives, both in qualifying and during the race, and while his fourth place in Detroit may liook like a one off fluke but if his car hadn’t kept breaking down, he could quite easily have had more. Plenty of promise to build on for the future but we’ve already seen signs of owner Gunter Schmid at his abrasive worst and Gustav Brunner has departed for pastures new.
23. Adrián Campos / Pierluigi Martini
25. Luis Pérez-Sala
The team scored their first ever point in 1988, with returnee Pierluigi Martini’s sixth place in Detroit, so there was progress of a sort. The well-heeled Campos was found wanting and replaced, but after scoring in his first race, Martini never quite reached the heights again. At least they qualified most of the time and actually finished a respectable number of times – they just lacked the pace to do anything other than circulate in midfield.
25. René Arnoux
25. Stefan Johansson
A truly miserable year for the French team, with even the experienced driver pairing of Arnoux and Johansson struggling. The major problem seemed to be lack of downforce with Johansson complaining that the car handled like the track was wet. For the first time ever, Ligier posted a double-DNQ, and then did it again at their home race, a true low point. Questions are still being asked about Arnoux’s continued employment, but he did actually do better than his team-mate this year.
27. Michele Alboreto
28. Gerhard Berger
It seems odd to say that comfortable second place in the Constructors’ race and third in the drivers’ standings for Berger constitutes a bad year for Ferrari, but they spent most of the year being hamstrung by the engine’s high fuel consumption which forced Berger and Alboreto to constantly choose between slowing down and running out of fuel. A fairytale win at Monza after the death of Enzo Ferrari lifted the entire paddock and the team will be excited to see what Mansell will do in place of the increasingly anonymous Alboreto.
29. Yannick Dalmas / Aguri Suzuki / Pierre-Henri Raphanel
30. Philippe Alliot
The team were disappointed not to trouble the scorers in 1988, and the LC88 chassis just seemed to lack that bit of speed needed to climb out of the midfield. It didn’t help that Alliot seemed to have rediscovered his old accident-prone form and failed to finish half the races. They also go into the off-season worried about Yannick Dalmas’ health – Legionnaire’s Disease could be pretty nasty and there were questions about whether he would be fit for the new season.
31. Gabriele Tarquini
A rough year for Coloni, with the undoubtedly talented Tarquini being the sole care to fail pre-qualifying on six occasions, and only saw the finish five times. The best result was 8th in Canada, but even that flattered – last on the track and two laps down. The team’s first full year in F1 had not been a particular classic, but they would hope to have gained valuable experience ready for the season to come.
32. Oscar Larrauri
33. Stefano Modena
The new team had a solid but not great start to life and Stefano Modena managed to put in some good performances, though lack of reliability usually meant it came to nothing. As money became scarcer as the season went on, they dropped back and only rarely qualified. Oscar Larrauri was particularly unimpressive, and gained an unwanted reputation for being a mobile roadblock – unfortunately for all concerned, Walter Brun’s attempt to replace him with Christian Danner came to nothing when the German was too tall for the car and the end result was just a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
BMS Scuderia Italia Dallara-Ford
36. Alex Caffi
The Scuderia Italia team had had a pretty decent debut year, not scoring points but coming close on occasion and qualifying for every race bar one. Alex Caffi certainly seems like a decent driver waiting for a car that will allow him to show it. The Dallara-Ford wasn’t quite that car, but it was reasonably reliable and quick enough to take advantage of others’ misfortune. The team seem to have a good foundation to go into the new season with confidence.