Half-Term Report

MON89 SennaMcLaren-Honda

The “Woking Wonders” are still the class of the field, but competition is starting to catch up, and their cars don’t seem quite as bulletproof as they were in 1988. The rivalry between Prost and Senna hasn’t yet produced too many problems on track, but it might be hurting development and setup as neither share information with the other.

FRA89 AlesiTyrrell-Ford

Certainly an improvement on last year so far: the car looks good and Michele Alboreto even put it on the podium before his unfortunate clash of sponsorship. Jean Alesi looks a more than able replacement though and could be a real find; like Alboreto himself back in 1982! Palmer does seem a bit anonymous by comparison though.



A definite return to form for Williams and a win in Canada for Boutsen was well deserved if inherited. Patrese looks transformed, a much more mature driver who has lost none of his ability to push. They’re not quite there yet and are still awaiting the launch of their much delayed 1989 car, but it’s looking good so far.

USA89 ModenaBrabham-Judd

 A cracking start for the returning team, and although their form seems to have fallen off of late, they have come out of Pre-Qualifying on merit and will look forward to kicking on in the second half of the season with finances and driver continuity secure for 1990. One slight worry is the arrival and departure again after a week of manager Teddy Mayer – is there trouble at the top?




Mixed fortunes so far for Arrows – with a bit of luck Warwick could have even won in Canada, while Cheever stood on the podium in Phoenix before suffering his first DNQ in five years at Silverstone. Much seems to depend on the setup of the car, and it seems to prefer tight circuits to fast ones.

GBR89 PiquetLotus-Judd

Another dreadful season for Lotus so far – Ayrton Senna winning races for them in 1987 seems so long ago now. Piquet has had a couple of good drives but mostly looks demotivated and tired, and the car just isn’t fast enough. Experiments with a Tickford five-valve cylinder head seem not to have been too successful and the standard Judd engine gave Piquet three points in Britain.


A frustrating season so far for the boys in aqua after their 1988 heroics. The new car is clearly fast, but has only finished one race so far – Capelli’s 11th place in Monaco – and poor Gugelmin has had a rough couple of races, with good qualifying performances undone by accidents and breakdowns meaning he had to start from the pitlane. Hoping for better in the back straight.


A trying season so far with Ghinzani not having made it out of Pre-Qualifying yet. Larini has done so twice in the last three races, though, with a new chassis and improved tyres. They’ll still have to Pre-Qualify but can be a bit more optimistic for the second half of hte season.

FRA89 NanniniBenetton-Ford

A decent start to the season and the team’s faith in Johnny Herbert seems to have been justified, even if he had to step back later in the season. Nannini’s looked good and the new car, when it finally appeared in Canada, looks lively with the new Ford HB engine. If Williams can win, then surely Benetton can too…

CAN89 de CesarisBMS Scuderia Italia Dallara-Ford

The little Italian team are having a cracking year so far, with Canada a particular high point seeing de Cesaris on the podium and Caffi sixth. They won’t be Pre-Qualifying from now on and will just want to concentrate on improving their reliability to turn great qualifying positions into results.

GBR89 MartiniMinardi-Ford

The other little Italian team haven’t had quite as good a season as Dallara, but the new M189 looks tidy enough, even if the results just haven’t been there so far. Martini generally looks better than Sala, who has failed to qualify on a couple of occasions, but as the double points finish at Silverstone demonstrated they could finish well if the stars aligned


A mixed bag for Ligier. The JS33 is clearly better than its predecessor, and both drivers have scored, but both have also failed to qualify on a number of occasions. Arnoux has only started half the races so far, and has generally been outpaced by young Grouillard amid persistent rumours that the veteran will be out of his seat – voluntarily or otherwise – at the end of the season.

BRA89 MansellFerrari

Continued frustration at Ferrari after such a promising start to the season; teething troubles with the revolutionary semi-automatic gearbox continue to plague the team and poor Berger hasn’t finished a race yet, let alone scoring points. Mansell’s been luckier with reliability and has shown why he was hired, with the Tifosi definitely warming to him straight away. If they can sort the gearbox gremlins, they can finish the season strongly.

GBR89 BernardLarrousse Lola-Lamborghini

The gamble on an untried Lamborghini V12 engine seems to have not come off for the brightest team on the grid, and the team took out their frustration on their drivers, with both Alliot and Dalmas getting the sack before sheepishly having to re-hire Alliot. They have dropped into Pre-Qualifying now, to no-one’s great surprise: Eric Bernard’s 11th place finish in France is the only time a Larrousse has seen a chequered flag all season so far.

CAN89 MorenoColoni-Ford

Another lean year for Enzo Coloni’s outfit – Moreno will now join team-mate Raphanel in Pre-Qualifying, which isn’t great news as the Frenchman has only got out of PQ once so far, at Monaco when both cars made it into the race. The new C3 chassis looks tidy enough but is lacking in straight-line speed – not good on the upcoming fast circuits.


Not much to report, really – Gregor Foitek hasn’t made it out of Pre-Qualifying once yet, and shows no signs of doing so. A new car is expected in Germany, though, so things may be looking up.



If Yamaha came into Formula One thinking they were going to challenge Honda, they’ve come down to earth with a bump. Schneider and Suzuki – both decent drivers – have failed to pre-qualify for every single race bar one (Schneider made it into the race in Brazil), and it’s difficult to see that changing any time soon.

MEX89 OnyxOnyx-Ford

After a rough start at the bottom of the timing sheets, the team have learned quickly and become regular fixtures on race day even if usually only one of them. Gutted not to have made it out of Pre-Qualifying thanks to Minardi’s points in Britain, the team can still hope to continue improving and aim to PQ both cars and make it into the race.


Danner’s fortuitous fourth at Phoenix lifts the team out of Pre-Qualifying which is a boost for young Volker Weidler who’s failed to make it into Qualifying proper so far this year. Both drivers have earned the ire of excitable team manager Gunter Schmid, who threatened to fire both before the British Grand Prix. He didn’t see anything there to change his mind, so whether both Danner and Weidler will make it to their and the team’s home race in Hockenheim next, we wait to see.


The team, stunned by Streiff’s accident before Brazil, have fallen on their feet to an extent as Gabriele Tarquini has proved a very able replacement, and has certainly shown up Jo Winkelhock in the second car, who never made it through PQ before being replaced by Dalmas for Silverstone. Nonetheless, Tarquini’s single point in Mexico not enough to save himself from dropping into Pre-Qualifying to join Dalmas.


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