After a successful 1990 campaign, Ron Dennis and the team maintain continuity in many respects. A new chassis, the MP4/6, mounts Honda’s first V12 engine, though there have been mixed messages during winter testing; Berger found it down on power compared to the V10 in last year’s car, which with the extra weight was a problem, but he and Senna have been testing hard with the Honda engineers to try and solve the issues. Whether they have been successful remains to be seen but all at Woking are being cautious in public at least.
1. Ayrton Senna (left)
Now a double champion, Senna will be gunning for a third title to equal his great rivals Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost, and will be hoping that the MP4/6 will be the car to deliver him that title. He has developed a good rapport with Gerhard Berger and indeed a low-level “prank war” had developed between the two, culminating in the Austrian setting off a fire hose in Senna’s room at 3am on the morning of the Australian GP. Senna looks more relaxed and happy than ever, though no less driven and focussed. He is definitely the man to beat in 1991.
2. Gerhard Berger (right)
Gerhard was an asset to the team off the track in 1990, providing great testing feedback and acting as a calm, laid-back presence in the garage in contrast to his predecessor Prost. He will, however, be disappointed not to have got himself a win after three successful years at Ferrari. Part of that was the early teething troubles with fitting him into the MP4/5 chassis designed around the diminutive Prost, and with a new car built with his lanky frame in mind he might have better luck.