1986 F1 World Championship

  • 1986
  • F1
  • F1 World Championship
Champion
Other seasons
Other 1986 Championships
Drivers' Champion
Constructors' Champion
Most Wins
Races
16

Alain Prost became the first driver to successfully defend his World Championship since Jack Brabham in 1960 following a season that climaxed in a classic three-way title fight at the final round in Adelaide. Prost appeared to have little chance against the powerful Williams-Hondas of Nigel Mansell and the pre-season favourite Nelson Piquet. But with just eighteen laps remaining and the title in his grasp, Mansell suffered a spectacular 180 mph puncture that ended his hopes. Piquet was then forced to change tyres as a precaution, handing the race and title to a surprised but ecstatic Prost.

Williams’ year had begun badly when team founder Frank Williams was paralysed in a road accident. But Mansell was a revelation once the season started. He drove with newly found maturity and speed, winning four times and overshadowing his more illustrious new team-mate.

However, as the Williams team-mates fought a tense battle for supremacy, Prost also won four races and finished in the points on all but three occasions. Although his McLaren was at times no match for the Williams (he was a lapped third at Brands Hatch), Prost’s consistency won out over the full season.

Ayrton Senna was the fourth major title protagonist. He beat Mansell by half a car-length in a dash to the finish line at Spain’s new venue at Jerez. Another victory on the streets of Detroit kept him in the championship hunt until the end of the European season. Senna qualified on pole position and led half of the season’s events, but ultimately his Lotus-Renault could not match his pace.

Gerhard Berger scored a first victory in Mexico after several impressive performances in the powerful Benetton-BMW. While the Goodyear-equipped cars all made tyre stops, Berger ran without pitting to give Pirelli a rare success. Teo Fabi qualified on pole twice for Benetton, but never led a lap.

This was also the year of the low-line Brabham BT55. In order to reduce frontal area and lower the centre of gravity, the car’s BMW engine lay almost flat in the chassis and was mated to a new compact, seven-speed Weismann gearbox. However, the car suffered gearbox and overheating problems and failed to impress. Tragedy also touched the team when Elio de Angelis was killed in May while testing a BT55 at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Jacques Lafitte also suffered career-ending injuries at the start of the British GP – the very race in which he equalled Graham Hill’s long-standing record for Grand Prix starts. Keke Rosberg also retired from Formula 1 after a disappointing year at McLaren.

Finally, F1 held a race in communist Europe for the first time at the new Hungaroring outside Budapest, where a huge crowd witnessed a great race between Senna and Piquet.

Races

Round Race name Date Circuit Laps Winner

1

Grande Premio do Brasil

23/03/1986

Rio de Janeiro

61

Nelson Piquet

Canon Williams Honda Team

2

Gran Premio Tio Pepe de Espana

13/04/1986

Jerez

72

Ayrton Senna

John Player Special Team Lotus

3

Gran Premio di San Marino

27/04/1986

Imola

60

Alain Prost

Marlboro McLaren International

4

Grand Prix de Monaco

11/05/1986

Monte Carlo

78

Alain Prost

Marlboro McLaren International

5

Grand Prix de Belgique

25/05/1986

Spa-Francorchamps

43

Nigel Mansell

Canon Williams Honda Team

6

Grand Prix Labatt du Canada

15/06/1986

Montreal

69

Nigel Mansell

Canon Williams Honda Team

7

Detroit Grand Prix

22/06/1986

Detroit

63

Ayrton Senna

John Player Special Team Lotus

8

Grand Prix de France

06/07/1986

Paul Ricard

80

Nigel Mansell

Canon Williams Honda Team

9

Shell Oils British Grand Prix

13/07/1986

Brands Hatch

75

Nigel Mansell

Canon Williams Honda Team

10

Grosser Preis von Deutschland

27/07/1986

Hockenheim

44

Nelson Piquet

Canon Williams Honda Team

11

Magyar Nagydij

10/08/1986

Hungaroring

76

Nelson Piquet

Canon Williams Honda Team

12

Grosser Preis von Osterreich

17/08/1986

Osterreichring

52

Alain Prost

Marlboro McLaren International

13

Gran Premio d'Italia

07/09/1986

Monza

51

Nelson Piquet

Canon Williams Honda Team

14

Grande Premio de Portugal

21/09/1986

Estoril

70

Nigel Mansell

Canon Williams Honda Team

15

Gran Premio de Mexico

12/10/1986

Mexico City

68

Gerhard Berger

Benetton Formula

16

Foster's Australian Grand Prix

26/10/1986

Adelaide

82

Alain Prost

Marlboro McLaren International

3,128

Championships

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12,833

Results

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15,933

Drivers

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8,248

Teams

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856

Circuits

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