This was finally Nigel Mansell’s year. With the Williams FW14B-Renault now fully sorted and reliable, there was never any doubt who would be crowned World Champion. Williams was so dominant in the early part of the season that its drivers led every mile until lap 71 of the sixth round. Mansell made an exceptional start to the season with five successive victories and he added four more to clinch the title. His win at Silverstone in July sparked a patriotic crowd invasion while other cars were still running at speed.
But this overwhelming success would soon create turmoil for the team. Despite finishing as runner-up in the championship, Mansell’s team-mate Riccardo Patrese would not be retained at Williams for 1993. Both Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost (who had taken the year off) vied to join Mansell in what was clearly the best drive available. The Brazilian even offered to drive for free but it was Prost who was eventually signed. Mansell, unhappy with his treatment by the team during its negotiations with Prost, decided to move to Champ Cars in 1993 rather than defend his World Championship.
Despite being at the height of his powers, Ayrton Senna had to be content with just three race wins for McLaren. Mansell was delayed in the pits during the Monaco GP and Senna held off the returning Williams to equal Graham Hill’s record of five victories in the principality. Gerhard Berger lived in Senna’s shadow but the Austrian scored a couple of victories on days that his team-mate and the Williams duo had retired.
Michael Schumacher continued his outstanding introduction to Formula 1 with Benetton. His victory in Belgium a year after his debut and another 10 top-six finishes gave the German third in the championship. Team-mate Martin Brundle could not match Schumacher in practice but often raced well. He nearly won in Canada, held off Senna in Britain and finished second at Monza.
Ferrari’s fortunes sunk yet further in 1992: Jean Alesi finished no higher than third while former Leyton House star Ivan Capelli was sacked before the end of a disastrous season.
Mika Hakkinen and Johnny Herbert enjoyed an increasingly competitive season with Lotus, giving the team fifth in the constructors’ championship. Although Hakkinen gained the results, Herbert was often quicker but he was forced to retire from all but four races.
Giovanna Amati attempted to become the first female Grand Prix driver since Lella Lombardi raced in the 1976 Austrian GP. However, Damon Hill replaced her when she failed to qualify the uncompetitive Brabham for the first three races.
Max Mosley was elected President of FISA, succeeding Jean-Marie Balestre.