39w ago


The 1980's was the golden age for many sports, including Formula One? Well it had one of the best rivalries any sport: Prost v Senna - The Professor vs The Magician. Throw in a Brazilian called Nelson Piquet and those three drivers took seven of the ten titles in the 1980's, and eleven between 1980 and 1993.


What a great way to start a new decade. Australian Alan Jones managed to hold off Nelson Piquet in his Brabham to win the 1980 World Championship, but it was always close, with Jones winning in the penultimate round.

The first round was held in January in Buenos Aires, where Jones laid down the gauntlet, winning the race from pole, and setting the fastest lap, but Piquet managed an easy second.

Round 2: Interlagos. Rene Arnoux took pole in his Renault, and though he led for less than half of the race he won with ease, Jones finishing on the podium, retaining his championship lead, but Renault emerged as a possible third title challenger alongside Ligier.

At South Africa Arnoux won again in a French 1-2-3, with Ligier second and third, Piquet managing third. Arnoux had now taken the lead.

However at USA Nelson Piquet won his maiden GP, and it was tour de force: a commanding pole, leading all the way, fastest lap and almost a minute winning margin.

At Zolder Jones took pole but it was another maiden victory, this time for Didier Pironi, nearly as dominant as Piquet last round, with Jones finishing second. The top four (Arnoux, Jones, Piquet and Pironi) were only separated by four points.

However at Monaco it was another new race winner, this time around Alan Jones's team-mate Carlos Reutemann, making the top five now separated by seven points, with Piquet finishing third, taking the championship lead.

At the halfway point of the season in France, Alan Jones retook the championship lead with a impressive win, beating the two Frenchman of Latiffe and Pironi, Piquet and Arnoux only managing fourth and fifth.

Round 8 - Brands Hatch, and Jones wins on Williams home soil, Reutemann finishing third to make it a double podium. Piquet however finished in-between them, minamalising the damage of Jones's win.

At Germany Jones was on for three wins in a row until a puncture where Latiffe took the win, now entering the fray for the title. Jones and Piquet finished third and fourth.

At Austria with five rounds to go Renault re-emerged, but it wasn't Arnoux, although he took the pole, but Jabouille won the race by less than a second from Jones with Reutemann third and Piquet only fifth. Both Renault drivers were out of contention for the title; it was down to the Williams and Piquet. At this stage Jones was holding a eleven point lead over Piquet.

However at Zandvoort and Monza Piquet won both races, Jones only collecting six points, Piquet now taking the championship lead by one point heading into the final two races, Reutemann now out of the race too.

Canada. The two title contenders qualified 1-2, Piquet on pole. Piquet was leading the race until lap 24 where he had engine trouble, handing Jones the win and the championship.

At Watkins Glen it was a Williams 1-2, Jones winning the race.


1. Jones (AUS) - 67/5

2. Piquet (BRA) - 54/3

3. Reutemann (ARG) - 42/1




In 1981 it was the same as 1980, the Williams of Reutemann and defending champion Jones against the Brabham of Piquet. However it was much closer, with Ferrari, Renault and Ligier showing real promise, winning races and challenging for the title.

At the first round in the USA it was business as usual for the defending champion, winning in a Williams 1-2 with Piquet in third.

At the next round it was another Williams 1-2, this time Reutemann taking the win, refusing to listen to team signals to let Jones through, with Piquet retiring.

At Argentina Piquet striked back, winning from pole and setting fastest lap. Reutemann was second, meaning he took the championship lead, Jones only fourth, the pair split by Alain Prost of Renault, his first podium.

At Imola Piquet continued his charge by winning the race, although the Ferrari pair both had retirements whilst leading the race. Reutemann finished third meaning he hung onto the lead whilst Jones retired.

Reutemann cemented his title challenge at the next round in Belgium, winning the race from pole in what turned out to be a tragic weekend. Both Jones and Piquet failed to score.

At Monaco in the rain Gilles Villeneuve won for Ferrari for the first time since '79, overtaking Jones in the final few laps. Piquet failed to score, with Latiffe in third.

In Spain five cars finished the race separated by just 1.24 seconds, Villeneuve winning his second consecutive race. Reutemann was the only title contender to finish in the points, finishing fourth.

At France it was a very special day for French fans; Alain Prost winning his first grand prix in a Renault in France, with John Watson's McLaren close behind in second, Piquet finally getting back onto the podium.

At Silverstone the Renault's were dominant, leading the way until both cars had engine problems, leaving John Watson to take victory in his McLaren, to the delight of the British crowds. It was the first win for McLaren since 1977 with James Hunt in Fuji. Reutemann finished second to extend his championship lead to 17 points with six rounds to go.

At Germany though, Piquet struck back, winning by overtaking the fast Renault of Prost with five laps to go; Reutemann failing to score any points. Now the Brazilian was just eight points behind.

The next round was Austria, where it wasn't about the title contenders, but more about the race. Latiffe of Ligier managed to hold off Arnoux and Piquet to win the race, with Williams finishing fourth and fifth. Heading into the final four rounds it looked like it was a two-horse race between Reutemann and Piquet.

In Holland and Monza Prost won both races, suddenly an outside favourite heading into the final two rounds, with Piquet closing Reutemann's lead to just three points.

At Canada, Latiffe mastered the circuit and won for a second time in 1981, heading into the final round still mathematically able to win the championship, Piquet just one point behind Reutemann.

The final round - in Las Vegas. Reutemann started from pole but with gearbox troubles finished a lap down off the leader, with Piquet not challenging for the win, but able to finish fifth in the points, winning the title by a single point. Defending champion Jones finished the season with a win.


1. Piquet (BRA) - 50/3

2. Reutemann (ARG) - 49/2

3. Jones (AUS) - 46/2




1982 proved to be one of the closest battles in F1 history, similar to '74, four drivers competing for the title. Ferrari seemed to have the best car, but the death of Gilles Villeneuve and the accident involving Didier Pironi meant that The Prancing Horses won the Constructors title almost posthumously.

In the first two rounds Alain Prost cemented himself as a strong contender for title, winning both South Africa and Brazil with relative ease. However at round three a familiar face would return.

In his comeback season, Niki Lauda won in round three in the US, also winning with ease.

At Imola only five cars finished due to the FISA/FOCA rules (only 13 cars started). It meant Ferrari took a 1-2, although Pironi failed to listen to team orders and overtook Villeneuve on the final lap to take the win.

Before Zolder Villeneuve died in qualifying, however in the race John Watson won it with Keke Rosberg second. No one had taken the title by the scruff of its neck yet, and this continued at Monaco, with Riccardo Patrese winning a bizzare race in Monaco. Prost, the championship leader had only scored 18 points in 6 races. Strange.

However in Detroit at the next round John Watson won his second race of the year, taking the championship lead with it. At the next round defending champion Nelson Piquet's struggling Brabham shone in Montreal, easily winning the race, with Watson finishing third, that meant he had a ten point lead over Pironi.

However in Holland the tables turned again; Watson failing to score with Pironi winning. Just one point was in the title battle now.

In Brands Hatch Niki Lauda managed to win again, now a title contender, although Pironi now had a five point lead over Watson.

In France it was a relatively pointless race in the championship battle; a Renault 1-2, with Pironi finishing third, now having a nine point lead.

In a wet practice Pironi had a horrible crash, resulting in shattered legs and the end of his career. His team-mate Patrick Tambay went on to win the race. However with Pironi out the McLaren pair, Prost and Rosberg were championship favourites.

In Austria Elio De Angelis lead Keke Rosberg for the final five laps, the Finn always closing, but the Lotus won the race by just half a tenth.

In Switzerland with just three rounds to go Keke Rosberg finally got his maiden win, but it was in great style, passing Alain Prost with just two laps to go. With two rounds to go, Rosberg was now the title favourite.

At Monza, the Ferrari's of Mario Andretti and Patrick Tambay gave it their all, finishing second and third behind the Renault of Rene Arnoux, with John Watson the only title challenger to collect points, finishing in fourth place. By doing so it gave him the slimmest of chances to win the title, but Rosberg only required one point.

Michele Alboreto won the final round in the US, but John Watson always put pressure on for the win, only managing to finish second; Rosberg fifth. The title was his.


1. Rosberg (FIN) - 44/1

2. Pironi (FRA) - 39/2

3. Watson (GBR) - 39/2




Alain Prost and Renault may have lost out on the title in '82 but they were red-hot favourites heading into 1983, but one Brazilian was in his way; Nelson Piquet.

In the opening round in Interlagos Piquet won easily on home soil, his Brabham working like clockwork, Prost was no where, and McLaren's looked threatening, Lauda finishing third and Watson running in second for most of the race until engine problems.

In what was his greatest win of his career, McLaren showed their potential, John Watson starting 22nd on the grid and managed to win the race in the USA, with his team-mate Lauda in second.

Finally in France Prost began his title challenge, winning the race from pole and setting fastest lap, but had a challenge from Piquet, who finished a fine second ahead of the other Renault driven by Cheever.

Nearly twelve months to the day after Villeneuve lost his life, Patrick Tambay won in the Ferrari, beating Prost with ease, and his team-mate Arnoux making it a double Ferrari podium.

At Monaco it was the fifth different race winner out of five races, this time defending champion Keke Rosberg. After the first lap he overtook Prost and took the race by the scruff of its neck. Piquet finished second and Prost third. Tambay now mounting a possible title challenge by finishing fourth.

At Spa Prost won again, taking the title lead, with Piquet only managing fourth due to gearbox difficulties, but Tambay in his Ferrari finished second, now five points behind Prost and one behind Piquet. Rosberg was also stringing some results together, gaining momentum in his title defence.

In Detroit the non-stopping Tyrrell of Alboreto managed to beat Piquet and Rosberg for the win. Piquet fourth with a puncture near the end and Rosberg a fine second, now eight points behind Prost.

At the halfway stage in Canada Arnoux emerged as another possible contender, winning the race from pole, Tambay in a fine third, now on equal points with Piquet.

In Silverstone Prost won, giving him a useful points advantage, but his main challengers finished 2-3 (Piquet then Tambay).

At Hockenheim Arnoux won his second race of the season, now both Ferrari's in contention for the title, although Prost now had a 9 point lead over Piquet, and at the next round in Austria he extended it by winning, overtaking Arnoux with five laps to go. Piquet superbly managed engine problems to finish in third place.

At Zandvoort Rene Arnoux won what was rather a fortuitous victory, after Piquet was eliminated by Prost in a clumsy overtaking move, gifting Arnoux the win in a Ferrari 1-2 with Tambay behind.

In Monza Piquet stormed back, leading almost all of the race Arnoux always in second, and Tambay in fourth. Prost had turbo trouble. This meant that Prost lead the title race by two points from Arnoux, then another three to Piquet, with Tambay an overall eleven points behind Prost, with just two rounds to go.

At the European Grand Prix in Brands Hatch, Piquet won the race in style, with Prost ever present behind him, only about 5-10 seconds back. The Ferrari drivers both retired, meaning it was down to Prost and Piquet heading into South Africa. Prost had a two point advantage.

Piquet and Brabham dominated South Africa, the Brazilian leading 59 of the laps, until Prost retired with turbo troubles in a losing P3. So Piquet decided to turn his engine down to be safe, finishing P3, handing his team-mate the win.


1. Piquet (BRA) - 59/3

2. Prost (FRA) - 57/4

3. Arnoux (FRA) - 49/3




In what was a season dominated by the two McLaren drivers, Lauda managed to hold off Prost in what was an epic rivalry.

Race One: Rio. And Prost was determined to win this one. In what was a race involving a lot of incidents, Prost won, with Rosberg in second in his Williams and De Angelis in his Lotus in third.

Next round: South Africa, and Lauda storms back, beating his team-mate by over a minute in a McLaren 1-2, with rookie Senna scorning his first point after just two races.

In Zolder it was a dominant display by Alboreto and his Ferrari, leading every lap from pole, with Derek Warwick finishing second in his Renault, emerging as a possible title contender?

At Imola, Prost lead every lap from turn one, no one challenging him. Arnoux finished second in his Ferrari and De Angelis third.

In France Lauda stormed back, tossling with Tambay for the win, with Mansell collecting his first podium.

At Monaco there were heavy showers. Prost lead Mansell until the Lotus drove past, until he binned it, Prost re-taking the lead. There were a huge amount of casualties: The Renault pair and Lauda just to name a few. However all eyes turned to rookie Senna who was moving up the leaderboard, the Toleman displacing Lauda for second after twenty laps. Slowly the rookie reeled in the Professor, until controversially the race was stopped due to the conditions. Prost won, but Senna second.

The triple header of North American tour began in Canada, with Piquet winning it from Pole and leading every lap and setting fastest lap, and repeated this success in Detroit one week later. However on the final race in North America, in Dallas, Keke Rosberg finally won a grand prix with Williams-Honda, but had to battle Prost and Mansell for the win. Arnoux finished in a brilliant second, having started from dead last.

At the next round in Brands Hatch Niki Lauda past Nelson Piquet and Niki Lauda on his way to win, closing the gap to Prost to just 2.5 points. Derek Warwick managed a great second place in front of the home crowds, and Ayrton Senna finished in a popular third.

At Hockenheim Prost won a closely fought battle with Lauda, the two McLaren's mies ahead of Warwick and Mansell. At the next round in Austria it was Piquet vs the McLaren's again, but halfway through the race Niki Lauda took the lead from Piquet, who in the end finished a fine second, with Prost crashing earlier on in the race.

Prost restored his championship momentum with a clear-cut victory from pole, but as so often, Lauda, from an inferior grid position, came though strongly in the race to finish ten seconds behind his team-mate.

At Monza it was the same film: Piquet on pole, leads opening laps, turbo blows, McLaren take the lead, this time Lauda winning with Prost retiring. Patrese took a fine third in the Alfa and Johansson an excellent fourth in the Toleman. Lauda now had a 9.5 point lead heading into the final two rounds.

At the first corner of the first GP held at the new Nurburgring an accident eliminated five cars on the spot, but that did not stop Prost from dominating the race with a lights-to-flag victory. His team-mate had a horrible time, qualifying 15th, but managing to finish fourth. The Austrian now had a 3.5 points lead.

Prost easily won the race, but it was all about Lauda. After qualifying P13 he relentlessly drove to P3, where his progress stalled where he was stuck behind Mansell, until his Lotus gave up, gifting Lauda the championship. Senna qualified 3rd and finished 3rd, laying down the gaunlet for 1985.


1. Lauda (AUT) - 72/5

2. Prost (FRA) - 71.5/7

3. De Angelis (ITA) - 34/0




After finishing second twice in the championship, Alain Prost dominated the 1985 championship, although he faced some competition from Michele Alboreto and his Ferrari.

At the opener in Brail Prost dominated after overtaking Alboreto on Lap 17 but the Italian finished the race just 3 seconds behind Prost.

Onto Estoril, and Senna took pole in the dry and astonishingly lead every lap in his Lotus in the pouring rain, Alboreto finishing second again.

At Imola Senna lead from pole until on Lap 56 until he ran dry. This left De Angelis to win in the Lotus.

At Monaco again Senna led from pole but his Lotus only lasted twenty minutes. Alboreto finishing second again to Prost, but De Angelis took third, taking the championship lead.

In Canada Alboreto finally won in Ferrari 1-2 with Johansson second and Prost third. De Angelis finished fifth, level with Prost on points.

Senna took pole but chose the wrong types, eliminating him from the race. After that Keke Rosberg took the lead and won convincingly, with Johansson and Alboreto behind.

High race-day temperatures saw an abrupt change to Piquet's horrible season. P5 in qualifying, but the Brabham was third on lap 1, and P1 on lap 11. Rosberg finished second with Prost third.

Rosberg set an amazing 65 second lap at Silverstone to take pole but Prost dominated the race, but Alboreto finished second yet again to retain his championship lead.

Germany: Alboreto wins from Prost. Austria: Prost wins from Senna and then Prost. The two now having 50 points each with five rounds to go.

At Zandvoort Niki Lauda took an unexpected win by a mere two tenths from Prost, and from here on Prost ran away with the title, Ferrari suffering terrible engine trouble, Senna took a win in the wet again at Spa, and Rosberg took the final race in Australia, his final race win with Williams.


1. Prost (FRA) - 73/5

2. Alboreto (ITA) - 53/2

3. Rosberg (FIN) - 40/2




Piquet & Mansell

1986 saw a Williams resurgence, with Mansell and Piquet almost winning the title, and for most of the 1986 season, Ayrton Senna was a genuine title contender in his Lotus.

Round One: Brazil, and to the delight of the crowd it was Piquet v Senna, the former winning the race with relative ease, the later taking the pole.

However at the next round Senna won from pole, but it was an awesome battle with the Williams of Mansell, the two trading positions countless times, with Senna winning the race by 0.014 seconds, Prost a distant third.

Next round: Imola, and double defending world champion Alain Prost turns up, fending off Piquet for half of the race to win, now a title contender along with the Williams duo and Senna, and he re-affirmed his challenge for a third title by winning Monaco with ease with Rosberg second; a McLaren 1-2, with Senna a distant third.

Over the next five races Nigel Mansell won at Spa, Canada, France and Brands Hatch, taking the championship lead with Prost his nearest challenger.

At the next two rounds in Germany and Hungary the classification of the top three were the same: Piquet 1st, Senna 2nd, and Mansell 3rd.

However the party for the Brazilian's was about the be halted, because Alain Prost then won the Austrian Grand Prix, lapping everyone, including the two Ferrari's which were his closest competitors, rounding out the podium. Now the top 4 were separated by 8 points with four rounds to go.

Monza was all about Williams, a 1-2 in the end, Piquet leading the way, with Johansson in the Ferrari giving the tifosi something to cheer about after finishing P3. Senna had transmission issues, effectively closing his championship challenge.

At Estoril Mansell easily won with a lights-to-flag victory, Prost finishing second ahead of Piquet. Mansell now led team-mate Piquet by 10 points and 11 to Prost with two rounds to go.

At Mexico Gerhard Berger won his first GP; Prost second, Piquet fourth, Mansell fifth.

In the final round in Australia Nigel Mansell was cruising to the championship, running in P3 until a puncture killed his chances. Then the title went to Piquet, leading the race until he had to pit, gifting Prost the title.


1. Prost (FRA) - 72/4

2. Mansell (GBR) - 70/5

3. Piquet (BRA) - 69/4




In 1987 it was the battle between the two Williams drivers, although Ayrton Senna was always lurking in his Lotus.

In the opening round in Brazil the big four were straight back on it - Mansell pole, Senna and Piquet battling for the win but Prost took the win, Piquet 40 seconds back in second with Johansson, now in a McLaren taking a respectable third place.

At Imola Piquet had a massive crash in qualifying, and decided to sit out of the race. Senna took pole but Mansell's Williams was just faster, taking the win with ease, Alboreto taking third in his Ferrari.

At Spa Prost continued his title defence by overtaking Piquet on lap 9 after a gearbox issue to take the win, Johansson making it a McLaren 1-2. All signs pointed towards Prost taking his third consecutive title.

At Monaco in what should have been a straightforward win for Mansell, Senna took it after Mansell's exhaust gave up on lap 29, Piquet finishing second.

Senna's second successive win was a repeat of his Mowtown victory last year, the Lotus's suspension helping him run the distance on one set of tyres, Piquet second and Prost third.

In the next two races it was a Williams 1-2, including on home soil, Mansell winning both, however Senna collected another seven points, still leading the championship by one point from the Williams duo who were both on 30 points at this stage at what was the halfway point.

However in the next two rounds in Germany and Hungary the roles were reversed, Piquet winning two in a row, but it was Senna who was just behind him, finishing second and third, Mansell failing to finish in both races. Piquet now having a 17 point lead over his team-mate and 7 over Senna.

At Austria Mansell struck back, winning the race but Piquet in a safe second place.

At Monza Piquet had an excellent battle with Senna for the win, but the two-time world champion took the win, with Mansell only third. The championship looked like it was going to be his.

In Estoril Prost took a surprising win, with Piquet a safe third, now having a 18 point lead over Senna.

However Mansell won two consecutive races in Jerez and Mexico to keep his hopes alive, although Piquet finished second and fourth, meaning he had a 12 point lead heading into the final two rounds.

It would all be over at Suzuka, Berger taking victory from pole for what would be Ferrari's first victory in three years, Senna second, both Williams failing to score, the title was Piquet's.

In the final round in Australia it was a convincing Ferrari 1-2, Berger winning again, the big four failing to score.


1. Piquet (BRA) - 73/3

2. Mansell (GBR) - 61/6

3. Senna (BRA) - 57/2




France, 1988

In what would be the greatest season for any constructor, the McLaren boys battled for the title until the final round, only losing one race of the season.

Round One: Brazil. Senna took pole but a gearbox problem eliminated him from the start, letting Prost lead every lap, winning the race convincingly. Prost 1-0 Senna.

Senna took pole and led every lap, but Prost was only two seconds behind, every other car lapped. 1-1.

However at the next two races in Monaco and Mexico it was Prost who took both wins, extending his championship lead, Berger now in second somehow.

What followed next was two McLaren 1-2's, Senna winning both of them, but Prost still had a 12 point advantage. 3-3.

Prost was on pole in France and took the win, Senna in second. 4-3.

Silverstone, and perhaps a watershed. Senna won in the rain, but more importantly Prost's first dnf, Senna closing the lead to six points. 4-4.

In the next three races Senna took all three poles, all of them McLaren 1-2's, Senna leading every lap. Senna now in the lead in the points table. 4-7.

The one that got away at Monza. Both McLaren's posted mechanical problems, gifting Ferrari a 1-2 in Monza, just a month after that death of Enzo.

In Estoril Prost won from pole, Senna only finishing P6, re-taking the championship lead with five points with three rounds to go.

Jerez, and Prost won, then Senna won in Suzuka, meaning Senna had a three point advantage over Prost. In the final round Senna took pole but Prost took the win, but Senna finished second, meaning he took the title. Piquet third.


1. Senna (BRA) - 90/8

2. Prost (FRA) - 87/7

3. Berger (AUT) - 41/1




In 1989 it was Prost's turn to win the title, of course a close battle with Senna, but the McLaren didn't dominate as much, only winning 10 races, with Williams and Ferrari slowly closing the gap.

Dawn of the 3.5 litre atmo F1 saw Nigel Mansell take the first win in Brazil with Prost in second, could Ferrari challenge this season?

Not likely as at the next three races Senna took all of the pole positions, lead every lap and won all of them. He did that twice between 1988-1989.

However in Phoenix thanks to a mechanical for Senna, Prost took the win. In Canada in a very wet race somehow it was a Williams-Renault 1-2, with Boutsen taking the win.

In France and Silverstone it was Prost-Mansell 1-2's, senna failing to finish in both occasions. Was the title already Prost's?

In Germany Senna won but Prost was second, only losing three points to his team-mate. In Hungary after Patrese lost the lead on Lap 52 it looked like Senna would take the win, but no! Mansell overtakes five laps later to take the win, Prost failing to finish.

In Monza, just 20 laps from victory, Senna's engine blew, gifting Prost the victory, who was moving to Ferrari for 1990.

For the first time in 29 races, McLaren didn't lead a lap. Gerhard Berger took a dominant display by winning the Portugese GP from Prost. The title was surely his now?

At Spain Senna took the win, but Prost was third, his advantage at 16 points with two rounds to go.

At Suzuka it was the infamous incident with Prost and Senna at the chicane, but many forget that Nannini won the race, his one and only win in his career. It was here where Prost won the title.

In what where appalling conditions Senna crashed out, gifting Boutsen the lead and the win.


1. Prost (FRA) - 76/4

2. Senna (BRA) - 60/6

3. Patrese (BRA) - 40/0