Brazilian Grand Prix – 1992

Back

Ayrton Senna was anticipating his most difficult year at McLaren since he signed with them in 1988. The Brazilian Grand Prix would be the debut race for his new car. Even considering weak performances in the shakedown tests, there was hope for improvement.

But it wasn’t a pleasant surprise, as the driver himself would recount after the race:

“I began changing the suspension adjustments in the qualifying. The car became stiff, lost its grip and the wheels spent more time in the air than on the ground. The engine failed and I only had time to practice on a full tank during warm ups. Securing a third place start was very hard. In the race, I realized that Williams cars were truly superior and, as it was impossible to prevent Mansell from winning, I settled in behind them. However, on the fourth lap, I had engine trouble. It cut out suddenly and in full straights, at 250 km/h (155 mph), as if I had taken my foot off the gas. I thought it was an electronic failure and turned off the ignition. Since everything is computerized, turning the car off is like rebooting the computer. If the problem lied with the program, it would be fixed. I did this twice to no avail. Then I reduced the engine’s rotations on the stick shift and altered the gas mixture, but the problem continued. It was really dangerous to be driving under these conditions. In fifth gear and over a roughness on the track surface, the car could suddenly change course without me knowing where it was going. Therefore, I decided to retire from the race and wait for the active suspension promised me for the Spanish Grand Prix.”

Ayrton Senna. Interlagos, April 6, 1992.

Race Summary

  • 1 N. Mansell
  • 2 R. Patrese
  • 3 Ayrton Senna
  • 4 G. Berger
  • 5 M. Schumacher
  • 6 J. Alesi
  • 7 M. Brundle
  • 8 P. Martini
  • 9 K. Wendlinger
  • 10 T. Boutsen
  • 11 I. Capelli
  • 12 S. Modena
  • 13 A. de Cesaris
  • 14 M. Alboreto
  • 15 E. Comas
  • 16 J. Lehto
  • 17 O. Grouillard
  • 18 B. Gachot
  • 19 G. Tarquini
  • 20 C. Fittipaldi
  • 21 M. Gugelmin
  • 22 A. Suzuki
  • 23 G. Morbidelli
  • 24 M. Hakkinen
  • 25 U. Katayama
  • 26 J. Herbert
Turns 71
Time Ensolarado
Fastest lap R. Patrese - 1´19´´490
Podium 1º N. Mansell 2º R. Patrese 3º M. Schumacher
Cars 26
Leaving 16

Senna in race

Starting position 3
Final position Abandonou (17º volta)
Best lap 1’23’’101
Points added to the Championship -
Championship position after the race 5
What did he say after the race
"It was really dangerous to be driving under these conditions. In fifth gear and over a roughness on the track surface, the car could suddenly change course without me knowing where it was going. Therefore, I decided to retire from the race and wait for the active suspension promised me for the Spanish Grand Prix.”