Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Monza September 8, 1985
The twelfth round of the Formula 1 World Championship in Monza greeted the victory of Alain Prost at the wheel of the McLaren MP4 / 2B - TAG Porsche which, with the nine points of the victory, went 12 points ahead of the second in ranking Michele Alboreto, scoring the road to his first world title. Débâcle for Ferrari who got a poor fifth place with Stefan Johansson. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza held the Lola Beatrice THL1 baptism at the Grand Prix debut with former world champion Alan Jones behind the wheel.
Lola Beatrice THL1 – Hart
Race of the debut at the 1985 Italian Grand Prix for the new Lola-Beatrice THL1 - Hart. The only two cars assembled, chassis 001 and chassis 002, were brought to Monza at the disposal of Alan Jones but the continuous engine's failures on both cars, penalized the Australian champion who qualified in the last row with a time of 10 seconds slower than the pole position. In the race Alan Jones stopped in the pits already on the second lap, having serious doubts about the engine, which promptly broke on lap six at the exit of the parabolica corner. The new car was very traditional and in line with the contemporary single-seater monocoque carbon fibre but with an unusual shape: It was in fact cut on top and had the narrowest sides (130 cm instead of 140) with the flat bottom that protruding from the lower part created a step of 5 centimetres per side. The suspensions were push-rod type and the car used the 4-cylinder Hart Turbo engine mounted in semi-stressed function, waiting for the new V6 Ford turbo unit.
Toleman TG185 - Hart
The Toleman TG 185 were entered to Teo Fabi, the chassis #185/5 and Piercarlo Ghinzani, the chassis #185/4 while the chassis #185/3 had been brought to Monza as a T-car. The single-seater designed by Rory Byrne had the front floor raised of about 3 cm to obtain a divergent shape in order to diverter the air flow and push it outwards and not under the central part of the car. This device allowed to the Toleman cars to be in some occasions very fast despite a fairly poor horsepower engine. In Monza the engine problems for Fabi and the gearbox problems for Ghinzani not allowed the two Italians to qualify better respectively than fifteenth and twenty-first place on the grid. The Ghinzani's race ended before starting because the engine died at the start while Fabi, suffered from a contact that unbalanced his car at the start and after a pit stop to replace a punctured tire, finished in twelfth place.
Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson had at Monza the B version of the Ferrari 156/85, modified in the chassis to accommodate a different front suspensions and a different aerodynamic shape, with the thinning of the rear body to improve the air flow towards the rear wing. Alboreto and Johansson respectively had, the newly constructed frame 156/85B-85 and frame 156/85B-83. The third car brought to Monza was the 156/85B-84 chassis, available as a T-car. The practices were marked by set-up problems that did not allow the tires to be used at best. The fast corners of Monza revealed the big limits of the chassis that led to ruin the tires ahead of time. Alboreto managed to qualify in the fourth row with the seventh fast time and the race was a calvary that culminated with the breaking of the engine, immediately after scoring his fastest lap. This withdrawal in fact definitively ousted Alboreto from the fight for the world title. For Johansson went slightly better, he started with the tenth time and finished in fifth place.
Brabham BT54 - BMW
Nelson Piquet and Marc Surer had respectively the BT54/6 and BT54/8 chassis, while the T-car was the BT54/7. The cars were credited, with the BMW engines in "qualifying" configuration with a larger turbine and the supercharging pressure at 5 bar, of about 1200 horsepower. Some small aerodynamic modifications were introduced at Monza and Piquet completed the first practice session on Friday scoring the provisional pole position. At the end of qualifying Piquet placed his Brabham in fourth place after breaking the "qualifying" turbine and after finding the track inundated with oil. Piquet finished with a great second place despite a pit stop to replace the damaged tires and Surer, ninth in practice, ended a good race in fourth place.
Williams FW10 - Honda
Keke Rosberg, left from the second position on the starting grid, relied on the great power of his Honda V6 turbo engine and taking the lead, staying comfortably, with a small 10 laps break in favor of Alain Prost for the tire change, up to 8 laps from the end when he returned to the pits with the broken Japanese V6. Great disappointment for the Finnish, protagonist throughout the weekend. Nigel Mansell, third in practice in the fourth lap of the race was forced to stop in the pits to repair a loss in the turbo air intake system losing 4 minutes and compromising the race. Mansel ranked eleventh but got the satisfaction of scoring the fastest lap of the race.
Lotus 97T – Renault
With great surprise Ayrton Senna, at the debut on the Monza track got the pole position, the fifth of the season. Supported by a Lotus in perfect condition and by a Renault engine with the right tuning, Senna froze everyone with a time of 1'25'084 obtained despite the exit of the second Lesmo corner had put two wheels on the grass (!). Elio De Angelis, on the other hand, was struggling with the tires for a long time that did not go to temperature and Elio obtained the sixth fast time and the third row of the grid. At the start Senna narrowly missed a disaster risking a collision with Rosberg at the first chicane but at the end, despite the tires problems he managed to get to third place. De Angelis moved up to the third place in the race, but had to settle for a sixth place at the finish after having struggled with tires and engine's problems.
McLaren MP4-2B - TAG Porsche
Niki Lauda at the Dutch Grand Prix announced his second and final retirement from racing. For the Italian Grand Prix McLaren brought the chassis MP4/2B/5, repaired after the damage suffered at the French Grand Prix for Alain Prost which was his usual chassis, Lauda continued to use the MP4/2B/4. Prost qualified in the third row, thanks to a wrong choice of tires while Lauda qualified only in the eighth row because of a not perfectly tuned engine. Alain Prost won the race thanks to the Rosberg' retirement and perfect tires that did not oblige him to stop in the pit for the replacement. For Lauda it was instead a Grand Prix to forget. He was forced to the pits to replace the nose because the left wing collapsed and on lap 33, still stopped in the pits definitively due to strong vibrations from the engine that made the car unmanageable. With the victory Prost consolidated its lead in the standings bringing the gap from Alboreto to 12 points.
Alfa Romeo 184/85T
The Alfa Romeo 185T was a real disaster. After the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort, the 185T was finally abandoned and in Monza were brought three completely different cars. These were the 184T monocoques of the past season that were deeply modified. The 184/85/2 for Riccardo Patrese, the 184/85/3 for Eddie Cheever and the 184/85/1 as a T-car. Patrese and Cheever respectively thirteenth and seventeenth in practice, in the race did not go far; Cheever closed his race on the third lap with a broken turbine and Patrese, stopped in the pits on the lap nine with a front tire punctured and then again in the pits to repair a damaged front brake air intake, at the end he was forced to the final withdrawal on lap 31 with a broken exhaust manifold. After eight years of failures, the air that was breathed in Monza let presage the withdrawal of the Alfa Romeo from Formula 1.
Ligier JS25 – Renault
Hard times for Andrea De Cesaris in Team Ligier after the umpteenth crash (in Austria) in which he had reduced to a wreck another car of patron Guy. At Monza De Cesaris was left on foot and his place to support Jacques Laffite was taken by Philippe Streiff. Laffite had the lightened JS25/5 chassis while Steiff used the JS25/3. Tenth row for the two Ligier at the start of the Grand Prix and at the end only Streiff saw the finish line in tenth place while Laffite had to abandon the race on lap forty with a broken engine.
Tyrrell 014 – Renault
The Tyrrell team showed up in Monza only with Marti Brundle and wrapped in an atmosphere of enormous sadness because the Sunday before the Italian Grand Prix the team had to suffer the loss of its driver Stefan Bellof, who died at Spa during the 1000 Km. In Monza available to Martin Brundle was brought a new chassis, the 014/3 while the 014/1 was available as a T-car. The new car had a new rear hubs and some changes to the sidepods that were shorter with smaller radiators. Brundle qualified with the eighteenth fast time and reached the eighth place at the finish.
RAM 03 – Hart
The RAM 03 was a single-seater designed by Gustav Brunner and was very well built. The chassis was very good but the weak point was the 4 cylinder Turbo Hart engine that often left the drivers on foot. The season started with Manfred Winkelhock and Philippe Alliot. Unfortunately, Winkelhock lost his life on 11 August in Mosport in an accident while driving a Porsche 962 and this was a real disaster for the team because he lost one of his point of reference. Starting with the Austrian Grand Prix, Alliot was joined by Kenny Acheson. The RAM 03 cars at Monza were 3, the chassis 03/4 for Alliot, the chassis 03/2 for Acheson and the chassis 03/3 as a T-car. Despite being equipped with the latest version of the engine, supplied with a larger Holsett turbine, both drivers qualified at the back of the grid. In the race the first to retire was Acheson, already on the third lap with a broken gearbox. Alliot was stopped by an engine failure on lap 19.
The Renault RE60 was the last Formula 1 car for the French company that, starting from the following year became only engines supplier. The cars, brought to Monza in B configuration, were the RE60B/6 for Partick Tambay, the RE60B/3 for Derek Warwick and the new chassis RE60B/8 as a t-car. During the practice on Friday, Tambay was forced to cross on a curb at the second Lesmo corner and the contact with the bottom of the car was so hard that the monocoque was damaged by forcing the Frenchman to use the T-car. Tambay and Warwick, eighth and twelfth at the start were the protagonists of a colorless race. Warwick broke the transmission on the ninth lap and Tambay finished seventh, behind both Lotus that used the same engine.
Arrows A8 - BMW
Thierry Boutsen and Gerhard Berger were the drivers of the Arrows Team. Of the three cars taken to Monza, Boutsen had the one with the new chassis. All the week-end was marked by the same handling problems, to which some engine problems were added, and that did not allow Berger and Boutsen to go further to the eleventh and fourteenth fast time respectively. Only ninth place for Boutsen in the race and a broken differential for Berger on lap thirteen.