Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Monza September 11, 1988
1988 was the last year of turbocharged engines in Formula 1. Since 1989 all cars would have been equipped with naturally aspirated engines. The 1988 Italian Grand Prix, twelfth round of the world championship, took place on 11 September at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. The championship was dominated by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost's McLaren Mp4/4, who came to Monza at the top of the standings with 75 and 72 points respectively, fighting for the championship. The third in the standings, Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger, was at 28 points. In the constructors' classification, the McLaren team was in the lead with 147 points, with the title already mathematically won. The Ferrari team was second at 44 points. Also in Monza, the McLaren MP4/4 powered Honda turbos were the fastest of all. Senna took pole position, Prost was second. Berger and Alboreto were third and fourth, followed by the two Megatron turbo powered Arrows, driven by Eddie Cheever and Derek Warwick. First among the naturally aspirated engines was the Belgian Thierry Boutsen, behind the wheel of the Benetton B188, powered by Ford Cosworth DFR, who qualified with the eighth time.
At the start Senna took the lead braked last at the first chicane, followed by teammate Alain Prost, who had had the best acceleration, the two Ferrari of Berger and Alboreto and the Arrows of Eddie Cheever. The Belgian Thierry Boutsen, first among the non-turbo engines, moved to sixth place. Aside from the comeback of Derek Warwick, who started badly and the fight in the center of the group between Patrese, Capelli, and Piquet, the race also seemed too quiet. Prost thought about waking up the audience, when on lap 31 he slowed down with engine problems. On lap 36 Berger moved to second place and Prost returned to the pits and retired. At lap 49 Senna, was preparing to double the Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser at the first chicane. The two drivers did not understand each other, the French delayed the braking, the Brazilian came along and the two cars came into contact. End of the race for Senna who gave the victory to Berger, as the previous year he gave it to Piquet.
The Ferrari F1-87 / 88C, was the evolution of the previous model in fact, waiting for the new car with the naturally aspirated engine for 1989, Ferrari did not make a new car for 1988, simply developing the F1 87 of the past year. Third and fourth position in practice for Ferrari drivers Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto, who managed not to lose contact with McLaren "rockets" even in the race. A few minutes before the start, Berger, due to a failure in the accelerator cable, preferred to leave his car and start with the T-car.
McLaren MP4/4 – Honda
Tenth pole position of the season for the Brazilian driver. Monza will remain the only Grand Prix not won by McLaren in 1988. Two laps from the end Senna who was leading the race with three second lead over Berger, ended up spinning at the first chicane, due to a misunderstanding during the dubbing by Jean-Louis Schlesser, thus giving Ferrari the victory. Alain Prost was unable to keep up with his Brazilian teammate all weekend. His race lasted until lap 31 when he suddenly slowed down due to engine problems that brought him to the pits for the final withdrawal on lap 36. The McLaren Mp4/4, equipped with the Honda RA168-E turbo engine, allowed Ayrton Senna to win his first world championship.
March 881 - Judd
Only eleventh in practice Ivan Capelli, while his teammate, the Brazilian Mauricio Gugelmin, qualified thirteenth. Capelli's race was very good and ended in fifth place, first among the cars with naturally aspirated engines. The car, designed by Adrian Newey, had John Judd's V8 engine and sophisticated aerodynamics that made it very comfortable on fast circuits.
Benetton B188 - Ford DFR
The Benetton B188, designed by Rory Byrne was exclusively equipped with the 3.5-liter Ford Cosworth DFR. At Monza Thierry Boutsen was eighth in practice, being the fastest among the non-turbo engines and his teammate, the Italian Alessandro Nannini ninth. In the race, the Belgian finished sixth and the Italian finished ninth.
Lotus 100T - Honda
Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima had a Lotus in Monza that was certainly not in the best condition. The Brazilian in practice was only seventh and the Japanese twelfth. The Lotus T100, designed by Gérard Ducarouge and equipped with the Honda turbo engine, was plagued by major balance problems and was not competitive at all. In the race Nelson Piquet on the eleventh lap was the author of an off-track at the first chicane caused by a failure in the clutch while Nakajima stopped with the engine broken on the fourteenth lap.
Williams FW12 – Judd
Nigel Mansell, sick, had to give up the Italian Grand Prix and his place was taken by the French debutant Jean-Louis Schlesser who became the involuntary "key man" of the race. For the Williams team, 1988 was a year of transition, after abandoning the Honda turbo engine and preparing to use the aspirated Renault engine for 1989. The Williams FW012 was equipped with the 3.5-liter V8 Judd. In practice Riccardo Patrese obtained tenth place and ended the race seventh.
Lola LC88 - Ford DFZ
The team drivers, the French Philippe Alliot and Yannik Dalmas, at Monza had to struggle with a single-seater that was not at all suitable for fast tracks and despite the fact that Alliot had used in practice an experimental engine prepared by Heini Mader, credited with 15 HP more than the standard version, always prepared by Mader, did not go beyond the twentieth position on the starting grid.
Ligier JS31 - Judd
The car designed by Michel Tétu was equipped with the V8 Judd and had a rather strange monocoque. The engine was located just behind the driver's shoulders and had two tanks arranged along the sides plus a third tank located between the engine and gearbox. This arrangement of the fuel caused several problems with the pipes. The Frenchman Renè Arnoux in practice was twenty-fourth and a drop in fuel pressure prevented him from improving. Swede Stefan Johansson was unable to qualify. In the race Arnoux took the car to a tiring thirteenth and last place.
Tyrrell 017 - Ford DFZ
The British Julian Bailey and Jonathan Palmer were two other drivers who, throughout the season, were struggling with an uncompetitive single-seater. The Tyrrell 017, powered by the Ford Cosworth DFZ, was designed by Maurice Philippe. In Monza Jonathan Palmer did not qualify while Julian Bailey snatched the last position on the grid and finished twelfth in the race.