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.
A. de Cesaris
Championship position after the race
Points added to the Championship
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.