Expectations were running high for Senna’s McLaren debut, equipped with the same Honda engines as the Williams and Lotus, but with an overall set up that could keep him going fast for the entire race.
During qualifying sessions, Senna did not disappoint and won the pole position for the 17th time in his career, starting in front of drivers like Nigel Mansell (Williams), Alain Prost (McLaren), Gerhard Berger (Ferrari), Nelson Piquet (Lotus) and Michele Alboreto (Ferrari). It was Senna’s first pole position on the Brazilian ground. Maurício Gugelmin was also making his debut in Rio de Janeiro, but he wouldn’t run for more than 20 meters after the start of the race.
During warm-ups, on an overcast Sunday morning, Ayrton Senna was once again the fastest driver, which brought much confidence and hope for a potential Brazilian victory. The packed Jacarepaguá Autodrome went wild when the cars began to line up on the grid.
But as soon as he placed his car in the front row, the driver realized that there was a problem with the gearbox. He returned quickly to the boxes, changed cars, and started from there, in the last position. He went flying. But the team failed to warn Ayrton that this maneuver was subject to penalties – and the race officials themselves waited 30 laps to rule on the procedure.
A. de Cesaris
final position (retired on lap 31)
position in championship following the race
championship points accumulated
Obviously, it’s a big disappointment.