The 1990 Formula One Season was the 41st annual running of the Formula One World Championship. It began on March 11 with the 1990 United States Grand Prix and ended in Australia on November 4 after 16 races.
Regulation Changes Edit
The major regulation overhaul of 1989 to which cars were now mandatory to run 3.5L atmospheric engines had proven to be a huge success. The increased popularity of Formula One had stimulated Bernie Ecclestone to find ways to improve the television coverage of the racing action. On-board cameras had now been made mandatory on the racing cars and to compensate for this added weight, the minimum weight of the cars had been increased to 505 kilograms.
However Gerhard Berger's terrifying accident at Imola in 1989 had reminded everyone that being caught in a fireball remained a very real risk in Formula One cars. As a result, FISA had decreed that all cars would have an increased cockpit size as well as a newly designed quick release steering wheel. These were all designed so that drivers could exit the car within six seconds in case of an emergency.
However in the case where the driver is incapacited, such as was the case for Berger's fiery accident, FISA had now made it mandatory that all marshalls and medical staff were well practiced at driver extraction from their vehicle.
FISA had also taken extra precautions in accident prevention by making large mirrors mandatory on all cars. The larger mirrors would provide extra visibility for the drivers whilst on-track. There had also been improvements to the structure of the roll bar in the case of a driver rolling his car in an accident.
There had been much debate in the off-season as to whether pre-qualifying should be scrapped. The effected teams, Larrousse, Osella, AGS, Coloni, EuroBrun and Life all campaigned fiercely to have the system scrapped. However FISA had opted not to remove the pre-qualifying rule for the 1990 season. It had been deemed, not only a form of entertainment for spectators but also a hazardous risk to have the slowest teams compete in the main grand prix event.
Calendar Changes Edit
The grand prix calendar remained largely the same for 1990, albeit with a few small adjustments. The United States Grand Prix that was held at the Phoenix Street Circuit in Arizona had been criticized for being held during the middle of the state's scorching hot summer. Subsequently, the race was moved from its position in June to be held during the city's more mildly weathered spring during March. Phoenix would therefore be the first venue on the calendar for the 1990 season. The Canadian Grand Prix was now held ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix in response to the calendar change of the United States Grand Prix.
The Brazilian Grand Prix remained on the calendar, however for the first time since 1982 it would not serve as the season opening grand prix. The Jacarepaguá Circuit was removed from the calendar, instead the Brazilian Grand Prix would be hosted at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace for the first time since 1980.
The track had undergone a $15 million renovation which had saw the circuit be significantly shortened and redesigned. The rise and popularity of Ayrton Senna in his home country of Brazil had prompted a return to the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, held in Senna's home city of São Paulo.
Driver Changes Edit
Exiting Formula One from 1989Edit
- After a continuous decline in his personal performances as well as citing a lack of enjoyment from the atmospheric engines, the Formula One veteran René Arnoux had lost his seat at Ligier to which he subsequently announced his retirement from motorsport.
- Despite being offered to continue as a race driver for 1990, Martin Brundle opted to leave Brabham and Formula One to return to the World Sportscar Championship. Brundle, whom was not interested in racing in the midfield opted to return to a series where he had won the championship in 1988.
- Despite a string of midfield successes for Arrows in fighting in the midfield, Eddie Cheever, had grown tired of a lack of successful opportunities and opted to return to his homeland in the United States, hoping to find a more competitive race seat in racing for Chip Ganassi in the CART series.
- Following the dissolution of the Rial team, Christian Danner was left without a drive and thereafter moved to Japanese Formula 3000 as well as returning to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft.
- After failing to pre-qualify for all but three events in 1989, Piercarlo Ghinzani ended his long standing partnership with Osella and decided to retire from motorsport at the end of the season.
- After a very disappointing season in which he had been dominated by both Michele Alboreto and Jean Alesi, Jonathan Palmer had lost his drive at Tyrrell. However he would gain some consolation in signing as McLaren-Honda's test and reserve driver for the 1990 season.
- After being consistently dominated by teammate Pierluigi Martini, Luis Pérez-Sala had subsequently lost his drive at Minardi and was out of Formula One. He thereafter would move to the World Sportscar Championship for 1990.
- Following the dissolution of the Rial team, Pierre-Henri Raphanel was left without a drive and therefore moved into the World Sportscar Championship
- After being drafted in to complete the end of season for Coloni, Enrico Bertaggia had failed to pre-qualify for any of the rounds he had participated in and was subsequently dropped for 1990. He would thereafter move into Japanese Formula 3000.
- After making a return to EuroBrun for the end of the 1989 season, Oscar Larrauri had failed to pre-qualify for any of the round he participated in and was subsequently dropped for 1990. He would thereafter move into Japanese Formula 3000.
Debutants for 1990Edit
Moved seats for 1990Edit
- Alain Prost and Gerhard Berger, who were McLaren and Ferrari drivers respectively last year, swapped teams for the 1990 season.
- Both Lotus drivers Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima left the team to join Benetton and Tyrrell respectively.
- Michele Alboreto joined the Arrows team after a disappointing season with Larrousse.
Entry List Edit
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