The 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Hungaroring on 16 August 1992. It was the eleventh round of the 1992 Formula One season. Nigel Mansell clinched the Drivers' Championship by finishing the race in second position, behind McLaren's Ayrton Senna.
After taking his eighth victory of the season at Hockenheim, Mansell needed only to finish in third position to take his first world championship victory in Hungary. Following the race in Hockenheim, Mansell returned to England to continue his negotiations with Frank Williams for the renewal of his Williams contract for the 1993 season. However as the team's arrived in Hungary, Mansell still did not have a decision to be made over his future. Whilst it had not been confirmed, the worst kept secret in Formula One was that Alain Prost would be returning to the grid in 1993 with the Williams team. Mansell, well aware of his acrimonious relationship with Prost at Ferrari was uncomfortable of going for a second round with Prost at Williams. In his negotiations, Mansell demanded a salary of $23 000 000 as well as number one status in the team if he was to remain racing alongside Prost in the team.
Whilst Mansell was hesitant to renew his contract, Ayrton Senna was desperately trying to negotiate a deal with Williams. He had confirmed to James Hunt of the BBC that he was willing to sign without a retainer in order to get the best car on the grid. After conceding the title fight in Silverstone, Senna had announced he was no longer willing to risk his life fighting for third or fourth place. However in Germany, the great Brazilian was seen fighting tooth and nail with the Williams cars before he claimed his eventual second position. His determined defensive driving had forced both Mansell and Patrese in much superior cars into costly mistakes. Mansell risked a repeat of his race ending mistake in Canada when an impulsive maneuver at the Ostkurve nearly ended his race. Patrese, likewise struggled in getting past Senna and then on the final lap he threw away a third place when he spun out of a race in a final desperate attempt to overtake Senna.
Ferrari had been having a dismal 1992, their F92A chassis had been a total failure. However the team were looking for a brighter future having recruited John Barnard back to the team for the 1993 season. Barnard had been working with Toyota, however when the manufacturer had abandoned a plan to enter into Formula One in the near future, Barnard had parted ways with the company. Barnard would instead be charged with restructuring a failing Ferrari team that had in recent years been falling into turmoil. The team's young star, Jean Alesi, who despite a poor car had driven well beyond the F92A's capability throughout the season. With the return of John Barnard, Alesi was confirmed to stay at Ferrari for the following season. The team were hoping to secure the services of Ayrton Senna in the second seat, however Senna remained unconvinced that the Ferrari team would immediately be capable of winning races at the beginning of the 1993 season. Ivan Capelli who currently drove in Ferrari's seat for 1993 was looking unlikely to be retained for the new year.
The March team confirmed that the Hungarian Grand Prix would be the last race for Paul Belmondo at the team. Belmondo had ran out of finances for him to complete the season with the team and for the remainder of the season would be replaced by the better financed Emanuele Naspetti.
Eric van de Poele had opted to leave the ailing Brabham team, bringing his finances instead to the Fondmetal team. Fondmetal was another team struggling financially, however their car at the hands of Gabriele Tarquini had occasionally been able to produce some encouraging results. The team's second driver, Andrea Chiesa had rarely performed and had opted to sack Chiesa in place of the better financed and better performing Van de Poele.
The BMS Scuderia Italia announced they would be ending their long standing partnership with the Dallara manufacturer. After five seasons of partnership with Dallara in Formula One, the team had seen little success apart from two lone podium finishes in 1989 and 1991. After continued friction in 1992, Scuderia Italia opted to end their partnership with Dallara for the future. Instead the team announced a new partnership with Lola Cars for 1993. The team would continue to use Ferrari engines, however their cars would now be manufactured by Lola instead of Dallara. Lola had originally planned to enter their own works team for 1993, however they opted instead to enter the partnership with Scuderia Italia after a lack of a secure budget prevented the works entry from happening.
The latest FISA meeting at Hockenheim had also decreed that pump fuel will become mandatory by the start of the 1994 season. Ahead of the 1993 season, FISA had also announced that tyre manufacturers must be able to supply tyres for the minimum proportion of teams ahead of the new season. The rear tyres would also be reduced by three inches for the 1993 season. These changes were designed to help the racing become more competitive in the new season and also to enhance the competition of the smaller teams in Formula One.
The full entry list for the 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix is outlined below:
Friday Practice Edit
Williams encountered an unusually troubled start to the weekend. Mansell had completed three laps during the practice before pulling into the pits with a dead engine. Peter Windsor, the Williams team manager attributed the failure as being an electrical problem. Patrese, likewise was grounded in the pits for most of the session, however towards the session end, he entered the track and set a lap time that broke the previous year's lap record of the circuit. Mansell had dropped to fourth fastest, both the McLaren cars of Senna and Berger were both able to run faster due to Mansell's misfortune. Berger notably running faster than teammate Senna. Following these drivers in the times were Schumacher, Brundle, Tarquini, Gachot, Capelli and Wendlinger.
The Hungaroring, a notoriously difficult circuit known for its lack of overtaking opportunities and its incredibly bumpy surface had seen a resurface of the track in a bid to eliminate some of the bumps on the circuit.The resurface of the Hungaroring did very little to improve the quality of the surface, in fact many of the drivers were claiming that the new track surface instead only succeeded in enhancing the bumps, making it even more treachorous than before.
Friday Qualifying Edit
Mansell had demonstrated a vast improvement after his disastrous morning practice, where he typically set the intial pace of the session. However, most unexpectedly, when teammate Patrese entered the circuit, he blitzed Mansell's time with a 1:15.476. At the close of the first quarter of the session, Patrese led Mansell by two tenths whilst a further three seconds adrift was Schumacher's Benetton and then Capelli's Ferrari. Capelli notably had been running faster than teammate Alesi throughout the morning session.
In the first part of the session, Alboreto pulled his Footwork off the circuit with mechanical failure whilst Zanardi's Minardi spun off the circuit, forcing him out of the session. The red flag was then brought out when Wendlinger had beached his March on the inside of turn two. Shortly before Wendlinger's incident, Senna had managed to put his McLaren into third place. Following Capelli in fifth place were Brundle, Comas, Herbert, Häkkinen, Gachot, Wendlinger, Modena, Boutsen, Belmondo, Grouillard, Suzuki, Moreno, Morbidelli and Zanardi.
The Jordan cars were running more competitively, upon the restart of the session, Gugelmin pushed his car into the top ten. Modena was also running competitively, only a couple of tenths down on his teammate. At the front, Mansell had began to feel the pressure by the sudden increase in competitiveness from his teammate. He pushed hard, however continued to find he could not match Patrese's time. Increasingly rattled, Mansell spun off at the second corner where he nearly beached his car. However luckily Mansell managed to get his car running, only on his next fast lap to be blocked by Wendlinger's March at turn eleven.
Turn one was providing problems for some drivers, Herbert had spun his Lotus, however luckily was able to keep going. Van de Poele in his first race for Fondmetal also spun at the first corner whilst avoiding Hill, his former Brabham teammate. Zanardi, now in the spare car would once again have a spin at turn eleven. Once again he would be bogged in the gravel. As he exited the car, he could be seen angrily shaking his fist. Zanardi attributed the cause of his spin to Herbert's Lotus whom he believed had blocked him. The McLaren's who were still desperately trying to chase down the Williams times also encountered off track moments. Senna ran wide at turn six, entering the gravel where he spun back onto the circuit. Luckily he avoided the barriers, however teammate Berger had a major spin at turn fourteen where he would become beached in the gravel. In the final moments of the session, the final spinner came from the Fondmetal of Tarquini who beached his car in the gravel at turn fourteen.
At the close of the session Patrese led Mansell, Senna, Schumacher, Berger, Boutsen, Brundle, Comas, Capelli, Alesi, Herbert, Tarquini, Häkkinen, Gachot, De Cesaris, Katayama, Gugelmin, Alboreto, Modena, Suzuki, Wendlinger, Grouillard, Van de Poele, Zanardi, Belmondo and Morbidelli. Sitting in the non-qualifying zone were Moreno, Lehto, Hill and Martini.
Saturday Practice Edit
Friday had seen very warm temperatures at around 35 ° celsius, however by Saturday, the temperatures were sitting at only the mid 20's ° . The drop in temperature also saw a reduction of grip on the circuit, Martin Brundle having stated to the media in the middle of the session that there was absolutely no grip anywhere on the circuit. The team's being baffled by the loss of grip on the circuit. Mansell further confirming the conditions, noting the circuit was okay on full fuel tanks, however running the car on low fuel was problematic for the circuit. Patrese continued to lap well, once again he was proving to be faster than Mansell during the session.
Gachot's Venturi-Larrousse impressed to finish the session seventh in the standings. Notably absent from the practice session was the Brabham team. Their driver of Damon Hill was absent from the circuit, the team unwilling to comment on the reasons for their non-participation, however concerns for the car's reliability suggested the team were concentrating on focussing on the qualifying session.
Saturday Qualifying Edit
After a number of problems for Mansell throughout Friday, Patrese had for the first time truely appeared to have the advantage over his teammate. A fan banner in the grandstands read 'Per fortuna le Patrese', Williams's second driver finally looking truely competitive in 1992. However the question remained on whether Patrese could maintain his Friday form after Mansell's ill woes had been fixed.
In the changing track conditions, Patrese appeared the best to be able to adapt to the conditions during the morning session. Mansell had entered the track first, however his immediate times were not running close to Patrese's Friday best. Patrese, whilst still slower than the previous day had managed to put in better times than Mansell. Mansell continued to push, taking evasive action at turn fourteen to avoid a spinning Jordan of Modena.
The conditions were providing trickier than the previous day, however there were improvements to be made in the day. Schumacher and Alesi became the first cars to improve their times over the Friday session, however neither driver had yet improved their grid position. Alesi had slightly been held up by De Cesaris's Tyrrell, however on his next lap he managed to move ahead of teammate Capelli on the time sheets.
Hill hampered his chances to qualify when a front left suspension failure pitched his Brabham into the barriers. Moreno who was battling his Andrea Moda also had a big spin at turn two, however he was luckily able to continue. Zanardi, would once again have a spin whilst Gugelmin's Jordan had a big spin at turn three.
The Hungaroring which was notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities was making it difficult for many of the leaders to move through the traffic and set a fast time. Brundle was the first of the front runners to make a placing improvement, setting a time to move to sixth ahead of Boutsen's Ligier. A lap later, Brundle had a huge spin at the exit of turn seven.
Capelli then put in a strong lap to move into seventh position, however he was shortly thereafter displaced by Alboreto's Footwork. Belmondo who was competing in his last race for March put in a time to move into seventeenth place, moving ahead of Wendlinger who had been having a torrid weekend at the Hungaroring.
The Venturi-Larrousse team were hopeful of a substantial improvement after Gachot had advanced to seventh in the timings during the morning session, however Gachot had failed to make any significant improvement. Hill who was now in the second car after his earlier crash had improved his time to move into twenty fifth position. Despite not participating in the morning practice, Hill looked on course for qualifying for the race.
Among the front runners, Schumacher was on set for an incredibly quick lap time. He was running only slightly off the pace of the Williams cars, however as he exited the turn nine chicane, he lost control of the car and spun, ruining the lap time. Meanwhile the third place runner of Senna had a lap ruined by the notorious Grouillard who cut him off in the entrance to the first corner. Immediately thereafter Grouillard ran wide into the grass, outbraking himself into the third corner. Herbert who had been having a number of spins through, completed yet another in the closing moments of the session.
In the final moments of the session, Berger had a huge spin at the exit of turn seven. The Footwork of Suzuki who was following him made the same mistake, as Suzuki spun, Herbert in the Lotus was forced to take evasive action where he too would spin at the corner. The three cars had stalled their engines prompting the red flags to be brought out.
Mansell had continuously tried to unseat teammate Patrese from the pole position to no avail. He had managed to improve his personal best in the closing moments of the session, however it was still not enough. Then shortly before the red flags were brought out, a mechanical failure forced his Williams to ground to a halt. It had been an incredibly difficult weekend for Mansell. The Williams FW14B demonstrating a rare case of reliability weakness throughout the weekend. Whilst he still started from second on the grid and a fourth place finish being enough to secure his first world title, there was now some serious concern that he may not be able to secure the title at Hungary due to the constant mechanical woes on his car.
Interestingly during the warm-up, the two McLaren's of Senna and Berger led the timesheets at the end of the session. Mansell was third fastest, whilst pole sitter Patrese who had up until this point led the weekend could only manage the sixth fastest time.
The Hungaroring had proved incredibly difficult for all the drivers throughout the weekend. The resurfaced track had not improved the bumps on the circuit and had in fact made it even more challenging for the drivers. The kerbs on the track were also made lower than they had been in previous years. This had meant drivers were making greater risk in cutting the corners of the circuit. As a consequence, more dust and dirt was being thrown onto the racing line adding to a greater challenge on racing at the circuit.
Patrese had his best chance of taking a victory in 1992 at the Hungaroring. He had qualified on pole position and in the last three races had been faster off the line than teammate Mansell. However the cynics remained doubtful, memories of Patrese constantly ruining his pole positions the previous season with slow starts would come to mind. Patrese, however was promising no favours to Mansell and would attack for the race win. McLaren looked quicker in the warm-up, however the Hungaroring was notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities. The start would be critical for the drivers. Senna would take a gamble in taking the D-compound softer tyres in the hope of attacking the Williams cars at the start who starting on the harder C-compound tyres. Schumacher from fourth place, considered a mix of hard and soft tyres on his car. However he ultimately switched to a fully C-compound set-up like his teammate Brundle.
Patrese had made a strong start and forced Mansell deep into the inside line of the first corner. Mansell missing the apex was forced to brake early and the two McLaren cars of Senna and Berger were able to sweep around from the outside to move past Mansell. Further back there was chaos, the two Ligier's of Boutsen and Comas, as well as Herbert's Lotus and Tarquini's Fondmetal all collided bringing an end to their weekend. Two laps later, the second Fondmetal car of Van de Poele in his first race for the team spun into the gravel at turn four to retire.
Patrese began to sprint away into the lead whilst the two McLaren cars of Senna and Berger maintained the second and third positions. Mansell was driving conservatively after his slow start and had backed right off. The Benetton cars of Schumacher and Brundle were snapping at his heels, however Mansell's car performance advantage allowed him to maintain the gap. Knowing he only needed to score four points to win the championship, he continued to drive cautiously. Behind the two Benettons came Alboreto, Alesi, Capelli and Häkkinen.
However over the course of the opening laps, Mansell began to close on the McLaren cars ahead of him. On the fifth lap, Berger had a poor exit out of the final corner allowing Mansell to attack down the inside of the main straight. Heading into the first corner, Mansell took third place and moved into a championship winning position. Behind this fight, Schumacher had ran wide at the turn eight and nine chicane, this provided teammate Brundle with a run around the outside at turn seven. However aggressive defending from Schumacher saw him force his teammate out wide at turn eight and to concede his attack.
Mansell began to close on Senna and ever loomed behind his McLaren rival. He attempted the same maneuver on Senna as he done on Berger a few laps previously, however Senna moved his car right and shut the door on Mansell. Whilst Patrese had extended a 20 second lead over second placed Senna, the McLaren leader was controlling proceedings from second place with Mansell, Berger, Schumacher and Brundle queued behind him.
Lap fourteen would see a number of incidents afflict the field. In the midfield, Suzuki's Footwork made an aggressive lunge at Gachot's Venturi at turn three, only to collide with Gachot's left rear wheel. The two cars slid off the circuit, Suzuki spun his car and stalled whilst Gachot was forced to limp back to the pits to retire. Later on in the same lap, approaching turn thirteen the cars of Modena, Wendlinger and Grouillard all crashed together and were out of the race. As this occurred, at the first corner, Alesi's Ferrari who was being chased hard by Häkkinen's Lotus ran wide and spun into the gravel forcing him into retirement.
The number of incidents across the track, prompted Roland Bruynseraede, the Race Director to bring out the safety car. However, the marshalls had worked quickly to remove the stricken cars around the circuit, and just before the safety car entered the track, Bruynseraede recanted his decision to bring out the safety car.
There was obvious confusion among the television broadcasters on whether the safety car was to enter the track, marshalls could be seen visibly waving the 'SC' board signalling a safety car, only for it to not appear from the pits. The drivers unused to such a procedure, continued to press on hard. Patrese lapped the cars of Belmondo, Hill and Martini in daring style, whilst Mansell continued to apply the pressure to Senna's McLaren. There appeared to be no such evidence of the safety car coming to track.
Senna was temporarily able to clear Mansell, after lapping Martini's Dallara, Senna began to pull away as Mansell became stuck behind the Dallara driver. Mansell furiously waved his fist at Martini after being stuck behind him for nearly half a lap. Martini continued to be troublesome to overtake for the remaining train of leaders that were following Senna. For his misdemeanor in holding up the leaders, Martini would be given a stop go penalty on lap 30.
As the leaders slowed in the traffic, this allowed Häkkinen to close in on the chasing pack behind Senna. Häkkinen wasted no time in attacking and passing the Benetton of Brundle for sixth position. Over the following few laps, Brundle would attack aggressively to reclaim sixth from the Lotus, however Häkkinen kept calm and continued to hold the position.
As Patrese dominated in the lead, Mansell continued to hound the mirrors of Senna's McLaren. Lap after lap, Mansell would look for an opening heading into the first corner, however each time Mansell pried, Senna would stand his ground and move to defend his position. A frustrated Mansell was clearly much faster, in his chase to past Senna he had broken the lap record yet could find no way past his Brazilian rival. On lap 32, Mansell ran wide at turn fifteen allowing Berger to sneak through and take third position. As this occurred, Brundle retook sixth from Häkkinen and then a lap later he had forced his way past teammate Schumacher for fifth position.
Berger did not remain in third for long, after being slightly held up by the battling backmarkers of Gugelmin and De Cesaris, Mansell got a good exit through the final corner and dived aggressively down the inside of Berger in the approach to the first corner. Mansell had reclaimed third place, however in his battle with Berger, Mansell had lost five seconds to Senna.
Meanwhile Patrese who held a 27 second lead to Senna in second, then made a crucial mistake heading into turn three. He ran wide and spun into the sand trap, his car became bogged down in the trap, however with the assistance of two marshalls he was able to exit the trap and rejoin the race. However he had thrown away a certain first race win of the season and had dropped down to seventh place. Senna therefore became the new race leader, whilst Mansell now assured of the world championship with a second place finish opted to not continue challenging Senna and instead managed the gap to Berger behind him. The Benetton's continued to battle, Schumacher having repassed teammmate Brundle.
Among the midfield, Katayama suffered an engine failure whilst Martini pulled off the circuit with an engine failure. De Cesaris would have a number of off track excursions, however he was able to continue despite his numerous spins. More significantly, Patrese who was closing on Häkkinen's Lotus after his earlier mistake, then suffered an engine failure which forced him into the pits and into retirement.
On lap 61, there was a sudden concern that Mansell had suffered a slow puncture, Williams opting to bring their leader into the pits for a precautionary stop. He exited the pits in sixth position behind Berger, Schumacher, Brundle and Häkkinen. Mansell would need to fight back into third position if he was to take the world title in Hungary.
Whilst Senna was now dominating the race, Berger led the two Benetton cars of Schumacher and Brundle who remained hot on his heels. On lap 62, Schumacher locked up in the approach to turn thirteen and was rammed from behind by teammate Brundle. This destabilised his rear wing and at the beginning of the following lap, Schumacher's rear wing flew off his car causing Schumacher to spin out of control and land in the gravel trap.
With Schumacher now out of the race, Mansell now only needed to overtake two cars to win the championship. He had quickly closed up on Häkkinen who was looming behind Berger and Brundle. His fresher tyres and superior car was giving Mansell a huge advantage and a lap after Schumacher's retirement he had attacked and passed Häkkinen into turn three. On the following lap, Mansell attacked and passed Brundle down the main straight whilst the Benetton was lapping Gugelmin's Jordan.
In response to this, McLaren brought Senna in for a precautionary pit stop. After only 6.3 seconds, Senna returned to the track and into the lead of the race. Berger would prove more difficult for Mansell to pass, after two successive attempts down the main straight, on his third try, Mansell moved past Berger to move into second place at the first corner. As Mansell quickly began to pull away, Brundle continued to challenge Berger's McLaren whilst looming in the background was Häkkinen's Lotus.
In the closing laps, Brundle had a major lock up approaching the turn eight and nine chicane and nearly ran into the back of Berger's McLaren. Thereafter Brundle appeared to lose confidence in his car and with five laps to go, Häkkinen moved past into fourth, the Finn attacking the Benetton driver around the outside of the first corner. Brundle would stick close to Häkkinen's rear, on the final lap he once again lost control of his car into the turn eight and nine chicane and bounced across the gravel trap. He would continue to finish fifth place, however he would be forced to concede the fourth position to Häkkinen's Lotus.
Meanwhile up front, Senna had managed the pace at the front of the field to take a win by over 40 seconds to Mansell in second place. Mansell, who had been driving conservatively, maintained his second position until the finish allowing him to take his first world championship victory. Berger in the second McLaren was third ahead of Häkkinen and Brundle. Claiming the final points position was Capelli's Ferrari, who being a lap down had driven a safe but uninspiring drive to claim only his second points finish of the season.
Standings after raceEdit
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