“How to win a championship” – 1989 F1 season video review

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Quite a few of these F1 season review videos have perplexing titles, and this is a prime example.

Alain Prost won the 1989 championship when he drove into team mate Ayrton Senna in the Japanese Grand Prix – “How not to win a championship”, surely?

By 1989 turbo engines has been banned, Nigel Mansell had arrived at Ferrari and the McLaren rivalry had festered into a deep resentment between the two star drivers.

It was a closely fought year with many memorable races, and this comprehensive three hour video does justice to it. We even get some good footage from the early in-race on-board cameras.

Racing highlights include Mansell’s surprise wins for Ferrari in Brazil and Hungary, Gerhard Berger’s escape from a fiery crash in Imola, Senna’s annihilation of Prost in Monaco, and Thierry Boutsen’s two wet wins in Canada and Australia.

The whole thing is put together very well and you can’t really fault the narration either. Given the length of the tape it would be nice to see a bit more of the minor men – 39 cars contested the season, after all.

That aside this is another good video from arguably one of the better periods of recent Formula One.

Best bit: The notorious title conclusion is unmissable, but the top clip is the rear-facing camera on Brundle’s car that captures Senna plunging into the back of him from a cloud of spray in the Australian Grand Prix.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 3 comments on ““How to win a championship” – 1989 F1 season video review”

    1. “How not to win a championship”

      I like it!

      It seems they still have the same guy writing the titles for the reviews, perhaps you could take their job @keithcollantine ;)

    2. How to win a championship… there is more to it than the collision of Japan where Senna rammed into Prost at the chicane (he was behind). There are at least four accidents in which Senna rammed into someone else from behind during that season. 1) in Brasil; 2) at Estoril; 3) in Japan; 4) in Australia. Every time he was behind and simply believed that people had to leave way when someone faster comes along. Of course he had more pole positions and more victories than anyone else, but the championship is decided on points, and he simply lost the championship by losing so many points by combination of all of these errors of judgement. He was lovely to watch, but he he was foolish this way and paid for it. This is how Senna lost that championship, as I see it. Prost won it by being more careful: he had much fewer abandons, and collected the points that Senna lost along the way.

      1. 100% agree.

        One thing from 1989 that bugs me is the amount of crap heaped on Prost for his so-called political games in getting Ballestre to interfere on his behalf and get Senna DQ’d from Japan so that he, a Frenchman, would win the championship. What a lot of people (and the Senna movie) seem to forget and/or ignore is that Senna also played political games in 1989 to try and win the title. When Prost was publicly accusing Honda of giving his team mate better engines at the Italian GP (this being after he had announced his signing with Ferrari when he knew he would have the support of the French AND for the first time the Italian press), Senna actually tried to use his influence with Honda to get them to put pressure on Ron Dennis to fire Prost on the spot, which the astute Dennis refused to do as it would impact the money the team would get from sponsors and potential wins and placings. If Prost had been fired at that point with 4 rounds left it would have given Senna an almost clear run to the title. You think Senna didn’t know that if Prost had been fired he would have virtually eliminated his ONLY title competitor?

        Prost may have played political games to try and get an advantage, but to say he was the only one is incorrect. Senna was not the saint his fans and the Senna movie make him out to be.

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