Nigel Mansell, today. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
For all pilot, debuting with Ferrari is a very special moment. Even more so if the premiere is accompanied by the victory. Something that in recent times have been achieved Fernando Alonso, in 2010, and Kimi Räikkönen, in 2007. To find the previous precedent, we must go back to the Great Prize of Brazil of 1989. The protagonist, Nigel Mansell.
The curtain of the season was lifted in the circuit of Jacarepaguá (it would be the last time that the route rio de janeiro held the appointment of brazil, since 1990, he returned to his current home, Interlagos) with the McLaren-Honda as the big favorites. A condition that ratified Ayrton Senna to take pole position with more than eight tenths on the Williams of Riccardo Patrese and almost a second over the Ferrari of Gerhard Berger. Alain Prost and Mansell shared the fourth row.
Ferrari premiered in Rio the 640, the first creation of John Barnard to Maranello. Without a lot of expectations: the first single-seater with a change to semi-automatic he had suffered from poor reliability in the pre-season test. In fact, Mansell was so sure of not seeing the chequered flag that he had booked unvuelo early to return to Europe. A plane that would not arrive to pick up.
An incident in the output eliminated Berger and took Senna to the last position (Ayrton would finish eleventh, two laps). mechanical Problems eliminated to Patrese, and his partner Boutsen and Mansell took command of the race with Prost as the main rival. But, with problems of clutch, the French was not in a position to threaten his future team-mate. He hoped, perhaps, that the Ferrari would end in people fainting. But the laps were going on, and, to general surprise, the stylized 640 crossed first the finish line eight seconds ahead of Prost.
Was a false dawn: Mansell earned after four retirements in a row, and Berger did not finish a race to Italy, the twelfth event of the year. The results of the 640 improved in the second half of the season, with the victories of Mansell in Hungary and Berger in Portugal, as it highlights.