How Many Races Are In A Formula 1 Season Formula 1 Nostalgia: 1988 Japanese Grand Prix

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Formula 1 Nostalgia: 1988 Japanese Grand Prix

The 1988 Formula 1 season was dominated by Honda-powered McLarens; a newly formed partnership that resulted in Formula 1’s most successful car, the iconic (and almost unbeatable) McLaren Honda MP4/4.

The year also saw the birth of the greatest sports rivalry between teammates: Brazilian Ayrton Senna and French, then double World Champion, Alain Prost. It was Senna’s first year with McLaren and he and his team combined to win 15 out of 16 races, including the Brazilian World Championships which was decided by the 1988 Japanese Grand Prix.

As the McLaren pair dominated the season, tensions grew between the sport’s leading drivers and reached a boiling point during the Portuguese Grand Prix when an exasperated Senna tried to block Prost from taking the lead and almost sent his teammate crashing into the pit wall. Prost managed to overtake Senna and take the lead, but he did not appreciate his rival’s aggressive racing style.

The first race of the season was rolled out on the challenging and twisty circuit of Suzuka, Japan, which was built in 1962 by Honda as a testing ground and featured a unique eight-speed design. The race day was set for a great show with Senna and Prost wheel to wheel for the Championship battle.

Senna, who finished ahead of Prost by almost half a second, took his twelfth place of the year, and the pair handed off the season’s eleventh McLaren grid-lockout. On the second row of the grid was the only 1988 race-winning McLaren, Ferrari’s Gerhard Berger in third place with Ivan Capelli in March-Judd alongside him. Reigning world champion Nelson Piquet and home hero Satoru Nakajima, both on Lotus-Honda, could manage fifth and sixth respectively.

When Senna dropped the clutch, his engine died. It would be his only missed start that year. With the Champion hanging on the tail, the pole keeper remained motionless on the grid while other drivers passed him. But due to the slippery grid at Suzuka, he was able to crash his car and finish in fourteenth place. With his rival in the lead, the determined and unyielding Brazilian found his rhythm and made up six places in his first round.

On the fourth day Senna had risen to fourth place and his battle with Prost for superiority was back, while the second battle was fought between Berger and Capelli until the Austrian, suffering from fuel consumption, gave the second place to Capelli who had it. set the fastest race track.

As the rain began to fall, Senna showed his wet-weather racing skills chasing the leaders, while Prost missed a gear coming out of the final chicane allowing Capelli to take his chance and take the lead, becoming the first naturally aspirated car to take the lead. Grand Prix since 1983. However his first place was short-lived as his Judd was no match for the Honda with a turbo and the Frenchman came back and kept the lead, while Capelli retired three times after an electrical failure.

This time Senna was quickly catching Prost as the pair battled their way past the rear, until the soon-to-be World Champion took the 27th lap to fly past his teammate to take the lead and win. It was the grand prix of pure racing, with the young Senna, unfazed by the older and more experienced Prost, edging out his team-mate to make a spectacular defense of his Formula 1 World Championship.

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