Nigel Mansell, Williams, Suzuka, 1991

F1 fans? classic Grand Prix videos: 1991

F1 videoPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nigel Mansell, Williams, Suzuka, 1991F1 Fanatic winds the clock back to 1991 for the second part of our series looking at footage shot by F1 fans during past seasons.

Ayrton Senna won the world championship when Nigel Mansell spun out trying to catch him in Japan. See below for a new video of that famous moment.

The 1991 season also saw the debut appearances of Jordan and, later, Michael Schumacher. And Nelson Piquet scored his final career win at the Canadian Grand Prix.

There’s also footage of Ferrari testing their V12-egined 642, the pre-qualifying brigade in action in Canada and more.

Pre-season testing: Ferrari at Fiorano

It’s hard to be certain exactly when this first video is from but it looks very much like Jean Alesi shaking down the Ferrari 642 at a very wet Fiorano early in 1991. Listen to the wail of that glorious V12.

Alesi joined the team from Tyrrell, replacing Nigel Mansell who had returned to Williams.

Canadian Grand Prix

Pre-qualifying was a common sight in 1991. There were 18 teams at the Canadian Grand Prix with a total of 34 cars (two teams were single-car entries). The first session of the weekend was for the eight lowest-ranked entries, and the four slowest in that session took no further part in the weekend.

In Canada Dallara and new team Jordan got both their cars successfully through pre-qualifying while Fondmental (Olivier Grouillard), Coloni (Pedro Chaves) and Modena (Nicola Larini and Eric van de Poele) were knocked out.

Ayrton Senna dominated the first four races, winning them all for McLaren. But in Canada Williams were poised to strike back.

Senna retired on lap 26 with a broken alternator. In the video above you can see him walking back and stopping to watch some of the action through a gap in the fence then crossing the circuit – to the understandable consternation of the officials.

Alesi, who retired with a blown engine after 36 laps, can also be seen.

Mansell led comfortably throughout the Grand Prix and as the final lap began he was almost a minute clear of Nelson Piquet (Benetton), with Stefano Modena (Tyrrell) over a half a minute further away.

Then disaster struck: Mansell’s car failed on the final tour as he waved to the crowd, handing Piquet his final Grand Prix victory. It was also the last for Pirelli before their return to F1 20 years later.

Mexican Grand Prix

Williams finally scored their first win of the year at the Mexican Grand Prix but it was Riccardo Patrese who triumphed with Mansell second ahead of Senna.

Most of the footage in this video is from practice, which was partly affected by rain. Listen out for Senna’s characteristic throttle-blips as he urges his V12 Honda-powered McLaren around the slow corners.

The video ends with shots of Mansell leading at the start of the race.

Belgian Grand Prix

If there’s one corner that conventional F1 coverage doesn’t do justice to, it’s Eau Rouge and Raidillon at Spa-Francorchamps. In 1991 the wickedly fast and steep climb had far less run-off than today, as this video shows.

One of the Jordans can be seen climbing the hill. Michael Schumacher made his debut for the team that weekend and instantly impressed, lining up seventh on the grid. Unfortunately he got little further that Eau Rouge at the start after his clutch burnt out. Senna won the race, answering a hat-trick of wins for Mansell with a double of his own in Belgium and Hungary two weeks earlier.

Japanese Grand Prix

For the fifth year in a row Suzuka was the scene of the championship showdown. The McLarens led early on, Senna following team mate Gerhard Berger. Mansell, third, had to pass Senna to keep his championship hopes alive.

It all went wrong for him on lap ten in a moment captured on video by a fan. Mansell ran wide at the first corner, spun into the gravel, and with that the world championship was decided.

More F1 fans’ videos from the 1991 season

Your F1 race videos

Have you shot any videos at F1 races? You can share your videos of last years’ races via the links below.

And if you have footage from other seasons you can also share links to it in the forum, on Twitter, through Facebook or via F1 Fanatic on Youtube.

F1 fans? classic Grand Prix videos

Image ?? Williams/LAT

19 comments on “F1 fans? classic Grand Prix videos: 1991”

  1. Awesome videos!

    From the year before but I was looking/listening at/to this the other day. Lola Lambourghini, 1990, onboard, Paul Ricard. Wow.

  2. I’d really like to see some more footage of those gorgeous 1994 Simteks. One of my favourite cars. Such a shame it has such tragedy attached to it.

  3. Fantastic.

  4. Here’s another excellent piece of amateur video I found from the same year. The last major open-wheel raced in New Jersey before next year’s Grand Prix?

    1991 IndyCar Meadowlands Grand Prix – amateur video

  5. One of the Jordans can be seen climbing the hill. Michael Schumacher made his debut for the team that weekend and instantly impressed, lining up eighth on the grid.

    He was 7th, Keith.

    1. @cristian So he was – he qualified eighth, then moved up a place. Changed, thanks.

      1. Fernando Cruz
        8th January 2013, 9:45

        He qualified seventh then moved up a place, lining up sixth on the grid.

        1. I don’t think so. Patrese was moved back to 17th which promoted Schumacher to 7th, at least that’s what the qualifying positions table implies in Autosport’s 1991 review of the year.

          1. Fernando Cruz
            8th January 2013, 10:44

            Check it on F1 official website or type “20 years on – Schumacher’s spectacular debut”

            “…Schumacher was eighth fastest on Friday – in a car that had only once that year qualified higher than tenth – and on Saturday went one better, clinching seventh on the grid for his F1 debut…”

          1. Fernando Cruz
            8th January 2013, 11:29

            Sorry, I checked on Autocourse. He qualified seventh on Saturday but that didn’t promote him to sixth after Patrese’s time was disallowed, as Berger had done a better lap time on Friday.

            So, Bruno Senna did better for his debut with a real F1 car (I don’t consider HRT a real F1 car) than Schumacher had done 20 years before at the same track…

  6. The trucks rolling round in the back of that first video probably inspired Prost’s comments on Ferrari’s 1991 car! :p

    1. At this point I feel obliged to don my anorak and point out that in the video Alesi was testing the 642 (an updated version of Ferrari’s successful and very pretty 1990 car), whereas Prost’s “truck” comment was about the 643 (introduced from the French GP onwards)… :)

  7. That Ferrari V12 sounds brilliant! It just begs the question though: what will the 2014 engines – with half the cylinders – sound like? I personally am hoping for a sound more similar to the 80’s V6 Turbo’s than GP 3 turbo: I’ve always felt the GP3 car’s engines sound quite pathetic! (Although of course they will be much less powerful than the F1 engines).

    1. Damn, that V12 sound…I think I need new pants after that! Incredible.

      1. @jh1806 I could quite happily just watch two hours of onboard footage just listening to that!

  8. Watching that Montreal pre-qualify vid from about 4 minutes in reminds you that F1 doesn’t have to be overtakes every few minutes and a spiced up show to interest some of us at least. It’s something deeper than that – a feeling of being in awe of the machines and the drivers that have to handle them.

    I don’t want to get too nostalgic about things (and go on about the past) because I love modern F1 too, but in a digital world where everything seems to be measured quantitatively (we want 2 pit stops per race… we want 100 overtakes… etc) , it’s nice to be reminded of the beautiful things that makes motorsport and F1 what it was, is and should continue to be.

  9. Very cool series. I agree with @john-h F1 is more than just numbers.

    Very cool to see the young Eddie Jordan. :D What a great team.

  10. I was interested particularly in the new angle on Mansell’s Japanese retirement. Seen from the front it’s a lot clearer than the angle we saw on the telly.

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