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F1 legends in Suzuka: The mysterious Lotus 88 in detail

Formula 1 legends in Suzuka
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E s was the most visited stand in the Suzuka Circuit amusement park . A small pavilion with five old Formula 1 cars. And next to it the ancestral gallery of all Honda Formula 1 engines. A feast for historians. The cars could not only be admired in the stand. Gerhard Berger, Martin Brundle, Satoru Nakajima and Takuma Sato also drove them around the racetrack on Saturday and Sunday.

The 1991 McLaren MP4-6 Honda, the 1987 Ferrari F1-87, the Tyrrell 019 from the 1990 season, the 1986 Williams FW11 Honda and the Lotus 88, the the 1981 season was built, but then never took part in a race. The 5 classic cars were optically in top condition. Not quite technically. The Williams rolled out after a short drive on Saturday and was no longer seen on Sunday.

Senna wins title with McLaren MP4 /6

The most successful car from the ancestral gallery is the McLaren MP4 /6, who won the world title in 1991 with Ayrton Senna at the wheel and took eight GP victories. The Williams FW11 won nine times, but because Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet took away championship points from each other, McLaren driver Alain Prost was the laughing third in the end.

Gerhard Berger celebrated a reunion with him in Suzuka Car with which he won the Japanese GP in 1991. It was a given victory. Senna let Berger pass shortly before the finish line. The car developed by Neil Oatley and Henri Durand was powered by a Honda V12 engine with a cylinder angle of 60 degrees and the type designation RA121E. After two titles with the ten-cylinder, Honda wanted to prove to itself that you can also become world champion with a V12. Twelve-cylinders were a tradition in the house. Honda relied on this design as early as the 1960s.

However, the Honda V12 developed into a problem child. It weighed more, was longer, required more cooling, and lacked half-throttle torque compared to the old V10. This entailed compromises in the chassis area. It was no surprise that the McLaren MP4-6 with its long and curved side pods looked like a red-white Ferrari. Aerodynamicist Henri Durand came to McLaren from Maranello.

At the GP England, the Japanese had to push a new design with variable trumpets in an emergency operation. With 720 hp in its last expansion stage was HondasTwelve-cylinder is not even the most powerful engine in the field. Ferrari had already unleashed 735 hp, and the Renault RS3B also had 720 hp.

The transversely installed six-speed gearbox was still shifted by hand. After all, sequentially. McLaren slept through the development of the semi-automatic transmission. The bottom line was that the Williams-Renault was the better car. It failed because of its many defects in the gearbox. Senna benefited from his winning streak at the beginning of the season when he won the first four races in a row.

Williams FW11 misses title 1986

Williams shouldn't have lost the 1986 World Cup. The FW11 with the Honda V6 turbo was the fastest car in the field and also reasonably reliable. A flat tire at the finale in Adelaide robbed Mansell of the title he had already believed to be safe. For safety reasons, Williams had to call Piquet to the pits to change tires. The Brazilian would have needed a win to become world champion himself. But the Australian GP was one lap too short to catch up. His opponent Prost only ran out of gas after the finish line.

The Williams FW11 was a no-frills car with decent aerodynamics and good mechanical grip. Not a high-flyer, but also no worse than the competition. His showpiece was the Honda V6 turbo, which delivered 1,160 hp in training and still achieved over 850 hp in the racing trim. The new fuel limit of 195 liters had made the task extremely difficult for everyone involved. Honda had overtaken everyone in the fuel consumption discipline, including the formerly best-in-class Porsche. This became particularly clear at the German GP when both McLaren drivers ran out of gas and Prost tried unsuccessfully to push his broken-down McLaren over the finish line. Piquet celebrated a superior victory.

Ferrari F1-87 wins 1987 in Suzuka

Gerhard Berger was not only familiar with the McLaren. He also knew the Ferrari F1-87, with which he won the first Grand Prix in Suzuka in 1987. Ferrari only woke up in 1987 in the second half of the season. The F1-87 needed a makeover to become the winning car. The occupation of the technical office was like a powder keg. John Barnard set up the GTO branch in Guildford, England, and took care of the naturally aspirated car for 1989. Harvey Postlethwaite and Jean-Claude Migeot worked from Maranello against the new Messiah. Gustav Brunner, the designer of the F1-87, sat in the middle of the minefield and had to leave the team at the end of the year.

Barnard did not tolerate any gods next to him. He was a much hated man in Italy. Alboreto took the side of the Italy faction, Berger stuck to Barnard. Two victories at the end of the year brought calm to the chaos. 'The bad thing about it,' remembers Berger: 'After that, everyone believed we hadthe 1988 World Championship already in the bag. '

During the season, the engine engineers in Maranello had laboriously managed to wean the V6 turbo from drinking. The engine delivered a stable 960 hp at 11,500 rpm. Then The trump card of the better chassis stood out against Williams and McLaren. Ferrari's problem was that fuel consumption had to be reduced again in 1988. And with only 150 liters for a race distance, the 034 engine had no chance against the new design by Honda.

Tyrrell 019 shows high nose for the first time

The Tyrrell 019 had a perfectly ordinary Cosworth V8 in the rear. The car became famous anyway. Because it was the first one with a high nose. Harvey Postlethwaite and Jean-Claude Migeot invented the trick of lifting their nose to allow more air to flow under the car, so the diffuser at the other end of the car could work better /p>

The Tyrrell 019 saw from like the Concorde. The nose hovered about eight inches above the ground. Left and right two inclined walkways led to the front wings, the end of which lay just above the road as usual. John Barnard finished the idea a year later at Benetton by lifting his nose even higher and hanging the entire front wing under his nose on two stilts. Jean Alesi first realized the potential of the Tyrrell 019, but the progress of the new concept stalled as the season progressed. And the Pirelli advantage dwindled. Goodyear had made it mobile.

Lotus 88 with forbidden double chassis

The fifth car from the gallery is technically the most interesting. And it is shrouded in mystery to this day. Because it only appeared three times on a racetrack and was banned by the stewards after a few training laps. We are talking about the Lotus 88 from the 1981 season. It was Colin Chapman's answer to the new rule that movable aprons were forbidden. But you needed the perfect sealing of the side pods to the street in order to take full advantage of the ground effect principle.

Chapman built his Lotus 88 with a double chassis. The fairing was mounted on mini springs on the chassis made of carbon, Kevlar and Nomex. When standing, the Lotus 88 complied with the rules. At full speed, contact pressure lowered the fairing until the side panels scraped the asphalt as usual. The tunnels under the car reached from the beginning of the side pods to the rear. The suspension was designed so that the wishbones were hardly in the air stream.

The double chassis was banned. When it first appeared in Long Beach, the competition protested. In Brazil 14 days later, Elio de Angelis was shown the black flag in the Lotus 88 after just two training rounds. Chapman, who had come to Rio with a horde of lawyers, threatened: 'I will fight until judgment day.'

In vain. The third attempt with the Type 88B inSilverstone imposed a ban on the car by the FIA ​​because it was against the spirit of the regulations. She threatened to withdraw the World Cup title from the organizer if he let the double-decker drive. Lotus had to start the season with the modified 81B from last year. Chapman later launched the Type 87, which had some of the design features of the 88 Lotus.

The genius was bitter. Again one of his coups had failed, this time at the green table. A seventh place in the constructors' championship with 22 points and a single podium place meant another lost year for a team like Lotus. Chapman's colleagues took a bolder and more radical approach to the question of the apron ban. They built a hydropneumatic system into their cars that lowered the vehicle as soon as it left the pit lane. One could also speak of fraud, but the FIA ​​was powerless. She could only check the cars while they were standing. Brabham was a pioneer with the BT49C.

In our gallery we have the detailed pictures of the 5 legendary Formula 1 cars.


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