The 1985 San Marino Grand Prix had a bizarre and dramatic ending when most of the drivers left in the race at that point ran out of fuel in the closing laps.
With the turbo engines of the time constantly increasing in power and refuelling banned, fuel consumption was always a worry for the teams and drivers of the day. Imola was a real killer for it as the track mainly consisted of long straights and slow corners – a combination which forces cars to use a lot of fuel.
In the closing laps six of the 11 cars still running ran out of fuel: Senna, Johansson, Brundle, Warwick, Piquet, and Boutsen – though Boutsen was lucky enough to do so right on the pit straight and was able to push his car across the finish line.
As you might expect in a race like this it was Prost who crossed the line to win, but after the race his car was found to be underweight and he was disqualified, handing Elio de Angelis the second and final victory of his career. Thierry Boutsen’s car-pushing efforts rewarded him with 2nd place.
This fuel economy formula didn’t go down especially well, with Nigel Mansell (who finished 5th and was the last car still running) stating that “it wasn’t really racing.” Now why does that sound familiar?