Gallery: 1985 F1 Ferrari 156/85 – Premium
The car that wanted to win – A closer look at the comeback car that Ferrari needed.
Images & Story Jayson Fong of Form & Function
After being dominated by McLaren in 1984, Ferrari needed a comeback car – But it was not to be. 1985 was a season which saw the birth of the 156/85 coming at a time that Ferrari were in desperate need of an all new car. Ferrari finally had an Italian driver in Michele Alboreto, but he didn’t have a machine that could bring continuous victories home for Ferrari.
Following a year of complete domination at the hands of McLaren in 1984, it became very evident that the Ferrari 126 template had been caught up by the other teams after 2 years of victory in 1982/83.
With their eyes firmly set on getting the prancing horse back to the top of the podium, Ferrari’s 156/85 was a completely new package that was the first single seat machine from Maranello developed with the assistance of CAD/CAM technology.
The result was a design that had noticeable differences that looked to give Ferrari an advantage. Some changes included a very forward driving position, a longer wheelbase; radiators positioned parallel to the direction of movement, larger wheel hubs and revised suspension.
Perhaps more importantly, at the heart of the 156/85 was a completely redesigned turbocharged V6 that produced almost 800hp which was a steep increase of 100+hp compared to the 1984 power plant.
Although it became one of the front runners of the 1985 season, there would be no fairy tale season end for the 156/85. After a string of strong podium finishes during the first half of the season, the car would become increasingly fragile and unreliable during the closing stages of the year with multiple engine and turbo problems – most memorably at Brands Hatch.
The unreliability of the car during the crucial stage of the year meant that McLaren’s combined effort from Prost and Lauda were given the opportunity to overtake Ferrari’s Alboreto and Johannson on the table. Ferrari would be runners up both in the driver’s and constructor’s championship.
Ferrari’s 156/85 and the 1985 Formula 1 World Championship – Close, but not close enough.