Johansson Ferrari Monaco 1985

Stefan was out on the 1st lap, he ran up the chuff of Bergers Bennetton BMW when the engine misfired…Prost won in a McLaren MP4 Honda

Stefan Johanssons’ Ferrari 156-85 twin-turbos lighting up some unburnt fuel in its diffusers…Monaco 1985, sensational Rainer Schlegelmilch shot…

Schlegelmilch picks up the story in’Automobile Year 44’…’For the first practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix in 1985, I took up the same position as I had the year before, at the Rascasse corner. I had my Nikon F3 and a little 43-86mm zoom lens, and as I waited for the cars to come I noted that they would be passing under full acceleration within a metre of my chosen spot beside the guardrail.’

‘I therefore chose a slow shutter speed, around 1/15th or 1/30th of a second, and closed the aperture down in order to achieve the effect I wanted, with the car relatively sharp and the background blurred to accentuate the feeling of speed. I wanted the drivers’ helmet to be the sharpest point, so that identification was  easy, and since I wanted to move the zoom during the exposure to add to the blurred effect, I knew that the helmet had to be in the centre of the viewfinder. I was doing all this when Stefan Johannsons’ Ferrari burst into view. Everything worked, and by good luck- or sheer chance- at the very millisecond I pressed the button the Ferraris’ exhausts belched sheets of flame!’

Johannson McLaren

Stefan, McLaren MP4/3 TAG Porsche in 1987 (The Cahier Archive)

Johannson Spirit Honda British GP Brands 1983

Johannson heads into Druids Hill bend, Brands Hatch, European GP 1983. Spirit 201 Honda . Finished 14th 2 laps down after qualifying 19th. (unattributed)

Honda returned to Grand Prix racing via F2 and Ralt...Ron Tauranac and Jack Brabham formed a successful partnership with Honda winning the European Championship in 1966, so they gave Ron a call when they wanted to return, achieving quick success, initially winning the European F32 Championship with Geoff Lees in a Ralt RH6 Honda in 1981.

Ron was never going back to F1 though, so they teamed up with Spirit, who had also used their 2 litre V6 in F2. The F1 turbo-charged 1.5 litre V6 was explosive in its power delivery giving Spirit plenty of engineering challenges to what was essentially its F2 chassis. Johannson cut his F1 teeth with the team and Honda signed with Williams for 1984…

Spirit Honda Brands 1983

Not so pretty from the side…in search of downforce and somewhere to mount the ancillaries!

Stefans’ route to F1 was via the British F3 Championship which he won with a Project 4…(Ron Dennis) run March 803 Toyota. Like Ron he was off to F1 but a couple of starts with Shadow didn’t launch his career which was via Spirit after some F2 promise in 1982.

He raced for Tyrrell and Toleman in 1984, picking up a Ferrari drive after Rene Arnoux was sacked early in the season for unspecified misdemeanours.

Johnannssen Spa 86

La Source hairpin Spa 1986, Belgian GP. Ferrari F1/86, 1.5 litre twin turbo V6. Stefan drove well finishing 3rd behind the winning Williams FW11 Honda of Nigel mnasell and Ayrton Sennas’ Lotus 98T Renault .(unattributed)

In  1985  and 1986 he was often quicker than team leader Alboreto and in the lead more than once but he was shown the door at the end of’86, McLaren picking him up.

He finished sixth in the drivers championship but was really keeping the seat warm for Ayrton Senna who was under contract to Lotus until the end of 1987, still winless but a frontish-runner, he failed to get the second seat at Williams Riccardo Patrese bagged and steadily slipped down the totem pole in mid-field teams…Ligier in ’88, Onyx in ’89/90, and AGS and Footwork in 1991.

He placed second four times, very unlucky not to win, after 1992 he moved to CART, Sportscars and driver management.

Johannson Ferrari F156-85 Adelaide 1985

Johannson, Adelaide, AGP 1985. Ferrari F156-85. Qualified 15th and finished 5th, Rosberg won in his Williams Renault (unattributed)

Stefan Jonannsen Monza 85

Pitstop at Monza in 1985, Ferrari 156/85. Q 10 and 5th in the race won by Alain Prosts’ McLaren MP4/2B TAG. (unattributed)

Johannson Austrian GP 1987 McLaren MP4 3 Honda

Last drive in a competitive car was with McLaren MP4/3 Porsche chassis in 1987. Here in Austria he qualified 14th and finished 7th after a big fright in practice having hit a deer! and cracking a rib in the ensuing accident. Nigel Mansell won in a Williams FW11B Honda. (unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, The Cahier Archive



  1. Hi. Congrats on the website. The Spirit pics aren’t from the British GP. In 1983 that was at Silverstone (and the car was predominantly white) The pic is taken at the European GP at Brands in September 1983


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