Grand Prix Classic

Round 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix
Jacarepagua, 23-25 March, 1984
Team-by-Team Review

Brabham BT53-BMW
1. Nelson Piquet (Brz)
2. Teo Fabi (It)

Once again team arrives in Brazil with barely-tested new car, but this time the opposition are too strong. Piquet qualifies 7th after mistake on Friday and engine failure on Saturday; Fabi only 15th on Brabham debut after gear linkage problems on first day and session-halting crash on second. Piquet then stalls at the start and drops to 24th after push from marshals. Charges back impressively, passing Fabi for 9th on lap 17, and is up to 7th by lap 31 pitstop. Only lasts one more lap before engine develops an oil leak and fails. Fabi retires almost simultaneously from 10th (after lap 22 tyre stop) with broken turbo.

Tyrrell 012-Cosworth
3. Martin Brundle (GB)
4. Stefan Bellof (Ger)

Both young drivers impress with handling of nimble DFY-engined 012; Brundle's smooth approach nets excellent 18th on the grid (in much-lightened car), with more aggressive Bellof 22nd. Both make great starts to finish the first lap 14th (Bellof) and 15th. Bellof then passes Senna before retiring from 13th on lap 11 with a snapped throttle cable. Brundle keeps going at excellent speed, briefly reaching 4th before pitstop and goes on to finish stunning 5th, one lap down, to score points on debut for sponsorless team.

Williams FW09-Honda
5. Jacques Laffite (Fr)
6. Keke Rosberg (Fin)

Revised rear end and suspension for FW09 causes severe understeer. Rosberg, polesitter in 1983, starts 9th, with Laffite 13th. Handling problems continue in the race, but Rosberg runs 8th behind de Angelis for first stint. After lap 32 stop continues to put in usual determined showing and makes progress, passing Tambay on lap 56 to secure worthy second place. Laffite drops to 16th at the start, moves back up to 14th by lap 4, but retires lap 15 when an electrical failure leads to a loss of boost pressure.

McLaren MP4/2-TAG
7. Alain Prost (Fr)
8. Niki Lauda (Aut)

Team arrives in Brazil with barely-tested new car (debuted at Paul Ricard a week before the race), but runs with astonishing efficiency all weekend. Spend much of practice focusing on race setup, but Prost nevertheless starts 4th with Lauda 6th. Prost down to 10th at the start, but Lauda up to 4th. Passes Mansell and Warwick to take over the lead when Alboreto retires. Then heads the field comfortably until battery fails on lap 38, cutting power to engine. Prost recovers from poor start, passing Rosberg, de Angelis, Arnoux, Mansell and Warwick to run 2nd to Lauda. However, disastrous lap 38 tyre stop lets Warwick into comfortable lead. Solid 2nd until the Renault retires, whereupon Prost retakes the lead and scores 10th Grand Prix victory. Highly economical Porsche-built engine is very much the envy of rivals.

RAM 02-Hart
9. Philippe Alliot (Fr)
RAM 01-Hart
10. Jonathan Palmer (GB)

One bulky new 1984 Dave Kelly designed RAM 02 for Alliot; one bulky old (heavily revised) 1983 RAM 01 for Palmer. Engine covers are discarded after they cause handling problems by upsetting airflow over rear wing. Both drivers struggle; Alliot 26th fastest (plagued by electrical problems) and Palmer 27th fastest and destined for non-qualification until Winkelhock exclusion. Finish first lap 21st (Alliot) and 23rd, but once Baldi retires only run ahead of delayed Ghinzani. Alliot out of 18th on lap 24 with broken turbocharger. Palmer continues to finish 9th and last, three laps down, despite failing boost pressure.

Lotus 95T-Renault
11. Elio de Angelis (It)
12. Nigel Mansell (GB)

Both drivers rave about Goodyear tyres, but sadly it's the same story of excellent practice and poor race. Mansell fastest on Friday, but spins on Saturday and starts 5th while de Angelis takes pole position. However, in the race de Angelis hit by misfire almost from the start. Slips down as low as 8th in the first stint, but retirements and determined driving see him nurse the car home an unlapped 3rd for his best result since victory at 1982 Austrian Grand Prix. Mansell briefly up to 3rd, but passed by Lauda and then Prost. Pits from 4th on lap 30; works his way back to the same position on lap 35, only for brakes to fail and send him crashing off. Despite relatively disappointing end product, Gerard Ducarouge's new 95T showed the speed to win races.

14. Manfred Winkelhock (Ger)

Disastrous meeting for German-owned British-based team. Winkelhock is set for 15th on the grid, despite troubles with Pirelli tyres and new D7 (setting most laps in spare D6), when he runs out of fuel at pitlane entrance late in Saturday's session. Car is recovered by mechanics, and marshals reprimand team. Owner Gunther Schmidt rudely argues with them, and they take the decision to exclude the luckless Winkelhock from the meeting.

Renault RE50-Renault
15. Patrick Tambay (Fr)
16. Derek Warwick (GB)

With new car and new drivers, team shows some promise. Warwick starts 3rd, Tambay 8th. Warwick to 2nd at the start, passed by Lauda and Prost but takes the lead after they encounter problems. Seems set for first victory on Renault debut when front suspension fails after earlier contact with Lauda, and retires ten laps from home. Tambay makes a good start and runs solid 5th until lap 27 stop. Makes up places as others retire to hold 2nd; however, passed by Rosberg and then runs out of fuel two laps from home (leaking fuel cell) and is only classified 6th. Bitterly attacks new regulations afterwards. Disappointing results, but promising performance.

Arrows A6-Cosworth
17. Marc Surer (Swz)
18. Thierry Boutsen (Bel)

With Dave Wass' BMW-powered A7 still being finished, team uses A6 chassis (only modified to accept Goodyear radials instead of cross-plies) and Cosworth engines. Therefore happy with 20th (Boutsen) and 24th (Surer) on the grid. Both drive solid, reliable races to finish 7th and 8th respectively, two laps down. Team unsuccessfully protests 5th-placed Brundle, claiming he took on fuel.

Toleman TG183B-Hart
19. Ayrton Senna (Brz)
20. Johnny Cecotto (Ven)

Neither driver happy with Pirelli qualifiers; Senna starts Grand Prix debut from 16th, one place ahead of Cecotto. Senna to 13th at the start but soon passed by Bellof, Laffite and Piquet. Retires from 16th on lap 8 when turbocharger fails. Cecotto stalls at the start and is pushed by the marshals. Passes Baldi, Palmer, Alliot and Surer before retiring from 18th, also with a broken turbo.

Spirit 101-Hart
21. Mauro Baldi (It)

New 101C, looking like a scaled-down Brabham, qualifies 23rd in the hands of Mauro Baldi. Up to 22nd at the start but spins down to last on the second lap, and then retires from 23rd on lap 12 with broken turbocharger.

Alfa Romeo 184T-Alfa Romeo
22. Riccardo Patrese (It)
23. Eddie Cheever (USA)

Attractive new 184T arrives in Rio having barely been tested, and is beset by turbocharger problems and three engine failures during practice. In circumstances, team happy with 11th (Patrese) and 12th (Cheever) on the grid, and race with low boost pressure. Cheever briefly into 9th after trademark good start, but soon drops and pair race 9th/10th until pitstops. Patrese out of 8th on lap 41 with broken gearbox, but Cheever runs well and makes up places as others retire to open Alfa account with lapped 4th place.

Osella FA1F-Alfa Romeo
24. Piercarlo Ghinzani (It)

Design consultant Tony Southgate leaves the team shortly before the race. Single new Alfa Romeo 183T-clone car for Ghinzani. After various practice troubles, he qualifies 21st. Pits from 22nd on lap 8 to investigate gear selection problems, and retires from 18th and last on lap 29 with transmission failure.

Ligier JS23-Renault
25. Francois Hesnault (Fr)
26. Andrea de Cesaris (It)

First turbo race for team sees de Cesaris start 14th and Hesnault 19th. Unfortunately, de Cesaris fails to get off the grid with a wrecked gear linkage, and has to start from the pitlane. Comes through the field well to move into 8th on lap 42, only for gear linkage to come apart again immediately and cause retirement. Hesnault out of 17th on lap 25 with engine failure. Much improvement needed.

Ferrari 126C4-Ferrari
27. Michele Alboreto (It)
28. Rene Arnoux (Fr)

Encouraging Maranello debut for Alboreto. Qualifies 2nd and takes the lead at the start, pulling away in typically smooth style before broken brake calliper causes him to spin on lap 11. Retires after unsuccessful repair stop. Arnoux unable to match Alboreto's speed - starts 10th. Up to 7th at the start, then past de Angelis, but overtaken by Prost. Moves up to 4th as others stop, but retires before his own stop with lap 30 electrical failure.