Grand Prix Classic




Round 2 - South African Grand Prix
Kyalami, 5-7 April, 1984

Just six months after the 1983 title decider, Formula 1 returned to South Africa's high altitude Kyalami circuit - much to the dissatisfaction of the organisers, who were having trouble raising much sponsorship for another race in such short time.

Like Jacarepagua, the circuit had been a frequent venue for pre-season testing, meaning that again most of the teams likely to know setups.

With all the teams apart from Arrows and Tyrrell using turbocharged engines, the circuit's uniquely thin atmosphere wasn't expected to mix up the field to a particularly great extent.


Entry Notes

With the teams going to South Africa direct from Brazil, there were no changes to the entry.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

Piquet put his frustrating home race behind him with a blistering pole time, nearly two seconds faster than Tambay's 1983 best time. Lining up alongside him was Rosberg, still complaining that the revised suspension of the Williams caused too much understeer but nevertheless only two-tenths off pole. Next up were Mansell and Tambay.

The McLarens suffered misfires caused by Kyalami's altitude (the team hadn't tested the latest TAG engines in South Africa), but Prost still lined up 5th, with Lauda 8th. Between them came Fabi in the second Brabham and de Angelis' Lotus. Warwick, troubled by low boost pressure throughout practice, was 9th, just ahead of Alboreto, both Ferrari cars suffering from poor handling and lack of traction on the corners.

Further back, Winkelhock narrowly pipped Senna to be the fastest Pirelli runner, one place ahead of the Brazilian in 12th. The single non-qualifier looked like being one of the Cosworth cars, and the fastest atmospheric qualifier was Surer in 24th, nearly 7 seconds (i.e. around 10% of a lap on the short circuit) away from Piquet (despite being given a long tow down the straight by good friend Winkelhock). His team-mate Boutsen was the unlucky 27th man.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

The morning warm-up saw a horrifying crash for Piercarlo Ghinzani. The Italian lost control of his Osella at the Jukskei kink and ploughed into the barrier backward. The car was split in half and caught on fire, though the driver's survival cell remained intact. Prompt action by the track marshals had him clear of the car with little more than moderate burns to his hands and neck - in shock, Ghinzani had calmly removed his helmet and a glove as soon as the car had come to rest. He was in too much pain to drive, and Boutsen was allowed to step up to the grid for the race.

Further disruption happened at the start. Patrese stalled his Alfa Romeo, and then Prost's McLaren wouldn't start for the second formation lap. He switched to the spare - set up for Lauda after the Austrian's race car had given trouble in the warm-up - and set off after the field after being given the okay by an enthusiastic marshal, but by the time the grid was forming up again the Frenchman was sent into the pitlane.

When the field did get going, Piquet almost didn't, stuttering away from the grid. Mansell and Tambay briefly nipped past, but astonishingly Piquet tore down to the first corner at such a speed that only Rosberg was ahead of him by the first corner. Mansell's good start evaporated as he ran out of space, dropping down into the pack. Instead, Fabi was third ahead of Lauda, Tambay and Warwick followed by de Angelis, Laffite, Alboreto, Patrese, Winkelhock and then Mansell down in 12th place with Senna, de Cesaris, Cheever and then Bellof after another remarkable first lap.

Rosberg's lead was short-lived as Piquet dived out of his slipstream at the end of the first lap and was past and into the lead before the first corner, leaving Rosberg to contend with Fabi and Lauda. The following lap the second Brabham went by Rosberg too, again simply tearing down the straight and getting to the opening right-hander first. The Brabhams then began edging away from the tight group, with Lauda trying to get past the Williams before they disappeared into the distance. He managed to slipstream the Finn at the start of the third lap, and set off after Fabi.

Behind Rosberg the works Renaults were now being caught by de Angelis, Alboreto and Laffite. The latter was much happier with the understeering, steady Williams than his team-mate, and the group was tightening up behind the Finn, and falling away from the leading trio. Lauda, meanwhile, was handily keeping pace with the Brabhams and looking dangerous. On lap 10, he was past Fabi and into second at the exit of Leeukop Bend, putting himself on the inside line of the kink before the pits with the trademark lack of visible effort. The Brabham driver tried to fight back down the straight, but the McLaren was matching its' straight-line speed and Lauda held the position. Next time around Fabi dived into the pits, having asked too much of his Michelins too early, dropping down to 12th, behind Patrese.

Piquet and Lauda were in traffic now, and the World Champion was having no luck in shaking his pursuer. By lap 21, the McLaren was glued to the Brabham's rear wing, and realising the battle was lost Piquet followed Fabi's lead and pitted for fresh tyres. The stop wasn't brilliant by Brabham standards (gallingly, slower than Fabi's had been), and he resumed 6th, behind Tambay and de Angelis and ahead of Prost - who had driven up to 8th with his usual metronomic lack of fuss, making up ten places in the first half-dozen laps. Piquet promptly passed de Angelis as if he was lapping a backmarker, then glided up the inside of Tambay a corner later. One lap more and he was past Warwick and looking at the back of Rosberg, who he promptly outbraked at Crowthorne. Just behind, Prost had got past de Angelis despite some solid resistance from then Lotus, and set about Tambay.

The main question was whether Piquet would be able to make any impression on Lauda. The McLaren was due to stop, but considering how badly Piquet's first set of tyres had worn in such a short time, it wasn't beyond the realms of possibility that the Brazilian would have to stop again. Prost, for his part, moved past Tambay, soon followed by de Angelis. However, soon after his recovery, Piquet was coasting in, with a broken turbo. Rosberg was back up to 2nd and Warwick to 3rd, but the Renault driver only held the place briefly before becoming Prost's next victim - though Prost himself would make his pitstop only a lap later, with Tambay following him in and out. They resumed with Lauda about to lap them, such was the Austrian's quiet dominance.

Lauda's lead was such that he could afford a little wheelspin leaving the pits after his own stop without losing first place - indeed, he still had a comfortable margin of about ten seconds over the dogged Rosberg. The rest of the stops were largely without incident, apart from Rosberg nearly stalling and shaking out behind Warwick and de Angelis, but none of them were a serious threat to Lauda. Laffite was now second, ahead of Alboreto - both planning to make their hard compound Goodyears last the whole race. Prost was next up, ahead of Mansell, Tambay, Warwick and Rosberg, while de Angelis was back in the pits to have his throttle cable looked at.

The non-stop runners were losing out slightly to those who had stopped, with Prost tucking past Laffite shortly before Warwick began moving back up the field, culminating in passing Alboreto down the long straight on lap 42. However, soon Warwick had to pit for a third set of tyres and emerged behind de Angelis, having to charge all over again. With Tambay unable to get past Alboreto, Laffite - driving superbly in a Williams more to his liking - seemed set for third until a wheel flew off the car on lap 61. Neither Tambay nor Alboreto would last, both stopping with fuel feed problems and leaving 3rd to the resurgent Warwick.

But nobody could touch Lauda, who took his first victory since the 1982 British Grand Prix in a display which must have been demoralising for his opponents, fully a minute ahead of Prost. That Prost had started from the pitlane and still beaten everyone else without drama. Warwick in third (for his first podium appearance) was lapped, and only Piquet had seriously looked like matching their pace. Fourth place eventually went to Patrese, a further lap down in the surviving Alfa Romeo, ahead of de Cesaris - scoring Ligier's first points since the 1982 Caesar's Palace Grand Prix.

A further lap behind came Senna in the Toleman, physically exhausted to the extent of needing medical attention after losing part of the car's nose in the early stages and finding the steering incredibly heavy for the remainder of the race. Between a mixture of attrition and the Cosworth cars having only just over half the horsepower of the turbos in Kyalami's thin atmosphere, de Angelis managed to finish 7th despite losing four laps in the pits, ahead of Baldi's Spirit. Behind the Italian came Surer in the old Arrows, ahead of Hesnault and Brundle (both delayed after colliding early on), with Boutsen the only other driver running at the end. With two wins from two, McLaren were looking in great shape - especially as neither Brabham nor Ferrari had scored yet.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
75
1h 29m 23.430s
8
2
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG
75
+ 1m 05.950s
6
3
Derek Warwick Renault
74
+ 1 lap
9
4
Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo
73
+ 2 laps
18
5
Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault
73
+ 2 laps
14
6
Ayrton Senna Toleman-Hart
72
+ 3 laps
13
7
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
71
+ 4 laps
7
8
Mauro Baldi Spirit-Hart
71
+ 4 laps
20
9
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-Cosworth
70
+ 5 laps
26
10
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
71
+ 4 laps
23
11
Francois Hesnault Ligier-Renault
71
+ 4 laps
17
12
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Cosworth
71
+ 4 laps
25
13
Michele Alboreto Ferrari
70
+ 5 laps/Fuel feed
10
R
Patrick Tambay Renault
66
Out of fuel
4
R
Jacques Laffite Williams-Honda
60
Loose wheel
11
R
Stefan Bellof Tyrrell-Cosworth
60
Brakes
24
R
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW
53
Turbo
12
R
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda
51
Drive shaft
2
R
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault
51
Boost
3
R
Rene Arnoux Ferrari
40
Fuel feed
15
R
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
29
Turbo
1
R
Johnny Cecotto Toleman-Hart
26
Suspension
19
R
Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart
24
Turbo
22
R
Jonathan Palmer RAM-Hart
22
Engine
21
R
Teo Fabi Brabham-BMW
18
Turbo
6
R
Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo
4
Radiator leak
16
DNS
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
-
Accident in warm-up
20

Fastest Lap: Patrick Tambay (Renault), 1:08.677s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
15
2
Niki Lauda
9
3
Keke Rosberg
6
4=
Elio de Angelis
4
4=
Derek Warwick
4
6=
Eddie Cheever
3
6=
Riccardo Patrese
3
8=
Martin Brundle
2
8=
Andrea de Cesaris
2
10=
Patrick Tambay
1
10=
Ayrton Senna
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
McLaren
24
2=
Williams
6
2=
Alfa Romeo
6
4
Renault
5
5
Lotus
4
6=
Tyrrell
2
6=
Ligier
2
8
Toleman
1