Grand Prix Classic

Round 3 - Belgian Grand Prix
Zolder, 27-29 April, 1984
Team-by-Team Review

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

With Michelins struggling on slippery Zolder surface, Piquet starts 9th (after an engine failure on Saturday), with Fabi only 18th. Both improve in the race, running hard tyres and not planning to stop. With boost turned down hoping for a finish, Piquet passes de Angelis and Winkelhock to reach 3rd by lap 25. Passed by Rosberg, but regains 3rd place when the Williams stops for tyres. Passed by Rosberg and Arnoux again, but regains 4th when Arnoux spins. However, engine blows three laps from the end - still no points for defending world champion. Fabi improves to 11th by lap 7. Then battles with de Cesaris and the Tyrrells until spinning out of 7th on lap 43 after hitting Palmer while trying to lap the RAM.

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

High hopes of competitive showing seem wide of the mark as Brundle qualifies 21st and Bellof (whose car is repainted black, and now bears the patronage of German restaurant chain Maredo) 22nd. However, both make superb progress to run 9th and 10th by lap 30, Bellof ahead despite spinning on lap 20. He presses de Angelis and holds off Fabi, reaching 5th before being passed by Rosberg and Arnoux. The former's late retirement promotes him to 6th, despite water ballast stop, for his first championship point after a stunning drive. Brundle runs 8th until lap 51 tyre stop, and retires a lap later when poorly-fitted wheel flies off.

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

Both drivers struggle with difficult Honda power delivery on difficult, sandy Zolder surface. Rosberg produces usual stunning qualifying performance to start 3rd (despite a blown Honda on Friday), with Laffite an unhappy 15th. Rosberg stalls at the start, and gets away 21st. Charges superbly, passing most of the field to reach the top 6 on lap 24. Doesn't stop there, adding Winkelhock and Piquet to his scalps and taking over 2nd when Warwick pits. Stops himself on lap 43, but trouble fitting tyres causes massive delay. Unfazed, charges again, passing Bellof and de Angelis in one move, then Piquet and pressures Arnoux into a spin. Loses hard-earned 3rd place when car runs out of fuel halfway around the last lap (blaming a faulty fuel gauge), but still classified 4th. Laffite also has a bad start, dropping to 21st. Climbs to 15th, only to be caught out when Honda V6 kicks in unexpectedly mid-corner on lap 16, spinning and stalling.

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

After dominant displays in the first two races, team struggles at Zolder, giving the opposition hope. Prost qualifies 8th, Lauda 14th (with engine trouble on both days of practice). Prost takes over 6th for a lap when Patrese retires, before dropping out on lap 6 when engine electrics fail. Lauda makes little progress, pitting for tyres from 7th on lap 30. Only lasts six more laps before engine blows due to punctured radiator.

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

Even with second 1984 car for Palmer, team continues to struggle. Alliot 25th fastest on Friday, but suffers engine failure in his car on Saturday morning, then turbo failure when borrowing Palmer's in afternoon session, and fails to qualify. Palmer slowest of all on first day, but improves to qualify in last place. Briefly heads Baldi on the first lap, and then repasses him on lap 33. However, repeatedly lapped by front runners (and is blamed by Fabi for causing the Italian's retirement, and accused of baulking by Bellof) and has dreadful lap 41 tyre stop (the team's first) which allows Baldi back ahead. Continues to finish 11th and last, five laps behind.

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

Despite apparent Goodyear supremacy at Zolder, Lotus not as fast as expected, with de Angelis 5th and Mansell 10th on the grid. Mansell loses four places at the start and struggles with a broken clutch and disappearing gears, giving up the struggle on lap 15 when in 16th. Meanwhile, de Angelis is unable to match the leaders on hard tyres, struggling for grip all race. Passed by Piquet, Rosberg and Cheever, and unable to shake Bellof's Tyrrell. Hangs on to finish lapped 5th.

14. Manfred Winkelhock (Ger)

Superb weekend from Winkelhock, who qualifies superb 6th. Moves up to 4th at the start and keeps in touch with Arnoux for first twenty laps. However, tyres begin to fade, and loses out to Piquet, Rosberg and Cheever before pitting on lap 33. Botched stop drops him to 11th, and out of 10th on lap 40 with engine failure, a poor reward for a great drive.

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

Warwick, gaining supremacy within the team, starts 4th (fastest Michelin qualifier) with Tambay 12th after endless mechanical trouble. Warwick to 2d at the start. Unable to match Alboreto but unchallenged until lap 33 stop drops him to 3rd. Regains 2nd when Rosberg stops, and stays there for his best result yet. Tambay up to 10th at the start, but with badly handling car and troublesome engine slips down the order, pitting for new tyres from 12th on lap 24. Passes Senna and Surer to reach 8th, only to spin and let the Brazilian back ahead. Finishes disappointed 8th, two laps down - but at least not running out of fuel this time.

Arrows A6-Cosworth
17. Marc Surer (Swz)
Arrows A7-BMW
18. Thierry Boutsen (Bel)

New BMW-powered Arrows A7 debuts in the hands of Boutsen. He qualifies 16th, and is up to 13th by the end of the first lap. Pits from 11th for long stop to fix misfire on lap 8. Retires lap 16 with engine failing to improve. Surer, in Cosworth A6, starts 24th. Passes five cars on the first lap, and during non-stop run later battles with Senna and Tambay on his way to 9th, two laps behind.

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

Team still unhappy with Pirelli's tyres. Cecotto qualifies 16th, with Senna 19th. Both have a nightmare first lap, with Senna dropping to 23rd and Cecotto barely completing the tour before broken clutch ends race. Senna passes Hesnault, Surer and Laffite to reach 13th before lap 34 tyre stop, despite lack of clutch and loss of rev counter. Then runs with Tambay and Surer again, winning out to finish 7th, two laps behind. New TG184 runs at Zolder private test shortly before race, but championship debut still to be confirmed.

Spirit 101-Hart
21. Mauro Baldi (It)

Team rumoured to be replacing Baldi with Jean-Louis Schlesser, but the Italian finds more sponsorship and will continue for now. In new white colour scheme, qualifies 25th after an engine failure in practice. Battles with Palmer's RAM for much of the race, winning out only to retire from 12th (of 13 runners) on lap 53 when a broken front right shock absorber causes suspension failure.

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

Nimble Goodyear-shod 184T runs well at Zolder, with Patrese qualifying 7th and Cheever 11th. Patrese holds 6th until lap 3 retirement with broken ignition. Cheever makes good start to 8th. Passed by Piquet and Rosberg, but takes de Angelis and Winkelhock to reach 5th, only for turbo to break on lap 29.

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

Despite bandaged hands, Ghinzani recovers well enough from Kyalami accident to qualify solid 20th. Shoots up to 16th at the start and advances to impressive 12th by lap 12, only for car to lose drive to rear wheels, causing retirement.

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

Team still seem listless, with de Cesaris qualifying 13th and Hesnault 23rd. After good start, de Cesaris reaches 9th by lap 6. Then passed by Lauda, Fabi and Ghinzani in rapid succession, but improves to 6th before lap 36 tyre stop. Only lasts four laps more before sliding off on marbles when 10th. Hesnault makes little progress, running ahead of only Baldi and Palmer when a radiator leak causes retirement on lap 16.

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

Amazing turnaround after disastrous South African Grand Prix, and poor performance on Friday. With Goodyear tyres and C4 chassis suiting Zolder, Alboreto takes first-ever pole, with Arnoux alongside. With perfect start, Alboreto then leads from start to finish in dominant fashion, first Italian to win for Ferrari since Ludovico Scarfiotti at the 1966 Italian Grand Prix. Arnoux down to 3rd behind Warwick at start, and runs there under pressure from Winkelhock until lap 25 tyre stop. Rejoins 13th, and initially makes little progress. However, picks up speed in last quarter of the race (setting fastest lap), passing Rosberg and Piquet to run 3rd. Runs wide and drops to 5th, but back up to full-distance 3rd after the Williams and Brabham both hit problems. Team opens 1984 account with 13 points, immediately moving up to 2nd place in constructors' table.