Grand Prix Classic


Round 5 - French Grand Prix
Dijon-Prenois, 18-20 May, 1984
Team-by-Team Review


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

Another frustrating meeting, with all development on the chassis frozen while the team tries to get to the bottom of its' BMW troubles. Piquet qualifies 3rd, but drops to 6th at the start. Gets by Rosberg but promptly passed by Lauda, and retires on lap 12 when another turbo blows. Fabi suffers a turbo failure during Friday practice, and qualifies 17th by borrowing Piquet's car. He makes up four places in the first three laps, and advances to 6th by lap 34. Passed by Warwick, Prost and Arnoux before lap 46 stop, and works his way back up to 8th, but unable to hold resurgent Prost. Nevertheless comes home 9th for first ever Grand Prix finish, and Brabham's first of 1984.



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

Despite lack of straight-line speed, nimble light 012 handles beautifully through Dijon's curves. Bellof qualifies 20th, with Brundle 23rd. Bellof makes another good start and challenges Laffite for 16th. However, effect of tow from the Williams sends his rev counter off the dial. Believing the engine to be about to blow, pulls off in a sandtrap mistakenly thinking he's preventing an expensive blow-out. Brundle advances to 15th by lap 24, but misinterprets one of Mansell's pit signals and pulls in on lap 28. After brief panic gets new tyres and continues to finish 12th, three laps down, after lap 74 water stop.



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

Team finds chronic understeer returns at Dijon. Rosberg pulls out another top qualifying lap to start 4th, with Laffite 12th. Rosberg holds 6th until lap 3, but then passed by a string of pursuers, spending most of the first stint in 8th. Pits from 7th on lap 46, and finishes lapped 6th, just holding off Prost despite failing boost. Laffite loses five places at the start, and struggles with the Tyrrells initially, but improves to 8th before lap 50 pitstop. Runs 7th until lap 70, but is unable to hold off Prost. Comes home lapped 8th for first Honda finish.



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

Another ultra-impressive weekend. Once again McLaren concentrate on race set-up in qualifying, with Prost taking 5th on the grid and Lauda 9th (after an engine blows). Both then move up rapidly in the race to sit 2nd (Prost) and 3rd (Lauda) by lap 22. Prost right behind Tambay when vibration causes him to run wide and pit for new tyres on lap 28. Lauda then begins pressuring Tambay, and takes lead on lap 40. Stays there until lap 54 stop drops him to 2nd, but catches Tambay at a rate of knots, retaking the lead on lap 60 and staying there for second victory of 1984. Prost advances to 4th by lap 54, but stops again on lap 56 with vibration still present. Problem traced to screws in the disc bell. Problem sorted, and Prost sets fastest lap during late charge - but unable to advance beyond lapped 7th place. Team now have same points as 2nd and 3rd placed constructors (Ferrari and Lotus) combined.



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

Some encouragement as Palmer qualifies 21st and Alliot 22nd, despite sharing a car in the Friday session after Alliot spins in the morning (the team still has no spare). Neither car runs in wet Saturday session. In the race, with heavy understeer on full tanks, both drop back. Alliot out of 24th on lap 4 with electrical failure. Palmer perseveres in ill-handling car, baulking several drivers and running last for most of the race (briefly passing Baldi when the Spirit driver has an off) on the way to an exhausted 14th place, 7 laps down.



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

Revised rear wing gives 95T excellent straight-line speed, with de Angelis qualifying 2nd and Mansell 6th (after wastegate problem in only dry session. Both make good starts, and de Angelis presses Tambay during early stages while Mansell follows both. However, running less boost, neither is able to keep with Michelin runners. Lap 37 stop drops de Angelis from 3rd to 6th, and with new tyres causing oversteer he loses battle for 4th to Arnoux, instead coming home 5th. Mansell pits from 4th on lap 30 and shakes out 3rd after others stop. Pressed by Warwick until the Renault crashes, and comes home otherwise unchallenged for first points of 1984. Team are frustrated to find around 15 litres of fuel in each car at the end of the race, being unaware they could have ran a lot more boost without jeopardising their fuel consumption.



ATS D7-BMW
14. Manfred Winkelhock (Ger)

With revised, lighter D7 once more Winkelhock is fastest Pirelli qualifier, in magnificent 8th - despite blowing an engine on his second run, having sat on provisional pole briefly after his first. Once again, race is troubled and short-lived. Runs 10th laps 1-2 but then stops with brake and clutch problems on lap 3. Continues for two more laps before problems become terminal.



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

With new fuel heating process to improve consumption, Tambay takes team's first pole since Belgium, with Warwick 7th. Determined Tambay holds off de Angelis and then Prost before running wide under pressure from Lauda on lap 40. Runs 2nd, stopping on lap 44 for tyres. Retakes the lead on lap 54 when Lauda pits, but forced back to 2nd six laps later. Finishes there for first untroubled Renault finish. Warwick up to 4th at the start, but passed by both McLarens. Pits from 4th on lap 37, and then charges after Mansell on softer tyres. However, collides with Surer while lapping the Arrows, crashing into catch fencing and badly bruises right leg when the car's suspension arm comes through the footwell.



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

Boutsen finds A7 now suffering heavy understeer, but qualifies in 14th. Unable to advance further than 11th before lap 40 tyre stop, and comes home in same position despite a turbo blowing when crossing the line. Surer qualifies old Cosworth car in 19th, and runs behind Boutsen before tangling with Warwick while a lapped 13th on lap 41, retiring.



Toleman TG184-Hart
19. Ayrton Senna (Brz)
20. Johnny Cecotto (Ven)

Team now on Michelin tyres, and with new TG184 chassis. Senna qualifies 13th, greatly enthused by the new rubber, with Cecotto 18th after fuel pressure problems. Cecotto drops to 21st at the start, and advances to 17th before turbo fails on lap 22. Senna runs with Fabi for much of the race, running 9th on laps 28-34 until also suffering a turbo failure when 10th on lap 36.



Spirit 101-Hart
21. Mauro Baldi (It)

Baldi finds enough money to continue for another race, and qualifies near plain-white car 24th. Runs ahead of Palmer until running off on lap 38. Makes precautionary tyre stop and repasses the RAM, only to retire on lap 63 when engine fails. Impoverished team have revised suspension on the drawing board, but no funds to manufacture it.



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

Unimpressive weekend despite revised radiators and aerodynamics as V8 turbo struggles with Dijon's long straight. Patrese qualifies 15th, one place ahead of Cheever (who loses an engine on Friday afternoon), and drops out of 14th on lap 16 with a broken turbo. Cheever battles through to 11th by lap 51, only to spin off when rear wing falls apart.



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

Ghinzani qualifies 25th, two seconds slower than anyone else after ignition trouble gives him only three timed laps (had de Cesaris not had his times disallowed, Ghinzani would have failed to qualify). In the race keeps ahead of Baldi and the RAM cars, but - with boost turned down to aid fuel consumption - unable to challenge Brundle's Tyrrell. Ends up 13th, five laps down, for team's first finish of 1984.



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

Hesnault qualifies well in 14th despite a collision with Patrese, but de Cesaris has Friday times disallowed due to empty extinguisher. Then 3rd and 4th on wet Saturday, but Hesnault 'voluntarily' withdraws to allow de Cesaris to start in 26th. He makes swift progress through the tail enders, but - with hard tyres for non-stop run and plagued by a lack of grip - is unable to defeat Fabi's Brabham and finishing 10th, seemingly quite uncomfortable about the whole situation.



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

Team once again unimpressive. Alboreto 10th on the grid, with Arnoux 11th. Alboreto runs in 9th before early (lap 24) tyre stop drops him to 16th. Rises to 12th, but out on lap 33 when engine blows. Arnoux does better, passing Rosberg and keeping Warwick in sight until lap 33 stop. Struggles to pass de Angelis in later stages, but gets by into 4th on lap 61, and finishes there to score three points.