Grand Prix Classic




Round 6 - Monaco Grand Prix
Monaco, 31 May-3 June, 1984

After five races on relatively fast, modern tracks the 1984 Formula 1 series made its' first visit to a street circuit with the Monaco Grand Prix. With its' cramped facilities, potential for heavy wear and tear on machines and general glitz factor, the circuit is disliked by mechanics, but sponsors love the glamour of the event.

It also has a habit of throwing up enthralling races - 1981 had seen Gilles Villeneuve's turbo Ferrari chase down Alan Jones' Williams; 1982 had seen a late shower turn a Prost cakewalk into a bizarre free-for-all eventually won by Riccardo Patrese, despite the Italian spinning off a lap from the end, and a similarly slippery track in 1983 had seen Keke Rosberg produce a virtuoso display of car control to take victory in his Cosworth-engined Williams, much against the form book.

Elsewhere, there was more street-track related news as the organisers of the proposed Spanish Grand Prix around Fuengirola, the organisers claiming they would not be able to build the circuit over the summer during the resort's peak tourist season. Instead, a contract was agreed with the Portuguese government, who were revamping the circuit at Estoril.


Entry Notes

With Teo Fabi in America honouring his CART contract with Forsythe Racing (he was racing at Milwaukee, amid garbled press reports he intended to retire from motorsport at the end of the year...), his younger brother Corrado - who had driven with Osella in 1983 - took over the second Brabham via a slightly bizarre agreement with sponsors Parmalat.

At Arrows, it was due to be Surer's turn to take the BMW-powered A7, but mindful of the advantages of the Cosworth DFV's throttle response and his own superb performance in the A6 at the 1983 edition, he waived his right to the car, allowing Thierry Boutsen to take the machine for the second race running.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

As usual at Monaco, the grid would be compacted to 20 cars for space reasons, though on this occasion there would be no prequalifying to get the sessions down to 26 runners. The days of turbocharged cars being a handicap at Monaco were long gone, and the grid few up relatively few surprises. Prost took his first pole position for McLaren with a masterful lap, instilling his rivals with fear - the McLaren-TAG hadn't been anything special in qualifying so far in 1984, running much better in race trim. If it was on pole, what would it be like in the race? His only serious competition came from an on-form Mansell, qualifying on the front row for the first time in the Lotus. Behind them came the much-improved Ferrari cars, Arnoux ahead of Alboreto, with the Renaults (Warwick in front of Tambay) on row 3. Rounding out the top 10 were de Cesaris, Lauda, Piquet and Rosberg.

Down the back, Corrado Fabi qualified 15th for his Brabham debut, while Osella celebrated Ghinzani's 19th position (their first qualification at Monaco after four years of trying) like pole position. No-one was especially surprised to see the two RAMs and Baldi miss the cut, or Boutsen's ill-handling Arrows-BMW. The Cosworth cars were in an unfortunate position - Ken Tyrrell was confident his nimble 012s would figure well should they get into the race, but with qualifying tyres and settings favouring the turbos, that would be a big ask. In the end Bellof made it in 20th - he would have been dislodged by Brundle, but the Englishman lost it at Tabac, ripping two wheels off the car (which skidded along on its' side for fifty yards, leaving black tarmac marks on his helmet and overalls). Surer was also out of luck in the Arrows.

Joining these was Eddie Cheever, in somewhat controversial circumstances. The Alfas had looked dreadful on Thursday, and were no better on Saturday morning. Patrese, however, found a tweak that transformed the car for the afternoon and promptly qualified a safe 14th - but neglected to pass on the tip to his team-mate, much to the American's fury.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

Sunday was wet - not just the gloom or drizzle that the last two races at Monaco had seen, but relentless rain. It rained all through the warm-up (topped by Lauda, de Cesaris and Rosberg) and showed no signs of abating as the race started. Indeed, the organisers went so far as to water the track's tunnel section to avoid a dry section of track which would rapidly wear the full-tread wet weather tyres everyone was running.

The start seemed orderly at first, Prost firmly getting away from Mansell. However, at Saint Devote chaos broke out as Warwick tried to go around the outside of Arnoux, and the Ferrari slid off the inside kerb and knocked the Renault into the barrier sideways. Warwick was then promptly hit by team-mate Tambay, de Cesaris took avoiding action and was clouted by team-mate Hesnault, while de Angelis and Patrese were brought to a grinding halt before reversing, steering around the Renaults and setting off after the remaining cars. Worryingly, the low-speed impact injured both Renault drivers - the front of Warwick's car snapped off from the impact, the Englishman limping away with a bruised left leg (to match the right one he acquired at Dijon), while Tambay had to be lifted from his car with what was later found to be a fractured leg.

Good work by the marshals saw the unfortunate Tambay swiftly carried to a stretcher and both Renaults craned away before the second lap began, with Prost pursued by Mansell, then a gap to Arnoux and Alboreto. The Ferraris were being caught by Lauda, with Rosberg, Winkelhock, Laffite and Senna followed by Bellof, who had made another stunning start from 20th and last on the grid. Next to go was Cecotto, sliding off into the Saint Devote run-off, while his team-mate swept past a cautious Laffite.

Lauda was the other man on the move, diving past Alboreto at the hairpin on lap 3, and then blasting past Arnoux on the climb to Massanet two laps later. However, after briefly pulling away from the red cars he seemed to find his limit, and couldn't close on the leading pair. By now there were more incidents - Patrese, trying to recover from his first corner delay, shouldered Hesnault into a spin, Fabi span and stalled his misfiring Brabham and Alboreto was the latest victim of Saint Devote, though he managed to cajole the marshals into giving him a push and continued in 15th and last.

By now Mansell was really pressing Prost, and their battle came upon Fabi's Brabham at Portier, both were forced to take avoiding action, Prost brushing one of the marshals (without injury). Both drivers were surprised, but Mansell gathered himself more quickly and nipped into the lead. He then strolled away from the McLaren for five laps, pushing too hard considering the conditions and a complete absence of a counterattack from Prost until he put a tyre on a painted road marking going up the hill. The car snapped right and clouted the barrier. With the rear wing deranged, Mansell plugged on for a couple of corners before spinning backwards at Mirabeau, the right-rear suspension broken.

This left Prost back in the lead with Lauda a comfortable distance back, but behind his team-mate others were on the move. Senna was looking potent in the Toleman, despite a lucky escape after riding a kerb and an extended battle with Rosberg. Having got past the Williams, he made short work of Arnoux and set off after Lauda. Bellof meanwhile had passed Laffite, Winkelhock and Rosberg and was now chasing after the Ferrari, thoroughly enjoying the sharp throttle response of the DFY in conditions where horsepower was irrelevant. Piquet and Hesnault had by now joined the retirements, while de Angelis was finally making some progress in the remaining Lotus.

Senna got into second and set off after Prost with alacrity, the lead McLaren suffering from braking problems, while the battle between Arnoux, Bellof, Rosberg and Winkelhock was gaining on Lauda. The ATS wouldn't last much longer before sliding off at the chicane on lap 22 as Winkelhock tried to dive past Rosberg and lost control, while a lap later Lauda simply lost the rear end at Casino and looped off, stalling his engine. Bellof was really pressing Arnoux, and finally found an opening on lap 26 on the descent to Mirabeau. Seeing the gap too late, Arnoux simply moved over on the Tyrrell, but Bellof held his line as they touched and took third, then rapidly pulled away.

By now Prost was losing four seconds a lap to Senna, and his thirty second cushion rapidly disappeared. On lap 31 he crossed the line gesticulating furiously at the officials, his lead down to seven seconds. On lap 32, as the McLaren headed around the circuit with the Toleman gobbling up its' lead, two marshals stepped out, one with a red flag, one with a chequered flag - race over. Prost immediately pulled in by the pit wall and stood remonstrating with the officials, while Senna blasted past, completing his slowing down lap with his fists punching the air, believing he had won.

When he arrived in Parc Ferme he was told the news that, in accordance with the rules, the results would be taken from the previous lap, and he had lost to Prost by 7 seconds. Controversy reigned. Prost and Rosberg were only angry that the race had been left to run as long as it had. However, many including Senna and Bellof (gaining on both the McLaren and the Toleman when the flag was shown), wanted to know exactly why the race was stopped.

The rain, while hard and showing no signs of going away, was not considerably worse than it had been at the start. Monaco's low speed meant dangerous accidents were unlikely - indeed, Prost's average speed was under 63mph. Attrition had pruned the field to those who were revelling in the conditions and those who were driving sensibly and keeping out of trouble (de Angelis, Ghinzani, Laffite). Visibility was poor, but Monaco's close barriers and wide variety of recognisable land marks meant this wasn't a massive problem. The circuit's gradients made for excellent drainage too, preventing much standing water from gathering. There were dark mutterings about the French marshals helping Prost, or Clerk of the Course Jacky Ickx (who had himself came 2nd in a deluge at the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix) wanting to help Porsche, who he drove for in endurance racing.

Senna and Bellof both wore fixed smiles on the rostrum and got away as soon as possible, all concerned being awarded only half points for their efforts as less than 75% of the race distance had been completed. Fourth went to Arnoux, who struggled with a waterlogged engine to score more points for reliability but had made little impression apart from when chopping Bellof. Rosberg, finding the FW09's understeer and the Honda's throttle lag greatly exacerbated by the conditions, was 5th with a misfire, ahead of de Angelis, who made some solid headway after being stopped by the colliding Renaults and having to move through traffic in spray. Alboreto recovered to 7th, while Ghinzani came home a solid 8th. Laffite, who had pitted on lap 9 with a suspected puncture, was the only other finisher.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG
31
1h 01m 07.740s
1
2
Ayrton Senna Toleman-Hart
31
+ 7.446s
13
3
Stefan Bellof Tyrrell-Cosworth
31
+ 21.141s
20
4
Rene Arnoux Ferrari
31
+ 29.077s
3
5
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda
31
+ 35.246s
10
6
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
31
+ 44.439s
11
7
Michele Alboreto Ferrari
30
+ 1 lap
4
8
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
30
+ 1 lap
19
9
Jacques Laffite Williams-Honda
30
+ 1 lap
16
R
Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo
24
Engine
14
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
23
Spin
8
R
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW
22
Accident
12
R
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault
15
Accident
2
R
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
14
Spin
9
R
Francois Hesnault Ligier-Renault
12
Engine
17
R
Corrado Fabi Brabham-BMW
9
Spin
15
R
Johnny Cecotto Toleman-Hart
1
Spin
18
R
Derek Warwick Renault
0
Accident/Tambay
5
R
Patrick Tambay Renault
0
Accident/Warwick
6
R
Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault
0
Accident damage
7

Fastest Lap: Ayrton Senna (Toleman), 1:54.334s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
28.5
2
Niki Lauda
18
3
Rene Arnoux
14.5
4
Derek Warwick
13
5
Elio de Angelis
12.5
6
Keke Rosberg
11
7
Michele Alboreto
9
8
Patrick Tambay
7
9
Stefan Bellof
5
10=
Nigel Mansell
4
10=
Ayrton Senna
4
12=
Eddie Cheever
3
12=
Riccardo Patrese
3
14=
Martin Brundle
2
14=
Andrea de Cesaris
2
16
Thierry Boutsen
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
McLaren
46.5
2
Ferrari
23.5
3
Renault
20
4
Lotus
16.5
5
Williams
11
6
Tyrrell
7
7
Alfa Romeo
6
8
Toleman
4
9
Ligier
2
10
Arrows
1