Grand Prix Classic




Round 7 - Canadian Grand Prix
Montreal, 15-17 June, 1984

With Long Beach no longer on the calendar and the New York street race once again failing to happen, the FIA organised the three North American races to run together over four weekends, making for a flyaway triple bill. The first of these three circuits in Montreal was the only one to be a permanent facility.

In the paddock there was still much debate over the shortening of the Monaco Grand Prix, but FISA had indicated that the results would stand even if they issued a bulletin criticising the organisation of the event, so it remained merely talk. The teams went back to planning how they could stop McLaren - Renault were lurching from disaster to disaster, Brabham just couldn't finish races, Ferrari's win at Zolder was looking more like a fluke with every passing race, the Williams chassis seemed to be a dog and Lotus just couldn't string a whole race weekend together.


Entry Notes

There were several changes to the entry for the Canadian Grand Prix. The race clashed with the Le Mans 24 Hours race, and Jonathan Palmer's contract saw him drive Richard Lloyd's Porsche 956 at the endurance classic. RAM had known about this since the start of the season, and had previously attempted to hire Renault test driver Philippe Streiff to take over the seat; he demurred, and would instead drive John Fitzpatrick's 956 at Le Mans. Instead, the team hired Formula 2 leader Mike Thackwell - who had become the youngest driver to qualify for a Grand Prix at Montreal four years earlier when driving for Tyrrell, but had yet to find a regular Formula 1 drive.

Mauro Baldi was also driving at Le Mans for the works Lancia team, and was having difficulty finding sponsorship anyway. In his place for Spirit came Huub Rothengatter and a clutch of Dutch sponsors, including the Zandvoort circuit itself. He hadn't driven a single-seater since mediocre results in F2 in 1981. The good news for Spirit was that Brian Hart had managed to find enough engines to supply them for the Canadian race at least.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

For the third time in 1984, Nelson Piquet took pole position in the Brabham, showing that the speed of the combination hadn't permanently diminished after mediocre showings in the previous races. Prost was alongside him despite an engine failure in Saturday's timed session, ahead of de Angelis' Lotus and Warwick in the lone Renault. Still sore after his Monaco crash, Tambay had completed three slow laps on Friday morning before deciding the pain was too great to continue, and withdrew. With test driver Streiff and most other candidates at Le Mans, Renault decided to keep things simple and just run Warwick's car.

Arnoux and Alboreto took the third row with the Ferrari 126C4 looking better than it had done for a while, ahead of Mansell, Lauda (who was forced into the spare on Saturday, which he then had to share with Prost), Senna's Toleman and de Cesaris.

With Tambay's withdrawal there were no non-qualifiers. Rothengatter would start his Grand Prix debut from 24th on the grid, while Thackwell - unimpressed by the RAM - at least outqualified team-mate Alliot.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

Most of the attention on Sunday was lavished upon the McLaren drivers, few expecting Piquet to be much of a factor in the race. This seemed to be a sensible diagnosis when Prost eased into the first corner with the lead, but halfway around the first lap Piquet had retaken first place. In third was de Angelis, with both Ferraris looming behind him - the Italian cars had topped Sunday morning's warm-up time - then Warwick and Mansell. The Renault cars were all running with reduced boost in order to sate the V6's fuel consumption's problems.

Lauda was in 8th, but soon got moving - past Mansell on the second lap; past Warwick on lap 4; then into 5th in front of de Angelis on lap 5. However, he then had to deal with the Ferrari pair. The job didn't look easy, but then within four laps their challenge faded. On lap 10, Alboreto's engine blew, and then on lap 14 Arnoux's soft tyres began to break up, so he dived into the pits and dropped to 7th. Lauda then swiftly reeled in the front pair.

Prost's engine was not running cleanly at high revs and he was unable to challenge Piquet, and for his part Piquet was happy to maintain a lead of a couple of seconds, preserving his brakes and taking things easy with the BMW engine, all this allowing Lauda to rapidly close up on them. On fresh tyres, Arnoux picked off Senna, Mansell, de Angelis and Warwick in swift succession, but he was too far back to do much about the leaders. Senna was passed by Rosberg, and then came an enthralling battle between de Cesaris and Cheever, with Bellof, a clutchless Winkelhock and Laffite in close attendance. Behind them came Boutsen and then Patrese, trying every trick in the book - both fair and unfair - to keep Brundle's Tyrrell behind him.

By mid-distance mechanical problems had sidelined both Williams cars, while Patrese had lost out to Brundle and put his Alfa into the barriers trying to retake the position. More ominously for Piquet, both his team-mate Fabi (Corrado again this time) and Boutsen's similarly-engined Arrows went out with BMW-related failures. However, Piquet pressed on, slicing through backmarkers with style and keeping ahead of the McLarens. Still struggling for revs, Prost let Lauda by to see if his team-mate would have better luck - in stark contrast to the Lotus drivers.

Mansell was right up with de Angelis, who promptly deployed his full range of blocks and chops to keep his team-mate behind. Against any other driver it would have been determined, if overzealous, defensive driving; that it was deployed against Mansell made it rather bad form. The Englishman made it past just as the leaders lapped the Lotus cars, and which point de Angelis got the first corner all wrong, off-roaded over the grass and very nearly took Lauda off on rejoining.

After catching and passing Arnoux, Mansell began losing gears and fell back behind the Ferrari and his team-mate. Warwick was running in 4th ahead of the three of them until he pitted with a suspected puncture. The handling failed to improve, so he stopped for a second set. They didn't work either, and another stop revealed the car's undertray was damaged. Arnoux was also to slow with a broken exhaust, allowing de Angelis back into fourth.

Piquet was never less than in complete control, however, and miracle of miracles the BMW lasted. He eased off so Lauda finished only a couple of seconds behind at the flag. As soon as he was in Parc Ferme, Piquet hopped out of the car and ripped off his right boot - he had been suffering from a burnt foot since half distance, caused by the new nose-mounted oil cooler, and had it not been for the team needing a result he would have pulled out. As it was, he had beaten the McLarens in a fair fight on the same tyres, and suddenly the TAG-engined cars' supremacy didn't seem quite so secure.

Behind Prost, de Angelis came home 4th, with Arnoux and Mansell taking rest of the points. Cheever had passed both of them, only for his Alfa Romeo to run out of fuel seven laps from the end, while Senna ended up a respectable 7th - not quite as eye-catching as nearly winning in Monaco, but just as worthy in dry conditions, and as a testament to his efforts he was once again exhausted and needed medical attention afterwards. Behind him came Winkelhock, scoring his first finish of the year after a difficult drive, Cecotto in the second Toleman, Brundle and Alliot (in 11th for his first-ever finish).


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
70
1h 46m 23.748s
1
2
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
70
+ 2.561s
8
3
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG
70
+ 28.032s
2
4
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
69
+ 1 lap
3
5
Rene Arnoux Ferrari
68
+ 2 laps
5
6
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault
68
+ 2 laps
7
7
Ayrton Senna Toleman-Hart
68
+ 2 laps
9
8
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW
68
+ 2 laps
12
9
Johnny Cecotto Toleman-Hart
68
+ 2 laps
20
10
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Cosworth
68
+ 2 laps
21
11
Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart
65
+ 5 laps
26
12
Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo
63
+ 7 laps/Out of fuel
11
R
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
59
Engine
23
R
Derek Warwick Renault
57
Undertray
4
NC
Huub Rothengatter Spirit-Hart
56
Still Running
24
R
Stefan Bellof Tyrrell-Cosworth
52
Driveshaft
22
R
Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault
40
Brakes
10
R
Corrado Fabi Brabham-BMW
39
Turbo
16
R
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW
38
Turbo
18
R
Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo
37
Accident
14
R
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda
32
Timing sensor
15
R
Jacques Laffite Williams-Honda
31
Turbo
17
R
Mike Thackwell RAM-Hart
29
Turbo
25
R
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
11
Gearbox
19
R
Michele Alboreto Ferrari
10
Fuel pressure
6
R
Francois Hesnault Ligier-Renault
7
Engine
13

Fastest Lap: Nelson Piquet (Brabham), 1:28.763s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
32.5
2
Niki Lauda
24
3
Rene Arnoux
16.5
4
Elio de Angelis
15.5
5
Derek Warwick
13
6
Keke Rosberg
11
7=
Michele Alboreto
9
7=
Nelson Piquet
9
9
Patrick Tambay
7
10=
Stefan Bellof
5
10=
Nigel Mansell
5
12
Ayrton Senna
4
13=
Eddie Cheever
3
13=
Riccardo Patrese
3
15=
Martin Brundle
2
15=
Andrea de Cesaris
2
17
Thierry Boutsen
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
McLaren
56.5
2
Ferrari
25.5
3
Lotus
20.5
4
Renault
20
5
Williams
11
6
Brabham
9
7
Tyrrell
7
8
Alfa Romeo
6
9
Toleman
4
10
Ligier
2
11
Arrows
1