Grand Prix Classic




Round 11 - German Grand Prix
Hockenheim, 3-5 August, 1984

Hockenheim would provide something of a point of pride for a German motor industry trying to recover from a metal workers' strike - nine of the ten races so far this season had been won by German-built engines, even if Ron Dennis' PR men were at pains to point out that the McLaren's engine was a TAG, merely built by Porsche. The Stuttgart company kept quiet, but the onlookers knew what it was.

The irony was that Hockenheim, with its' long straights, was hard on engines, and chances were high one or both of the companies would suffer a failure in the race. With Lauda's win in Britain, the championship was now very carefully balanced, while Piquet remained a factor despite two failures to finish since his back-to-back wins in Canada and Detroit.


Entry Notes

Tyrrell's ban from the series was lifted pending their full appeal to the FISA Executive Committee, though as yet their points were not reinstated. As Stefan Bellof was away honouring his Rothmans Porsche endurance racing contract at the Mosport 1000km, Tyrrell called in recently-crowned Formula 2 champion Mike Thackwell - who had already driven for RAM at the Canadian Grand Prix - to take over the team's second car, alongside Stefan Johansson.

Elsewhere, Toleman had been unable to find a satisfactory replacement for the injured Johnny Cecotto, instead making a single entry for Ayrton Senna, while Teo Fabi had successfully negotiated his way out of his CART contract, and now run full-time for Brabham in Formula 1.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

With his consistency having put him within striking range of the McLaren drivers, Elio de Angelis was on form all weekend, but was just nudged off pole by Prost. Renault showed an improvement to lock out the second row, Warwick ahead of Tambay, while Piquet was a disappointed 5th in front of Alboreto, Lauda, Fabi (showing much improvement after dropping his Indycar programme), Senna and Arnoux.

The second day of practice had started out damp, but the track was dry enough by the afternoon to allow competitive times to be set. However, Mansell was down in 14th after numerous troubles, while Rosberg was back in 19th after being slowest of all on Friday, the Finn also suffering from a procession of mechanical problems. Down at the very back the Tyrrells were always likely to struggle - and indeed were slower than they had been in 1983, which the team blamed on the radial tyres they were using now. Johansson was 26th, nearly three seconds slower than Palmer in 25th and well over 12 seconds slower than Prost, with Thackwell less than a tenth behind the Swede.

Tyrrell asked for dispensation for Thackwell to start as Gartner had in Britain. The stewards were a little bemused by this, seeing as Gartner had started at Brands only because he had been bumped from the grid by possibly-banned Tyrrells and Thackwell would have failed to qualify if the team's appeal against their ban was successful or outright disqualified if it wasn't. However, they agreed that if Tyrrell could get the signatures of all the other teams, Thackwell could start. Ferrari's Mauro Piccinini, mindful of various protests Tyrrell had laid against his team in the recent past, declined to sign, and the New Zealander would be a non-qualifier.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

Hockenheim was gloomy on race day, having rained again in the early hours of the morning. However, the warm-up had been dry, even if the grey clouds over the circuit refused to disappear entirely. When the race got underway, it was de Angelis who led into the first corner, his determination continuing as he out-dragged Prost and fended off the fast-starting Warwick. The latter found himself on the wrong side of the track for the first right-hander, and was forced down behind Prost with Piquet all over him. The Brabham got a good run at the Renault coming out of the first chicane, and the BMW power was enough to put him into third. Behind Warwick came Tambay, Senna, Alboreto, Lauda, Fabi, Surer and Arnoux. The Arrows would rapidly disappear with faulty injection, while Senna had a big go at Tambay at the second chicane but couldn't get by after putting a wheel on the grass, and had to wait a lap, while Lauda soon disposed of the Ferrari. Rosberg, meanwhile, finished the first lap in 16th, and was passing cars like they weren't there.

At the head of the field, de Angelis was looking very cool despite being pressured by Prost and Piquet, suddenly looking every inch a title contender. Warwick, Senna and Lauda were being left behind somewhat by the front trio, and the Toleman would soon be pitched into the barriers when a rear aerofoil collapsed unexpectedly coming into the first chicane's braking zone. Piquet closed right up to Prost, while de Angelis was preserving his tyres, keeping Prost neatly behind without really being threatened. However, on the ninth lap de Angelis' engine suddenly expired leaving the Clark chicane, and his race was over.

Piquet took full advantage, getting right up with Prost as the Lotus pulled off, and flashed past before the lap was done, having gone from third to first. The pair were evenly matched, neither putting a foot wrong, with Lauda having worked his way past Warwick, but unable to close on the leaders. The gallant Rosberg had reached an astonishing 4th by lap 9 from 19th on the grid, but a lap later was out, an electrical failure stranding him out on the circuit the same lap Laffite (having his best race for too long) retired with engine failure, while Alboreto dropped out with a similar failure.

Piquet wasn't giving Prost an inch, and built a slight cushion when the Brabham's straight-line speed helped him in traffic. However, the whole fascinating duel came to a halt when Piquet began losing gears, and after one slow lap he pulled into the Brabham pits. Ever the joker, he waited until the mechanics had fitted a change of tyres before climbing from the cockpit in fits of laughter. Sadly, the race as a contest went with him. Lauda briefly began to close on Prost, but the championship leader reeled off a batch of fast laps to break his challenge.

Warwick was holding 3rd, running well but with a car that just wasn't fast enough. He was challenged by the much-improved Fabi until his boost disappeared five laps after Piquet's retirement. This left Tambay 4th, Mansell 5th and Arnoux 6th after a tyre stop. The only entertainment on show was Mansell's steady pursuit of Tambay and a surprisingly full-blooded duel between the Ligiers of de Cesaris and Hesnault over 7th place, the French novice doing well to match his experienced team-mate tooth and claw. Johansson, driving his heart out despite a massive straight-line speed deficit leaving him with no chance of catching anyone, and Rothengatter were the only other runners.

Aside from Mansell finally squeezing past an ardent Tambay on lap 33 after 10 laps of cat and mouse, everyone just reeled off the remaining laps, with no-one really in much of a position to do much about anyone else, and even the Ligier scrap had an underwhelming finish when Hesnault's engine began spluttering and he coasted home in 8th. Prost's win was his first since Monaco, and saw him edge further in front of Lauda, while the retirements of de Angelis and Piquet virtually ended their hopes of seriously challenging the McLaren drivers.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG
44
1h 24m 43.210s
1
2
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
44
+ 3.149s
7
3
Derek Warwick Renault
44
+ 36.423s
3
4
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault
44
+ 51.663s
16
5
Patrick Tambay Renault
44
+ 1m 11.949s
4
6
Rene Arnoux Ferrari
43
+ 1 lap
10
7
Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault
43
+ 1 lap
11
8
Francois Hesnault Ligier-Renault
43
+ 1 lap
17
9
Stefan Johansson Tyrrell-Cosworth
42
+ 2 laps
26
10
Huub Rothengatter Spirit-Hart
40
+ 4 laps
24
R
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW
31
Gearbox
13
R
Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo
29
Engine
18
R
Teo Fabi Brabham-BMW
28
Boost
8
R
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
23
Gearbox
5
R
Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo
16
Metering unit
20
R
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
14
Electrics
21
R
Jo Gartner Osella-Alfa Romeo
13
Turbo
23
R
Michele Alboreto Ferrari
13
Engine
6
R
Jonathan Palmer RAM-Hart
11
Turbo
25
R
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda
10
Electrics
19
R
Jacques Laffite Williams-Honda
10
Engine
12
R
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW
8
Oil pressure
15
R
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
8
Turbo
2
R
Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart
7
Engine
22
R
Ayrton Senna Toleman-Hart
4
Accident
9
R
Marc Surer Arrows-BMW
1
Turbo
14

Fastest Lap: Alain Prost (McLaren), 1:53.538s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
43.5
2
Niki Lauda
39
3
Elio de Angelis
26.5
4
Rene Arnoux
24.5
5
Derek Warwick
23
6
Keke Rosberg
20
7
Nelson Piquet
18
8
Michele Alboreto
11
9=
Patrick Tambay
9
9=
Nigel Mansell
9
11
Ayrton Senna
8
12
Jacques Laffite
4
13=
Eddie Cheever
3
13=
Riccardo Patrese
3
13=
Teo Fabi
3
16=
Andrea de Cesaris
2
16=
Piercarlo Ghinzani
2
18
Thierry Boutsen
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
McLaren
82.5
2=
Ferrari
35.5
2=
Lotus
35.5
4
Renault
32
5
Williams
24
6
Brabham
21
7
Toleman
8
8
Alfa Romeo
6
9=
Ligier
2
9=
Osella
2
11
Arrows
1