The race saw future World Champion, Ayrton Senna make his debut. The Brazilian youngster qualified 16th but retired early on with a turbo failure. Also among the débutants was Martin Brundle who finished an impressive 5th in the Tyrrell-Ford. Brundle, however, was stripped of this finish when the Tyrrell team were disqualified from the championship for a technical infringement. Brundle's team-mate and fellow débutant, Stefan Bellof, failed to finish due to a throttle malfunction.
Nelson Piquet had been crowned the world champion of 1983, however his success was shrouded in controversy. His team, Brabham-BMW operated by FOM President, Bernie Ecclestone had admitted to cheating throughout the 1983 season. In response to this, a very lenient penalty from the FISA President, Jean-Marie Balestre had raised questions as to whether Balestre had permitted Ecclestone was using his position to rig the championship in his favour.
Despite these dark political overtones, the new Formula One scene would start with much anticipation. Although Nelson Piquet remained the champion, the Brabham team had their reputation tarnished after the cheating scandal from the previous year. Their new car, the BT54, did not have any particularly distinguished differences to their 1983 challenger, the BT53.
To partner Piquet, Ecclestone had appointed Teo Fabi to join him in the team. Fabi, however would be competing in the CART series in the United States simultaneously. When the two series clashed, Teo Fabi would be replaced in the races by his own brother, Corrado Fabi.
Similarly to Brabham, Ferrari's new challenger, the 126C4 appears to be only a simple evolution from the previous years 126C3. Nonetheless, the simple consistency in Ferrari's performances had scored them a World Constructors' Championship in both the previous two years. René Arnoux had been an outside contender for the championship in 1983, however he would be expected to lift his game with Michele Alboreto, Formula One's rising talent joining him in the Ferrari team.
Losing the world title in 1983 had been a catastrophic defeat for Renault. The team were left even more disheartened when after exposing the Brabham cheating scandal, the governing body had taken little action in penalising the team. Although their driver, Alain Prost, had been the title favourite throughout the season the final race of the season had saw him lose the title to Piquet's Brabham. Shortly afterwards, Prost was announced to have been sacked from the team due to his failure. However there were political suggestions that these were not the true reasons he was sacked from the team.
Nonetheless, despite the political instability, Renault had a fresh new line-up with rising talent, Derek Warwick and Ferrari recruit, Patrick Tambay. Tambay boosted morale in the team by announcing they would be making a challenge for the World Championship.
Kyalami was the original venue for the opening round of the 1984 season, however the race was moved to a later time in the championship to allow the race organisers to garner more sponsorship. The race was notable home territory for reigning world champion, Nelson Piquet however the Brazilian driver and his team Brabham-BMW had been suffering from reliability problems in pre-season testing, foreboding grim prospects for the race ahead.
Debuting in Rio was the reigning British Formula Three champion, Ayrton Senna who would be competing at his home event for his debut with the Toleman team. Alongside Senna to make their Formula One debuts was Senna's F3 championship rival Martin Brundle and Stefan Bellof of the Tyrrell team as well as François Hesnault of Ligier and Phillipe Alliot of RAM.
The full entry list for the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix is shown below:
In qualifying, Piquet's reliability problems with his Brabham came to the foreground suffering an engine failure which saw him place only seventh on the grid. Ferrari, Renault, McLaren and Lotus battled for pole position in a thrilling session which went down to the wire. In the end it was Elio de Angelis of Lotus that took the pole time. Michele Alboreto's debut with the Ferrari team saw him line-up second ahead of Derek Warwick, his first race for the front running Renault team. Alain Prost's first race for McLaren in four years saw him line-up fourth ahead of Nigel Mansell and McLaren teammate Niki Lauda. Mansell being unable to equal De Angelis's time due to a spin into the gravel early in the Saturday session.
The Lotus's were quick but had faced stiff competition from Ferrari, Renault and McLaren. McLaren in particular had not showed their true hand, Lauda and Prost focussing on race set-up rather than grid position throughout practice.
The first grand prix of the season was set in extremely hot conditions, as a result there was expected to be many victims of mechanical failure in the race. On the formation lap Andrea de Cesaris's Ligier stalled, forcing the start to be delayed by an extra half an hour.
On the second formation lap, both the reigning champion Nelson Piquet and Johnny Cecotto's Arrows stalled. Rather than risk a further delay to the race, the Brazilian race organisers ordered the commencement of the race despite the stricken duo of Piquet and Cecotto. Piquet was able to get going with an assisting push from the marshalls and started from the back of the grid whilst Cecotto and De Cesaris made their starts from the pit-lane.
Taking the lead at the start was Michele Alboreto on his Ferrari debut, behind him De Angelis immediately began to suffer from a misfiring engine and dropped behind Derek Warwick, Nigel Mansell and Niki Lauda. Alain Prost had also made a poor start, his McLaren suffering from gearbox issues dropped down to tenth place. Stefan Bellof had got a flier of a start on his debut climbing from twenty second to fourteenth.
On the second lap, Lauda moved his way past Mansell and began to pressure Warwick's Renault ahead of him. Meanwhile the second McLaren of Prost began to make up for his poor start and began to move through the field, getting past Arnoux, Rosberg and Tambay in the following laps. Ayrton Senna's Toleman became the first retirement of 1984 when he pulled out with boost issues on lap 9.
The following lap, Warwick who had been holding Lauda up for a number of laps was shoved out of the way by the McLaren driver who moved into second behind Alboreto who continued to lead convincingly at the front. Whilst maintaining a lead, the Ferrari driver had been suffering from brake troubles and on lap eleven Alboreto spun at the final corner, meaning Lauda inherited the race lead.
Alboreto returned to the pits for a fix, the Ferrari mechanics tweaked the calipers however it was all for naught and a lap later Alboreto was back in the pits to retire. At this time, Stefan Bellof's impressive debut also came to an end with throttle problems and as did Mauro Baldi's Spirit who had distributor failure.
Lauda and Warwick held a convincing lead whilst Mansell who was some way back in third was being harrowed by Prost's McLaren who led a train of cars including Tambay's Renault, Arnoux's Ferrari, De Angelis's Lotus and Rosberg's Williams. On Lap 19, Nelson Piquet moved up into ninth, passing teammate Teo Fabi. It had been a strong comeback drive from the back of the field by Piquet.
|3||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Renault||61||+59.128s||1||4|
|4||23||Eddie Cheever||Alfa Romeo||60||+1 lap||12||3|
|5||15||Patrick Tambay||Renault||59||Out of fuel||8||2|
|6||18||Thierry Boutsen||Arrows-Ford||59||+2 laps||20||1|
|7||17||Marc Surer||Arrows-Ford||59||+2 laps||24|
|8||10||Jonathan Palmer||RAM-Hart||58||+3 laps||26|
|Ret||16||Derek Warwick||Renault||51||Front suspension||3|
|Ret||26||Andrea de Cesaris||Ligier-Renault||42||Gearbox||14|
|Ret||22||Riccardo Patrese||Alfa Romeo||41||Gearbox||11|
|Ret||24||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||28||Gearbox||21|
|Ret||25||François Hesnault||Ligier-Renault||25||Engine Overheating||19|
|Ret||9||Philippe Alliot||RAM-Hart||24||Battery mounting||25|
|Ret||20||Johnny Cecotto||Toleman-Hart||18||Turbo boost pressure||17|
|Ret||27||Michele Alboreto||Ferrari||14||Brake caliper||2|
|DSQ||4||Stefan Bellof||Tyrrell-Ford||11||Throttle linkage||22|
|Ret||19||Ayrton Senna||Toleman-Hart||8||Turbo boost pressure||16|
|EX||14||Manfred Winkelhock||ATS-BMW||0||Mechanics pushed car into pits|
Standings after raceEdit
Note: These standings are adjusted to reflect the disqualification of Tyrrell and their drivers, Martin Brundle and Stefan Bellof. Their points have been appropriately reallocated.
|V T E||Brazilian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Interlagos (1973 - 1977, 1979 - 1980, 1990 - Present), Jacarepaguá (1978, 1981 - 1989)|
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