The 1984 Monaco Grand Prix was the sixth race of the 1984 Formula One Season. Held on June 3 1984 at the Circuit de Monaco, the race was won by Alain Prost, followed by Ayrton Senna in his rookie season, driving an uncompetitive Toleman to the team's highest ever finish.
Due to treacherous weather conditions, the race was stopped after 31 laps of the scheduled 76. At the time of the red-flag, Senna had been closing the gap on Prost, and would have caught the Frenchman in only a few more laps had the race continued, assuming his pace continued.
Due to the race being stopped before 75% race distance (75% = 57 laps), only half-points were awarded, leaving Alain Prost leading the World Championship by 10.5 points from Niki Lauda.
|8||Andrea de Cesaris|
|12||Elio de Angelis|
The conditions before the race were extremely wet, there would be no doubt that full wet tyres would be required throughout the duration of the race. Niki Lauda, who was the fastest driver during the morning warm-up held concerns over the safety standards going into the start of the race. The contrast between the dry area of the track in the circuit's tunnel and the slippery wet surface of the remainder of the track led to Lauda requesting to FOCA boss Bernie Ecclestone that the marshalls hose down the inside of the tunnel in order to not break the surface consistency of the track. As a result, the race start was delayed by 20 minutes.
Alain Prost, the McLaren driver who would start from pole would be the one driver who would get a clear track at the start, a considerable advantage. The rest of the field having to deal with the tremendous spray of water from the cars in front of them. Nigel Mansell, who would be starting from second on the grid was determined to ensure he got the better start of the two heading into the first corner. Throughout the warm-up, Mansell had been taking his Lotus into the pits and practicing his race starts from the entry to the pit-lane in order to get the jump on Prost.
However at the start, Prost managed to maintain his lead ahead of Mansell. The Ferrari's of René Arnoux and Michele Alboreto followed suit. Behind Arnoux, Derek Warwick's Renault attempts a move around the outside of Arnoux heading into Sainte-Devote. Arnoux however, firmly closes the door forcing Warwick to run wide and slam into the outside wall. This left Warwick's Renault teammate, Patrick Tambay with nowhere to go with Tambay's car slamming hard into the rear of Warwick. A catastrophe for Renault, both their cars eliminated in the first corner. The crippled Renault's leaving a traffic jam into the first corner. Elio de Angelis's Lotus and Riccardo Patrese's Alfa Romeo are stuck directly the Renault pair and have to wait for the entire field to go by in order to return to the race, albeit at the back of the grid. In the first corner confusion, François Hesnault hit the rear of Ligier teammate, Andrea de Cesaris. However unlike the Renault's, the Ligier pair are able to continue, albeit with a damaged front wing for Hesnault.
Warwick emerged from his Renault, like he did after his accident in the previous race at Dijon, limping but otherwise unscathed. Teammate Tambay however had to be carried from the car. Tambay had suffered a fractured fibula on his left leg when a piece of suspension had pierced the hull of his car. Meanwhile at the front, Prost and Mansell managed to escape the first corner drama and held a strong lead over Arnoux, Alboreto, Lauda, Rosberg, Winkelhock, Laffite, Senna and Bellof. Stefan Bellof, getting an incredible start in his normally aspirated Tyrrell, to make it from last on the grid to tenth after one corner.
Following being hit by his teammate going into the first corner, De Cesaris retired from the race at the end of the first lap with suspension damage. The Ligier driver pulled into the pits with irreparable damage. The following lap, Johnny Cecotto spun and stalled, forcing the marshalls to pull his car off track to retire. Cecotto who was at the back of the pack was in stark contrast to his Toleman teammate, Ayrton Senna who was in ninth place. The Toleman mechanics had pulled a gamble on Senna's car. He was fuelled only for 2/3'ds distance. The team hoping the two hour time limit would call an end to the race before the full race distance could be completed, the wet conditions slowing the cars down significantly. The strategy appeared to be working for Senna in the early stages, the Toleman driver moving past Jacques Laffite's Williams to go into eighth on the third lap.
As Prost continued to lead the field, his teammate Niki Lauda who had been fastest in the warm-up was keen to make up ground on his McLaren teammate. On the fourth lap, Lauda moved past Alboreto's Ferrari to take fourth place. As Lauda closed up upon Arnoux, the leading McLaren continued to hold a fifteen second lead ahead of third place Arnoux. Nigel Mansell, however continued to be a looming threat to Prost from second place with his Lotus. By the sixth lap, Lauda had finally cleared both Ferrari's when he overtook Arnoux going up the hill into Beaurivage.
Behind the leading group, the two season debutants, Ayrton Senna and Stefan Bellof began making ground in their underwhelming machinery. Senna moving past Manfred Winkelhock's ATS to go into seventh whilst Bellof's Tyrrell took ninth from Jacques Laffite. Bellof notably missing a part of his front wing at this point.
Further down the field, Francois Hesnault after causing his teammate's retirement on the first lap was causing more trouble when he collided with the Alfa Romeo of Riccardo Patrese who was attempting to move past. Patrese being forced into the pits for repairs on his car. Hesnault continued on and a lap later, nearly hit the barriers at Sainte-Devote yet remarkably, his car merely shot on down the escape road. After his third lucky escape of the day, the Ligier driver turned around and soldiered on to continue the race.
Meanwhile at the front, Mansell had closed to within two seconds of the leading car of Prost. Mansell whilst quicker seemed unable to make a move in the tricky twisty and extremely wet Monte Carlo circuit. Whilst behind, the Ferrari of Alboreto spun off at Sainte-Devote, the Ferrari driver stalling his car. Alboreto sat in his car, gesticulating to the marshalls to get a push-start. Eventually with the assistance of the marshalls, Alboreto got going and rejoined the race. However he was now at the back of the field. Inheriting Alboreto's fifth position was the Williams of Keke Rosberg who had the misfortune of having a misfiring Honda engine. Rosberg running on low power had to deal with the very quick Toleman of Senna who was quickly closing up behind him.
Meanwhile, Rosberg's Williams teammate Laffite entered the pits when he mistakenly believed he had a puncture. Laffite rejoined the race with new tyres albeit well down the field due to his error in judgement. It was proving to be a difficult season for the Frenchman so far.
Whilst chasing Rosberg, Senna made a mistake coming out of the tunnel where he mounted a kerb, slightly damaging his front right suspension. Nonetheless the young Brazilian continued to charge after the 1982 World Champion. On the ninth lap, Corrado Fabi participating in his first Formula One race with the Brabham team spun his car at Portier and stalled. The marshalls rushed onto the circuit to clear the car, blocking the track. As race leader Prost came through he was forced to hit the brakes when surprised by the marshalls. Unfortunately he lightly hit one of the marshalls causing the man light injuries. In this delay for Prost, Mansell managed to sneak by and take the lead from Prost who quickly recovered from his mishap and rejoined the race in second place.
As this occured, Senna managed to move into fifth place going past the Williams of Rosberg. Senna continuing his ascent as he chased off after Arnoux's Ferrari. It would take only a short few laps before Senna was into fourth past Arnoux and chasing after Lauda. The turbulent day of Francois Hesnault finally came to an end when his engine ran out of power in the climb up to Beaurivage.
Meanwhile at the front, Mansell who was leading his first race of his Formula One career continued to pull out a lead from Alain Prost behind him. Mansell who seemed to be going faster with every lap then let his inexperience of leading a grand prix get the better of him. On lap 15, Mansell lost the right rear of the car going into Massenet, crippling his suspension. He attempted to continue but heading into Mirabeau, his crippled car gave out and he spun and retired from the race. Once again Mansell was typically quick but an error in judgement had cost him his race.
Less seriously, Nelson Piquet whose Brabham had been well out of contention throughout the race saw his BMW engine have yet another failure. Piquet, the reigning world champion still to gain any points in his championship challenge. The Brabham team having a nightmare of a season. As Senna charged after Niki Lauda's second place, the other debutant Stefan Bellof also continued to make ground as he disposed of Winkelhock's seventh place. Bellof like Senna was lapping extremely fast and now was catching Rosberg's Williams.
On lap 19, Senna overtook Lauda's McLaren at Rascasse to move into second place. Like Senna and Bellof, the other driver on a charge was Elio de Angelis. De Angelis who was caught up in the first corner incident of the first lap was now lapping the fastest of all the cars on track, De Angelis in the sole surviving Lotus moved past Piercarlo Ghinzani's Osella to take eighth place. The Italian still hopeful for a points finish.
Lauda who was unable to match his teammate Prost in the race and was now losing ground to Arnoux in fourth after losing his second place to Senna then found himself spinning out of the race at Casino corner. Lauda perched upon a kerb after stalling his engine was forced to retire, a huge dint in his championship aspirations.
Meanwhile Prost continues to lead the race with a 30 second lead to Senna's Toleman. The McLaren driver has brake issues and is lapping the track quite slowly, focusing solely on conserving his car to the end. Senna meanwhile is pushing his car to the limit setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 24. Behind them, Stefan Bellof also continues to rise. Bellof was able to get past the ailing Rosberg who was focusing on preserving his car and set off in chase of Arnoux's Ferrari. Behind him, Winkelhock who is also quick attempts to get past Rosberg without success. The Finn closed the door and the ATS driver lost his front wing. Winkelhock attempts to continue, however the following lap he spun coming out of the tunnel and smashed into the barriers, destroying his car.
As Senna closes to within 26 seconds of Prost, Patrese ends his day with a steering problem. He stops his Alfa outside the tunnel entrance. Prost leads with Senna chasing, in third is Arnoux being heavily hounded by Bellof who is now the fastest car on track. Elio de Angelis has climbed back into the points but is a long way off the leaders, behind him are the final cars in the race of Alboreto, Ghinzani and Laffite.
Bellof is all over the rear of Arnoux, on the 27th lap he makes his move up Beaurivage. Arnoux shuts the door, yet Bellof has set him up for a move down into Mirabeau. Arnoux defends aggressively and forces the Tyrrell to the right, yet Bellof remains committed to the move and mounts the inside curb of the corner in order to get passed the Ferrari for third place. Bellof continues his charge as the fastest car on track, yet it is Senna who is also charging that looks to challenge Prost for the lead.
The entire race had been shrouded in very wet conditions, however nonetheless the rain continued to intensify. Senna continued to chase, catching Prost at a rate of three seconds a lap. Prost, his brakes continuing to fail waved frantically to the race organisers to stop the race as he went passed the starting line on lap 32. Senna driving at full speed began to close upon the rear of Prost's car by the 32nd lap.
The race organisers, Derek Ongaro and Jacky Ickx began to debate on whether to stop the race, eventually Ickx moves onto the track with a red flag and with him another official with the chequered flag. The race directors have opted to finish the race. Prost on the 33rd lap sees the chequered flag and stops his car on the timing line, winning the race. Senna on the other hand who is right behind Prost does not see the chequered flag and speeds on down the straight thinking he has won the race. Senna is mistakenly celebrating in his car as Prost still managed to beat him to the finishing line.
Bellof, like Senna has done a marvelous job for such an inexperienced driver and takes third position in the race. Arnoux manages to hold off a late charging Rosberg to take fourth, whilst De Angelis takes the final points finish in sixth. Alboreto, Ghinzani and Laffite are the only other finishers of the race.
|DSQ||4||Stefan Bellof||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||31||+21.141||20|
|5||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Renault||31||+44.439||11||1|
|6||27||Michele Alboreto||Ferrari||30||+1 Lap||4||0.5|
|7||24||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||30||+1 Lap||19|
|8||5||Jacques Laffite||Williams-Honda||30||+1 Lap||16|
|Ret||22||Riccardo Patrese||Alfa Romeo||24||Steering||14|
Standings after raceEdit
|V T E||Monaco Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Circuit de Monaco (1929–present)|
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