1984 - Lauda, in a breathtaking final!
Formula One article

1984 - Lauda, in a breathtaking final!

A novelty was the limit of 220 liters of fuel in the tank. But the teams used frozen fuel (!). By doing this they could use almost 15 liters more in the tank..., althought in many races some drivers had reduced turbo pressure to save fuel trying to finish the race. Another evolution was the elargement of eletronics for better control of the car, mainly the fuel injection. The prominance of the season was new McLaren, with a big supremacy. Designed by John Barnard, powered by Porsche Turbo, Michelin tyres and two great drivers: Lauda and Prost. Piquet and his Brabham-BMW were the quickest car, but they could finish only 5 races in points. Excelents performances for italians De Angelis (Renault-Turbo) and Alboreto (Ferrari-Turbo).

1 – BRAZIL
First ever pole for De Angelis. But in the lights Alboreto took the lead, while Lauda and Warwick (Renault-Turbo) touched wheels and Piquet let his engine off. After 11 laps, when it seemed Alboreto would control the race to the flag, he spun off due to brake fluid loss, so Lauda took the lead. Piquet already 7th, in a terrific recovering, had to stop with engine bad function. Then Lauda, with ignition failure, stopped in lap 38. Prost inherited the lead, but as he pit, Warwick (Renault-Turbo) came to first place. Otherwise, with only 10 laps to the final, his front suspension broke and Prost retook leadership and won. Rosberg (Williams-Honda) – 2nd, De Angelis -3rd, Cheever (Alfa Romeo) – 4th, Brundle (Tyrrell-Ford) – 5th and Tambay (Renault) 6th. Senna debut (Toleman-Hart Turbo) starting 14th, but had to stop just 8 laps after the green light.
2 – SOUTH AFRICA
First season´s pole for Piquet, who dominated the week-end until his engine blew up. So, Lauda could lead without any pressure. His team-mate, Prost, who started from the pit with T-car, made a great recovery, finishing 2nd. Warwick this time finished 3rd one lap down, but had two stops for tyres and raced last 20 laps with no clutch. Another 4th place for Alfa Romeo, this time with Patrese where group by 5th for De Cesaris (Ligier-Renault Turbo) and first point for Senna, 6th.
3 – BELGIUM
Two years after Gille´s fatal accident in Zolder and eighteen years after the last italian driver winning with Ferrari (L.Scarfiotti-Monza/66), Michele Alboreto could celebrate his own conquest in great style: pole and leading from lights to flag, more then 40 seconds ahead of Warwick (2nd)! Both McLaren had engines broken. Another points for Rosberg 4th and De Angelis 5th. Also first points for another promising driver: german S. Beloff (Tyrrell-Ford), made a fantastic race to finish in 6th place. Piquet was in 3rd, but his engine...
4 – SAN MARINO
Second pole for Piquet, but Prost jumped to the front and led all race. Piquet, apparently saving fuel and engine, secured second position many laps. Suddenly, when it seemed he was pushing to catch Prost and escaping from Arnoux, settled fastest lap and...another broken engine! Lauda, Alboreto and Rosberg were also out. So Prost won easily, with Arnoux 2nd, De Angelis 3rd and Warwick 4th again in points. Another great race for Beloff with 5th and Boutsen 6th.
5 – FRENCH
Fourth victory for McLaren, second for Lauda. But Tambay starting from pole, pushed very looking for his home town victory, but soon he had some brake problems and Lauda could take the lead. When the austrian went for pit, Tambay could lead again, giving all his best. But Lauda using new tyres, smahed his advantage and retook the lead from the french, who had to accept McLaren´s superiority. Prost finished 7th, due wheels problems. Once more De Angelis 5th and Rosberg 6th were in points, just behind Mansell (Lotus-Renault) and Arnoux.
6 – MONACO
This race will be forever remebered by the decision of the race director, Jacky Ickx. He interrupted the race in lap 31, due to dreadful weather conditions. Prost was leading with 8´0 ahead Senna and 20´0  of Beloff on that moment, but that difference were in 30´0 some laps before. Both young drivers were in a amazing demonstration of their incredibles abilities. The track was so wet, the visibility so awful, that even Beloff agreed with the decision, but Senna not! Prost would be regretten in the very last race of the season, as he collected only 4,5 points here, because the race ended with less than 50% of total. 
7 – CANADA
Third pole for Piquet. But this time he wouldn´t have any problem and controlled all the race. He had a perfect week-end: pole, lead all race and marked fastest lap, scoring his first points of the season! Lauda 2nd and Prost 3rd.
8 – USA_WEST
It was necessary two starts to begin the race, as Mansell unskilfulness in the first one caused a bang in the first corner! In the second, Piquet (4th year´s pole), jumped in front and again could control all the race. Only six drivers survived to the final. Brundle (Tyrrell-Ford) was a superb 2nd, De Angelis 3rd, Fabi 4th, Prost 5th and Laffite (Williams-Honda) 6th. As in Canada, Brabham team were using new front oil radiator to guarantee better refrigeration to their engines, and it seemed that they were functioning very well!
Exactly in the half of the season, championship positions were: Prost – 35,5 where group by Lauda – 24 where group by De Angelis – 22 where group by Piquet – 18 where group by Arnoux – 16,5 where group by Warwick -14 where group by Rosberg – 11,5 and Alboreto – 9,5.
9 – USA_EST
This was a unusual race: at last twelve drivers hit or brushed the wall, in a dirty and bump track. Rosberg got first Williams Honda-Turbo victory. Mansell and De Angelis dominated the practices, while Brundle had foot injuries in a big shunt on Friday. Mansell led until lap 35, when a little gearbox problem made him slow down. Rosberg commanded the race for 12 laps, but Prost overtook him, but seven laps later he scape...from the track, so Rosberg could led to the flag. Arnoux made a amazing recovering from last to be 2nd. Again De Angelis were in points in 3rd, Laffite 4th and P.Ghinzani (Osella-Alfa Romeo) marked the first ever championshiop points for the team and himself. Mansell, as would be usual on his great career, made a theatrical, but brave, scene: pushed his car to finished line and ...collapsed as wheather was very arid and hot!
10 – GREAT BRITAIN
Just after the start, Cheever, Patrese, Gartner (Osella-Alfa Romeo) and Alliot (Ram Hart) were envolved in an accident and only the italian were capable to continue. Piquet, who started from pole led until a small turbo pressure problem made him slow down, what allowed Prost took the lead. But Palmer (Ram-Hart) crashed heavily and the race was interrupted with eleven laps. Prost sustained his position in the re-start, but about twenty laps ahead, with gearbox problems, Lauda get the front and run to his 3rd victory of the season. Warwick 2nd, Senna 3rd (first ever podium finish), De Angelis 4th (eighth consecutive time in points), Alboreto 5th and Arnoux 6th.
11 – GERMANY
De Angelis get the front at the green lights, with Prost and Piquet following him. But when it seemed he would fight for the victory the first time this year, had a engine broken. So, Piquet, who had passed Prost, took the front increasing this advantage until had gearbox failure. So, Prost could retake the lead, with Lauda in a comfortable 2nd place, and marked his 4th victory of the year. Senna had an big accident, when his rear wing broke in the back straight. Luckily he had no injuries.
12 – AUSTRIA
From pole Piquet led until lap 39, when rear tyres excessive consumption made him slow down. But, previously at lap 28, he had demonstrated great ability to control his car, as he and Prost crossed De Angelis oil at Rindt´s corner getting sideways. Althoght Prost lost control of his car and shunt (he was driving with one hand due to shift crack). Lauda took the lead, but with few laps to flag, he suddenly slowed with gearbox problems. Somehow he got speed again, but was clearly in with big problems. Unbeliavable that nobody advised Piquet, in 2nd, to push the limit to catch Lauda...
13 – NETHERLANDS
Prost started from pole, but Piquet led however a lack oil pressure forced another abandonment. So, Prost managed to a easy-going 5th victory. Lauda was 2nd, followed by Mansell, De Angelis, Fabi and Tambay. 
14 – ITALY
Once more Piquet led until engine problems took in out. Tambay, making his best race for Renault, with new engine specification, took the front and led for 28 laps. Lauda and Fabi were following him nearly. Then the french had a trottle failure at the same time Fabi had a engine broken, so Lauda could drive quiet easily to his 5th victory this season. Alboreto and Patrese complete the podium, followed by Johansson (Toleman-Hart), Gartner (Osella-Alfa Romeo) and Berger (ATS-BMW). Those three drivers took their first ever points in F1.
15 – EUROPE
Prost won his 7th GP of the year and had a little help from his team-mate, Lauda. The austrian was in a usual recovering, starting from 15th place, when made a rarely mistake and spun. But he could return to finish 4th. Piquet, with excessive fuel consumption, had to cede the second place to Alboreto. So Prost and Lauda would fight for the tittle in the very last race, separed by only 3,5 points: Lauda – 66 and Prost – 62,5.
16 – PORTUGAL
Piquet marked another pole, but eveyone were only looking for Prost, 2nd and Lauda, 11th. At the lights, Rosberg jumped from fourth to the lead, with Mansell 2nd, Prost 3rd. Lauda sustained his 11th place, but Piquet beyond a very bad start, lost control of his car and spun, completing the first lap in the last place! Rosberg led 9 laps, but Prost and Mansell overtook him. Lauda and Piquet were recovering very quick. Almost in the half of the race, Lauda was in 5th place, but very close to Rosberg, 4th and Senna 3rd, but more than 30 seconds behind Mansell, 2nd. Piquet was 14th. For Prost take the championship, he must win and Lauda get no more than 3rd place. But Lauda outpaced Rosberg and Senna, and started chasing Mansell. Finally at lap 51, Mansell with brakes failure, went out of the track and Lauda could reduce the difference drastically, also marking the fastest lap. Therefore Lauda surpassed Mansell for Prost disillusion. The impact for the french was so hard that the difference to Lauda came down from more than 30 to 13 seconds in the last 10 laps! Piquet got 6th place from Tambay in the final, with amazing recovering. Senna, 3rd and Alboreto, 4th were separated by only 0´275 seconds!
Third title for Lauda to be driver with the best decade results.
Curious facts
* Team Tyrrell and their drivers were throwed-out from championship, losing all their points. The decision was based in fuel sample analysis occurred just after Brundle´s 2nd place in USA-Detroit GP. Tyrrell appealed, but could only took part in four races until FISA final decision, even when J.Barnard (McLaren) and P.Head (Williams) attested in behalf of them!.
* Emerson Fittipaldi tested for Spirt-Hart during two days in Jacarepaguá, Brasil, but denied to sign with the team for the season.
* Just after the checkered flag in Brasil, Cheever stopped with no fuel. Exactly the same happened with his team-mate, Patrese, in South Africa. Both finishing 4th place with their Alfa Romeo!
* In San Marino, Ayrton Senna failed to qualify. On Friday his team had a big fight with Pirelli, when they want to break up their contract. On Saturday finally he went to the track, but had engine problems...
* In Brazil and San Marino team-mates, Piquet and Fabi, had their engines broken in the same lap: 32nd and 48th!
* Johhny Cecotto had a big accident in the practices of Great Britain GP. He had his legs and an ankle broken.
* Austria GP was the first one of the history to have only turbocharged cars in the grid, as both Tyrrell-Ford failed to qualify.
* Before Netherlands GP, Lotus announced that had signed a three year contract with Ayrton Senna. As punishment, Toleman team suspended the driver for next GP (Italy). But Ayrton´s decision was legally based in a contract clause, so the team had to accept his decision to break his three year contract with them and he was reitegrated at Europe GP.
* With his 1st place at Italy GP, Niki Lauda reached 24 victories, drawing with Fangio.
* Prost even Clark´s 1963 record with 7 victories in a season.
* Nelson Piquet recorded 9 seasons pole, even with Peterson (73) and Lauda (74-75).
* Team McLaren stabilished new season´s points record with 143,5 and also for  victories: 12!
* Michelin decided to retire from F1 at the end of the season.
First appearance
* Drivers: A.Senna, S.Bellof, P.Alliot, F.Hesnault, C.Fabi, H.Rohtengatter,  J.Gartner, G.Berger.