The 1984 Canadian Grand Prix, officially known as the XXIII Grand Prix du Canada, was the seventh round of the 1984 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Quebec, Canada, on the 17 June 1984. The race would see Nelson Piquet claim his fourth career Grand Chelem at the wheel of a Brabham-BMW, in spite of failing to score all season.
Indeed, Piquet's miserable form in 1984 had nothing to do with his outright speed, for the Brazilian swept to his third pole of the season during qualifying. Championship leader Alain Prost was his closest challenger, grabbing second ahead of Elio de Angelis, while Derek Warwick put the lone Renault into fourth ahead of the two Ferraris.
Piquet duly aced the start to surge into an early lead, although Prost would briefly challenge the Brazilian into the first corner. The rest of the field thundered through in their wake, with de Angelis leading the rest of the hoard.
Piquet would instantly grab a five second lead in the early stages, before easing off knowing that the outcome of his race was likely to be decided by his BMW engine rather than his opposition. Behind, Prost would settle into a comfortable second, while de Angelis fought with Warwick, the two Ferraris, teammate Nigel Mansell and Niki Lauda.
Indeed, de Angelis' stubborn defence allowed Lauda to pick his way up the order, with the Austrian's McLaren eventually making its way through to third. He duly went sprinting off after teammate Prost, with Piquet still cruising around at the head of the field.
It was only when Lauda vaulted past teammate Prost that Piquet finally pushed on again, with a series of fastest laps taking him out of the Austrian danger zone. He duly eased his pace again as the final laps ticked away, with Lauda inching closer as Prost fell away.
With that the race was run, with Piquet sweeping home to claim victory three seconds clear of Lauda across the line. Prost was over a minute and a half behind in third, with de Angelis a lap down in fourth, ahead of René Arnoux and Mansell.
The results of the race meant that Prost's lead in the Championship over teammate Lauda had been reduced to 8.5 points, with half the season still to go. Piquet, meanwhile, would end the race with burns to his feet, the result of a new oil cooler mounted in the nose of his Brabham.
The annual trip to Montreal and the Canadian Grand Prix would be made in mid-June in 1984, with the recently renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve playing host to the FIA Formula One World Championship once again. Indeed, the ever popular circuit, named for Canada's racing hero Gilles Villeneuve, was set to draw in another record crowd, although the future of the race was in doubt. Indeed, FOCA and Bernie Ecclestone were reportedly asking for an even bigger fee to bring F1 back to Canada for 1985, with the local government unwilling to fund the event for those costs.
However, a more immediate concern for Mr Ecclestone was the form of his team, for Brabham had yet to score a point in 1984. Indeed, lead driver Nelson Piquet was looking increasingly frustrated, with all of his, and teammates Teo and Corrado Fabi's retirements coming from a single source: the BMW engine. However, with the Bavarian manufacturer busy with their own projects, it was down to the BT53s designer Gordon Murray to sort the issue, with the South African designer instructed to de-stress the engine.
Murray's solution ahead of the trip to Canada was to install another oil cooler to the cars, this one located in the nose. The additional cooling would, it was hoped, would prevent the turbocharger from getting too hot, which was the most vulnerable part of the BMW M12/13 1.5 L4t according to recent races. There was also some minor remoulding of the bodywork to channel more air into the primary radiators in the sidepods, with Piquet and Corrado Fabi getting try the modifications in practice ahead of the race.
The Le Mans Legacy
Elsewhere, two teams were forced to revise their driver line-ups just before the weekend, for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans would take place on the same weekend as the race. The two drivers skipping the race would be Jonathan Palmer of RAM-Hart , who was to be replaced by Mike Thackwell, and Mauro Baldi, whose Spirit-Hart was handed to Huub Rothengatter on the eve of practice. Indeed, both Thackwell and Rothengatter were considered to be pay drivers, with Thackwell having last driven an F1 car in 1980 for Tyrrell, while Rothengatter's last run in any racing car of note was back in 1981.
Elsewhere, Williams arrived with an vastly updated car for their lead driver Keke Rosberg, dubbed the FW09B. The updated car, which sported revised rear suspension, McLaren MP4/2 style bodywork and a new setup on the front suspension, was intended to eliminate the horrendous understeer that both Rosberg and Jacques Laffite had been battling since the start of the season. In truth the Williams squad viewed the update as a temporary solution, with work on the all-carbon-fibre FW10, again penned by Patrick Head, well under way.
Elsewhere Alfa Romeo were evaluating their future in F1 after their miserable start to the season, with the impressively inefficient Alfa V8 engine costing the team dearly. Indeed, the combined efforts of Eddie Cheever and Riccardo Patrese had resulted in just six points for the Italian manufacturer, with the pair both running out of fuel on multiple occasions. Ultimately, however, it was team boss Carlo Chiti who took the fall, with the Italian replaced by former Lancia engineer Giovanni Tonti. Furthermore, the less-than-clear future of Alfa Romeo called into question the long-term future of Osella, who relied on Alfa engines to power their lone entry of Piercarlo Ghinzani
Elsewhere, ATS-BMW arrived in dire straights, for Manfred Winkelhock only had one car to complete the three race North American tour having crashed the D6 heavily in Monte Carlo. Arrows, meanwhile, had only one BMW engined car for their pair of Marc Surer and Thierry Boutsen, which would have the rear end cut off to improve cooling for the BMW unit. Ultimately it was Boutsen who was listed as the pilot of the A7, leaving Surer to pilot the under-powered Ford Cosworth engined car once again.
Indeed, Surer looked set to battle with the two Tyrrells for positions at the back of the grid, in spite of Stefan Bellof's stunning podium last time out in Monte Carlo. Martin Brundle, meanwhile, was passed fit to race in Canada after his heavy crash during qualifying at the Principality, with the Brit determined to match the German's exploits. The Tyrrell team were at least confident of making it onto the grid in Canada, with the reduced entry list ensuring that all 26 entrants would get a grid slot.
The reason for the reduced entry list was the fact that Patrick Tambay had not been replaced at Renault, in spite of the fact that he had been left with a fractured leg in Monaco. That left teammate Derek Warwick to lead the factory charge alone, although the Brit was aided by a revised cooling and reheat system, designed to keep vital fluids such as the fuel and oil at optimal temperature. This system had also been installed in the customer Lotus and Ligier entries, whom fielded Elio de Angelis and Nigel Mansell, and Andrea de Cesaris and François Hesnault respectively.
Elsewhere, Toleman-Hart arrived looking for another strong result, although lead driver Ayrton Senna was still furious at having been "robbed" of victory in Monte Carlo. His teammate Johnny Cecotto, meanwhile, would inherit the Brazilian's old TG184 ahead of the race, with the small British squad managing to build a second car ahead of the trip across the Atlantic. They were, as ever, the strongest of the Hart engined cars, with RAM fielding Phillippe Alliot alongside the aforementioned Thackwell, while Spirit employed Rothengatter.
Completing the entry list would be the McLaren-TAG and Ferrari teams, which landed in North America with no fresh concerns. It was the former who arrived as the favourites, with Alain Prost and Niki Lauda having looked imperious through the opening third of the season. Ferrari, meanwhile, were battling against internal politics once again, the latest incident caused by Michele Alboreto after the Italian and a journalist came to blows about the Italian racer's move to Switzerland. His teammate René Arnoux, meanwhile, set about negotiating his contract for 1985, knowing that it was he, not Alboreto, who was likely to be dumped by the Italian team at the end of the season.
Into the Championship and victory in Monte Carlo, in spite of the half-points awarded due to the conditions, had ensured that Prost retained command, and re-established his de-facto one race advantage. Indeed, Lauda arrived in Canada 10.5 points behind his teammate in the title hunt, with Arnoux a further three behind after being re-classified in third. Warwick and de Angelis completed the top five, level on thirteen, while Senna had leapt into the top ten with his maiden podium finish.
McLaren-TAG, meanwhile, had extended their lead in the Constructors Championship, moving 22 points clear of Ferrari on 46.5. The Italian team were also running with a half a point, 24.5 their total, with Renault having lost some ground in third. Behind, Team Lotus-Renault and Williams-Honda completed the top five, while Toleman-Hart had climbed to seventh.
The full entry list for the 1984 Canadian Grand Prix is shown below:
- * Both Baldi and Rothengatter were listed as the driver of the #21 car.
Qualifying would be staged across Friday and Saturday ahead of the race on Sunday, with two hour and a half long sessions scheduled. Those sessions would be staged on the afternoons of each day, leaving the morning sessions free to allow teams to practice for the race, with all 26 entries guaranteed a grid slot. As for a target time the circuit record was in the sights of the top teams, with anything under Didier Pironi's pole winning time of 1:27.509 from 1982 likely to put a driver at the head of the field.
The standout driver from Friday's qualifying session would be Championship leader Alain Prost, who would shatter the circuit record towards the end of the day with his McLaren-TAG. Indeed, the Frenchman would record a 1:26.477, although both himself and teammate Niki Lauda were concerned about tyre wear, with the latter largely focusing on race practice during the session. Second on the provisional grid therefore went to Elio de Angelis in the Lotus-Renault, with Nelson Piquet a fraction behind in the Brabham-BMW.
However, de Angelis would lose a lot of time during the session with mechanical issues, with a similar fate befalling teammate Nigel Mansell. Indeed, all of the Renault teams were in trouble, with Ligier suffering two engine failures, while Derek Warwick was forced to borrow absent teammate Patrick Tambay's car as his engine blew. Other stragglers were Williams-Honda, with the updated FW09B proving no better than its understeer plagued predecessor, while the three Ford Cosworth engined cars were all off the pace, only ahead of the debutantes Huub Rothengatter and Mike Thackwell.
Warmer temperatures on Saturday, combined with an evening of repair and setup work, ensured that the pace improved, although there would be no real fight for pole. Indeed, Piquet would settle the issue midway through the session, dancing his BMW powered Brabham around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1:25.442, the only man to break the 1:26.000 barrier. Indeed, even Prost failed to dip into the 1:25.000s, ending the afternoon in second with a 1:26.198, while teammate Lauda only managed a 1:27.392. Third would go to de Angelis, who battled another series of engine issues to record a 1:26.306, with Warwick completing the second row in the factory Renault.
The only other drivers in the 1:26.000s were the two Ferraris, with Michele Alboreto and René Arnoux qualifying sixth and fifth respectively. Mansell was next, having trashed a third engine in pursuit of his 1:27.246, with the Brit sharing the fourth row with Lauda. The impressive rookie Ayrton Senna claimed ninth, in spite of the fact that it was his first trip to Canada, while Andrea de Cesaris made it four Renault engined cars in the top ten as he claimed a 1:27.922 in the Ligier.
Indeed, the fact that Renault had got four cars in the top end of the field was nothing short of a miracle, for a grand total of eleven Renault V6ts had been completely trashed during practice and qualifying. Elsewhere, Williams still lacked any sort of pace, with Keke Rosberg and the new FW09B only just beating Jacques Laffite in the original FW09, with both complaining of understeer. At the back, meanwhile, Martin Brundle was best of the Ford Cosworth engined drivers in twenty-first, while Rothengatter and Thackwell were kept off the bottom of the timesheets by Philippe Alliot.
The full qualifying results for the 1984 Canadian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Renault||1:27.139||1:26.306||+0.864s|
|10||26||Andrea de Cesaris||Ligier-Renault||1:29.618||1:27.922||+2.480s|
|11||23||Eddie Cheever||Alfa Romeo||1:29.418||1:28.032||+2.590s|
|14||22||Riccardo Patrese||Alfa Romeo||1:29.205||1:30.064||+3.763s|
|19||24||Piercarlo Ghinzani||Osella-Alfa Romeo||1:32.189||1:30.918||+5.476s|
|21||3||Martin Brundle||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:33.945||1:31.785||+6.343s|
|22||4||Stefan Bellof||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:34.309||1:31.797||+6.355s|
|23||17||Marc Surer||Arrows-Ford Cosworth||1:33.014||1:32.756||+7.314s|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
- * Tambay was withdrawn due to injuries sustained at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix.
- † Baldi's entry was withdrawn as he was racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
|4||Elio de Angelis|
|Andrea de Cesaris||______________|
It proved to be a bright warm day ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix of 1984, with the sun beating down on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve throughout the day. The morning warm-up would result in only one incident of note, Nigel Mansell seeing the twelfth Renault engine of the weekend expire in the back of his Lotus 95T. Fortunately the Ethel based squad were able to get a fresh engine in the back of the car in time for the race, with all 26 qualifiers lining up without issue for the start.
Off the line it was advantage Nelson Piquet from pole, although the Brazilian was powerless to prevent Alain Prost edging ahead as the Frenchman's TAG turbo spooled up before his BMW unit. Indeed, the Brabham's turbo had so much lag that Piquet found himself battling with Elio de Angelis into the first corner, although the Brazilian easily swatted the Italian's lunge aside. The rest of the field piled in behind the two Ferraris, which had got the jump on Derek Warwick off the line.
Piquet would go on the offensive during the opening tour, and duly sent his Brabham diving inside Prost's McLaren-TAG at turn nine. Prost tried to hang on through the exit of the hairpin, only to conclude that his engine had lost power as the Brabham streaked ahead. Fortunately for him de Angelis was having his own troubles, with the Ferraris of Michele Alboreto and René Arnoux working together to pass the Lotus at the same corner.
With that Piquet was clear to build a lead at the head of the field, and duly completed the opening tour a second clear of Prost. His lead continued to grow during the early stages, with the Frenchman himself able to slowly inch away from the two Ferraris of Alboreto and Arnoux. They also established a healthy gap over de Angelis, who instead had Warwick, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna and Andrea de Cesaris on his tail.
The gap between the top four would fluctuate, however, with Piquet already feeling some discomfort due to the new radiator in the nose of his Brabham. As such, the Brazilian felt the need to ease off his brakes from time to time, allowing Prost, Alboreto and Arnoux to close onto the back of him every few laps. Indeed, with ten laps gone there was just four seconds covering the top four, with the entire group being caught steadily by Lauda.
Indeed, Lauda had benefited massively from de Angelis' lack of pace early on, picking his way past Warwick and the Italian to move into fifth. That would become fourth when Alboreto's Ferrari suddenly spluttered to a stop at the back of the circuit, an electrical failure ending the Italian's race on lap eleven. However, the Austrian still had thirteen seconds to make up to catch the lead group after Alboerto's demise, with the Italian's disappearance allowing Prost and Arnoux to push harder against Piquet.
Arnoux would steadily fall away from the lead group, however, with the Frenchman beginning to lose grip from his soft Goodyear tyres. He duly stopped on lap fourteen for a change, before blasting out of the pits in seventh, just behind Ayrton Senna. Elsewhere, Keke Rosberg was making an impressive bid for the points, passing Mansell and de Cesaris with ease, while Prost closed right onto the tail of Piquet now that Arnoux could cause him no further harm.
Equipped with fresh rubber, Arnoux was soon charging back towards the podium, easing past Senna, de Angelis and Warwick with ease with identical dives at the second hairpin. However, as the Frenchman claimed fourth away from Warwick, Piquet was able to break away from Prost, the Brazilian managing to find gaps in a queue of traffic headed by his teammate that the Frenchman simply could not. Indeed, in the space of five laps, which saw Piquet and Prost pass Corrado Fabi, Thierry Boutsen, Johnny Cecotto, Riccardo Patrese and Martin Brundle, the Brazilian had built a five second lead.
Furthermore, Lauda would be even quicker through the group, and duly used his advantage to halve the gap between himself and the leaders. Arnoux' meanwhile, would begin to lose the edge from his fresh tyres and duly lost pace, while the two Honda engined Williams would disappear within a lap of each other with different engine issues. Elsewhere, Mike Thackwell was out after a turbo failure, Huub Rothengatter was in and out of the pits with a gearbox issue, and de Cesaris had to stop for fresh tyres.
Half distance came and went with little change out front, although both Piquet and Prost were having issues as the Brazilian inched away from the Frenchman. Indeed, the Brazilian's feet were beginning to cook due to the temperatures in the foot-well of his cockpit, with the oil cooler continuing to build heat at the front of the car. Prost, meanwhile, was losing more and more power from his TAG engine, allowing Lauda to loom ever closer in his mirrors.
Behind, Arnoux's bid for the podium was to come to an ignominious end, the Frenchman having Riccardo Patrese bounce off his Ferrari on lap 38. Indeed, while Arnoux escaped without any major damage to his car, the contact had done enough to knock his suspension and steering out of alignment. He subsequently lost pace as a result as he nursed his car along, while Patrese had to climb out of his ruined Alfa Romeo which had been pitched into the barriers.
With Arnoux's attack now blunted Prost finally allowed Lauda to pass for second, knowing that he would finish third if he made it to the flag. The Austrian duly shot off after Piquet, who had built a ten second lead as Prost's engine faltered, with Prost quickly falling off the back of his teammate. Behind, Arnoux's pace was deteriorating as he battled his wounded Ferrari, while the two Loti were getting physical for sixth, with Mansell throwing lunge after lunge at de Angelis to try and grab the position.
Indeed, Mansell would only manage to get past de Angelis when Piquet and Lauda came to lap the duo, with the Brit managing to hold up Lauda in the process. With twenty laps left the gap between the leaders stood a six seconds, with Prost a distance third and complaining of a gearbox issue. Arnoux, meanwhile, was losing even more time with a cracked exhaust, allowing Warwick and later Mansell to pass him with relative ease.
Mansell would soon inherit fourth when Warwick stopped in the pits with a suspected puncture, although the Renault stopped for a second time a few laps later to have its suspension looked at. However, Mansell was not having it all his own way, for a loss of second gear saw his pace completely collapse, allowing de Angelis, now past Arnoux, to catch and pass with no real defence. He would also be passed by Eddie Cheever in the lone Alfa Romeo in the closing stages, although the American racer would run out of fuel a long before the chequered flag.
Out front, meanwhile, it would be torturous final few laps for Piquet, whose feet were literally cooking in the nose of his Brabham. Indeed, had he not been so close to claiming victory, the Brazilian would have likely retired his car much earlier in the race. Yet, with one lap to go it seemed as if the race was won, for Lauda was too far back to challenge the Brazilian.
Indeed, Piquet duly cruised home on the final lap to claim victory, although the Brazilian would almost pass out due to the pain from his right foot as he climbed out of his cockpit. Lauda was a satisfied second, two and a half seconds off Piquet, while Prost limped home in third as the last man on the lead lap. de Angelis was next in a comfortable fourth, while Arnoux out-limped Mansell on the final lap to smuggle fifth away from the Brit at the line.
The full results for the 1984 Canadian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Cheever was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- † Brundle and Bellof were retroactively disqualified following the "ban" of the Tyrrell 012 after the 1984 Detroit Grand Prix.
- ‡ Rothengatter could not be classified as he failed to complete 90% of the race distance.
- Nigel Mansell made his fiftieth Grand Prix start.
- Tyrrell made their 200th appearance as a constructor.
- 50th entry for Michele Alboreto.
- Johnny Cecotto entered his twentieth race.
- Debut race for Huub Rothengatter.
- Nelson Piquet claimed his eleventh victory.
- Brabham earned their 33rd win as a constructor.
Victory for Nelson Piquet saw the Brazilian streak instantly into the top ten, having been an unclassified twentieth following his miserable run of poor reliability. At the head of the field, meanwhile, it was still Alain Prost who led the charge, although teammate Niki Lauda had chipped away at his lead. The gap between the two McLaren-TAG pilots stood at 8.5 points leaving Canada, with René Arnoux an increasingly distant third.
With their two drivers leading the charge in the Drivers Championship there was little surprise that McLaren-TAG headed the Constructors battle, with a huge 30 point advantage over the rest of the field. Ferrari were still their closest challengers, although they were looking over their shoulders rather than plotting the downfall of McLaren. Indeed, the factory Renault squad, as well as engine customers Lotus-Renault had moved onto 21 points for the season, leaving them within striking distance of the Scuderia.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- F1-history, 'A.Prost | N.Lauda | H.Rothengatter (Canada 1984)', deviantart.com, (DeviantArt, 08/10/2012), https://www.deviantart.com/f1-history/art/A-Prost-N-Lauda-H-Rothengatter-Canada-1984-331387960, (Accessed 05/03/2019)
- F1-history, 'Nigel Mansell (Canada 1984)', deviantart.com, (DeviantArt, 17/09/2012), https://www.deviantart.com/f1-history/art/Nigel-Mansell-Canada-1984-327771822, (Accessed 05/03/2019)
- 'Canadian GP, 1984', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr395.html, (Accessed 04/03/2019)
- < Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "Stats" defined multiple times with different content
- 'Canada 1984: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1984/canada/engages.aspx, (Accessed 04/03/2019)
- A.H., 'Canadian Grand Prix', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/07/1984), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/july-1984/23/canadian-grand-prix, (Accessed 05/03/2019)
- 'Canada 1984: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1984/canada/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 04/03/2019)
- 'Canada 1984: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1984/canada/classement.aspx, (Accessed 04/03/2019)
- '1984 Canadian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1984&gp=Canadian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 04/03/2019)
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