The 1993 Pacific Grand Prix, otherwise known as the I Pacific Grand Prix, was the second Grand Prix of the 1994 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged on the 17 April 1994 at the TI Circuit Aïda in Okayama Prefecture, Japan. The race, which was the first Pacific Grand Prix to be staged, would see Michael Schumacher sweep to a second straight victory, effectively winning the race at the start.
The build-up to the race had seen Jordan-Hart humorously appeal Eddie Irvine's one race ban from the Brazilian Grand Prix for causing a serious collision, only to get the ban extended based on their own evidence. More seriously there would be some allegations of cheating, with Williams-Renault particularly vocal that some of their rivals were still using banned electronic systems.
Regardless, it was Williams-Renault's lead driver Ayrton Senna who swept to pole position during qualifying, beating Schumacher's Benetton-Ford Cosworth. Damon Hill was next in the sister Williams, while Mika Häkkinen got the unfancied McLaren-Peugeot up into fourth ahead of Gerhard Berger in the Ferrari.
The start of the race saw Senna and Schumacher get away from the grid fairly evenly, although a twitch from Senna as he hit the brakes gifted Schumacher a chance to dive inside for the lead. Somewhat surprisingly, however, the German racer did not go for the lunge, instead opting to lift out of the throttle and hence cause chaos behind.
Indeed, Häkkinen was caught out by the two leaders' rather passive start, and hence slammed right into the back of Senna, sending the Brazilian spinning out of the race. Senna then went sliding into the side of Nicola Larini, who was replacing an injured Jean Alesi at Ferrari, while Mark Blundell was wiped out in the crush further back.
With Senna out and Häkkinen running with front-end damage in second, Schumacher was able to establish a fair lead on the opening tour, and continued to pull clear during the early stages. Häkkinen, meanwhile, would fend off the attentions of Hill, who spun himself back down to ninth after an ambitious lunge on lap four.
Unfortunately for Häkkinen his promising race was curtailed by a hydraulic issue, which caused him to stall in the pits during his stop. That left Schumacher with a thirty second lead over Berger mid-race, while Rubens Barrichello had emerged from the chaos ahead to run in a solid third for Jordan.
Hill became the centre of attention as the race entered its second half, battling his way up to fourth before his stop, and was the only man on Schumacher's pace. Indeed, the Brit would eventually get up into second, although a gearbox failure saw him retire moments after he had swept past Berger's out-classed Ferrari.
With that the race was effectively over, with Schumacher cruising home over a minute clear of Berger to claim a dominant victory. Martin Brundle, meanwhile, had looked set for third until he was robbed of a podium finish late on by an engine failure, meaning Barrichello, who had slipped behind the McLaren-Peugeot during the stops, claimed his, and Jordan's maiden podium finish.
Following the first round of the championship in Brazil, the teams quickly returned to Europe to which they immediately began testing for the all new Pacific Grand Prix hosted at the TI Circuit in Aida, Japan. The TI Circuit was one of Japan's newest circuits to which of all the drivers, only Roland Ratzenberger had ever driven the track.
Ratzenberger had yet to start a race, however he still had an advantage as being the only one whom had previously raced on the TI Circuit. Ahead of the race when asked what to expect from the new circuit, Ratzenberger commented "Its a nice little facility. Its very clean and brand new basically." 
Following Brazil, the Williams headed to the Circuito de Jerez in Spain in a bid to fix the handling problems that had seen Senna lose control in Brazil. Compared to their dominance of the previous years, Williams had a very difficult start to the new year. Neither Senna or Hill were able to drive the car at ease. Commenting on the problems in Aida, Patrick Head noted "We're certainly not happy with the way things are with the car right as they are at the moment. The handling isn't particularly good."
Ferrari were also testing in preparation for the Pacific Grand Prix. Jean Alesi was putting in some test mileage at the Mugello Circuit in Italy when he had a major testing accident that saw him injure his back. The Ferrari driver looked unlikely to participate in the upcoming race.
The FIA had given Eddie Irvine a one race suspension after having been deemed the cause of the major accident that also involved Jos Verstappen, Éric Bernard and Martin Brundle. The Jordan team immediately served notice of their intent to appeal the decision. However their appeal only succeeds in Irvine's punishment being increased from a one race ban to a three race ban. 
Changes in the driver line-up for the race would see local driver, Aguri Suzuki make a return to the cockpit in place of the suspended Irvine at Jordan. Nicola Larini, meanwhile would replace the injured Alesi at Ferrari.
With Williams struggling at the start of the season, the momentum was with Benetton to which Michael Schumacher had easily taken victory at Interlagos. However, Benetton team principal, Flavio Briatore, remained conservative on the team's chances. Briatore reminded the press that "Williams still have a very, very strong package" and remained unsure as to whether Benetton's advantage would remain throughout the season.
Michael Schumacher had left the opening race of the season at the head of the Championship hunt, holding a four point lead over Damon Hill. Jean Alesi was next up in third ahead of Rubens Barrichello, while Ukyo Katayama and Karl Wendlinger were the other early scorers.
Unsurprisingly it was an identical picture in the Constructors Championship, with the Brazilian Grand Prix winning Benetton-Ford Cosworth squad leading the way. They left Brazil with a four point lead over Williams-Renault, while Ferrari sat in third on four points. Behind, Jordan-Hart, Tyrrell-Yamaha and Sauber-Mercedes were all on the board, meaning six of F1's nine engine suppliers had registered a points finish at the season opener.
The full entry list for the 1994 Pacific Grand Prix is outlined below:
The two Ferrari's struggled with a lack of rear end grip to which their drivers, Berger and Larini were wearing through the tyres in a single lap. With tyre wear severely compromising their qualifying, Berger could only manage fifth whilst the returning Larini was seventh.
Häkkinen put in a rough performance in qualifying to manhandle his McLaren into fourth position on the grid. Häkkinen having achieved this albeit having wrecked the undertray of his car after a trip through the gravel. His teammate, Brundle had been described as doing much the same thing to his car, however could only manage sixth on the grid.
Senna went on to take his second pole position of the season. His teammate, Hill was in third whilst Schumacher failed to take the pole time and could only manage to split the Williams cars. The Williams were evidently quick, however the car still appeared trouble. Senna had taken pole, however he had notably spun the car whilst in the process of trying to achieve the position.
The full qualifying results for the 1994 Pacific Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||5||Michael Schumacher||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:10.440||—||+0.222s|
|9||9||Christian Fittipaldi||Footwork-Ford Cosworth||1:13.169||1:12.444||+2.226s|
|10||6||Jos Verstappen||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:12.554||1:12.681||+2.336s|
|13||10||Gianni Morbidelli||Footwork-Ford Cosworth||1:12.866||1:13.090||+2.648s|
|15||24||Michele Alboreto||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:13.342||1:13.016||+2.798s|
|16||20||Érik Comas||Larrousse-Ford Cosworth||1:13.111||1:13.550||+2.893s|
|17||23||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:13.529||1:13.756||+3.311s|
|21||19||Olivier Beretta||Larrousse-Ford Cosworth||1:14.101||1:14.271||+3.883s|
|25||31||David Brabham||Simtek-Ford Cosworth||1:14.946||1:14.748||+4.530s|
|26||32||Roland Ratzenberger||Simtek-Ford Cosworth||—||1:16.536||+6.318s|
- 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.
On the grid, the pole sitter, Ayrton Senna shared a few words with Flavio Briatore, the boss of Benetton his championship rival team. Senna was described as "pensive" in his conversation with Briatore to which in contrast, the Benetton boss was visibly quite jovial.
Briatore clapped Senna on the back to which the Williams driver silently returned to his car in order to prepare for the race. Before getting in the car, Senna could be seen waving to the grandstands of his great array of Japanese admirers.
At the start, Senna gets a lot of wheelspin and is bogged down whilst in contrast, Schumacher gets "an unbelievable getaway" to which the Benetton immediately shoots into the lead of the race. Häkkinen, likewise had a got a strong start to which he darts past Hill.
Senna had lost the lead, however he would enter the first corner in a clear second position. Behind him an over eager Häkkinen whom couldn't quite catch Schumacher and Senna into the first corner was too late on the brakes and hit the rear of Senna's car.
Senna was tipped into a spin to which he suddenly found his car facing the oncoming field. Larini was left with no pathway around and collided with Senna's Williams, pushing him into the gravel. Both drivers' were out of the race, to which Senna and Larini angrily discussed the stupidity of the accident as they walked back to the pits.
Häkkinen whom had been responsible for taking Senna out of the race was now in second behind Schumacher's Benetton. The McLaren driver was now sporting a scarred nosecone after his incident with Senna and was coming under intense pressure from the remaining Williams of Hill.
Hill pushed too hard to get past the McLaren and ran wide into the gravel on lap four. Hill dropped to ninth, Berger in the Ferrari had now taken third position, albeit he was well distanced to Schumacher and Häkkinen ahead of him.
Hill had made a mistake, however he thereafter put in a rapid performance to overtake Verstappen on lap five, Frentzen on lap six, Fittipaldi on lap eight, Brundle on lap eleven and Barrichello on lap twelve. He had fought his way back into fourth position, however after failing to make a position in the top three he became the first leader to make a fuel and tyre stop on lap eighteen.
Hill rejoined the race in tenth place, his mechanics, however had produced the quickest pit stop of the race thus far. With his nearest competitors, Brundle and Barrichello, both making pit-stops and exiting behind him, Hill had climbed to fifth by lap twenty six and was challenging Berger's Ferrari. Berger, running in second had refused to make a pit-stop and was running the race on very old tyres to which Hill quickly caught and passed him.
Hill had rose to as high as second when transmission problems on the Williams ended his race on lap fifty three. The same lap, Verstappen's Benetton made his final stop of the race. He exited the pits, directly ahead of Frentzen, only to spin the car at the first corner and retire from the race.
Brundle whom had put his McLaren into third would be forced to pull out of the race on lap sixty nine with transmission failure. Barrichello, whom he had been battling with thereafter moved into third position with the Jordan. Barrichello would go on to finish the race in third behind Berger.
Schumacher, meanwhile had quietly dominated the entire race. He had controlled the race from the moment the race began. The Williams cars had been in trouble, Senna had retired whilst Hill had spun his car to which he thereafter took control of the race unchallenged.
The full results for the 1994 Pacific Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
It had been the second race in a row that the Williams cars had encountered problems to which Benetton and Michael Schumacher had ensured to perfect their performance at both Interlagos and Aida. However even Schumacher exclaimed surprise and relief of the fortune that had been dealt his way with the Williams troubles. Schumacher admitted after the race, "These two wins, I wouldn't believe at all if anybody would tell me this before the season."
However he wasn't the only driver jubilant at the chequered flag. Barrichello had scored the first ever podium for both himself and his team, Jordan. The entire team was ecstatic to which Barrichello danced with joy on the podium. The race had also fittingly came at Jordan's fiftieth grand prix in Formula One. A relieved Barrichello commented after the race, "I just had a problem on the last pit-stop because the engine died. I was running fourth and I said, 'I can't believe it is not today I am not going to the podium'. But suddenly I saw Brundle stopping and I'm just really pleased for me and the team because they have done a really good job."
- First Pacific Grand Prix to be staged.
- 350th Grand Prix for Tyrrell as a constructor.
- Jordan made their 50th appearance at a Grand Prix as a constructor.
- Also the 100th entry for a Jordan chassis.
- 100th Grand Prix entry for a Footwork chassis.
- First and only start for Roland Ratzenberger.
- Érik Comas entered his 50th Grand Prix.
- Twentieth entry for a car using #0 as its race number.
- Ayrton Senna secured the 90th pole position for a Renault engine.
- Fourth career victory for Michael Schumacher.
- Benetton claimed their ninth win as a constructor.
- Maiden podium finish for Rubens Barrichello.
- This was also the first podium for Jordan as a constructor.
- Maiden points finish for Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
Michael Schumacher had tripled his Championship lead as a result of the Pacific Grand Prix, leaving Aïda with a maximum twenty points to his name. Rubens Barrichello was his closest challenger, the Brazilian having moved into second after his maiden podium finish. Damon Hill and Gerhard Berger were next, level on six points, while Jean Alesi slipped down to fifth.
In the Constructors Championship it was Benetton-Ford Cosworth who unsurprisingly led the way, with double the points of second placed Ferrari. Indeed, the British squad's tally of twenty meant that Ferrari had to win a race just to get back on terms with Benetton, while Jordan-Hart sat in a surprise third ahead of 1993 pace setters Williams-Renault. Completing the top five were Footwork-Ford Cosworth, with eight constructors on the board after two rounds.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 'Pacific GP, 1994', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr550.html, (Accessed 01/08/2019)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 2.60 2.61 2.62 (1994). Who else but Schumacher?. Great Britain: Duke Video
- ↑ 'Pacific 1994: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1994/pacifique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 01/08/2019)
- ↑ 'Pacific Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1994/races/606/pacific/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 01/08/2019)
- ↑ 'Pacific Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1994/races/606/pacific/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 01/08/2019)
- ↑ 'Brazil 1994: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1994/pacifique/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 01/08/2019)
- ↑ "1994 Pacific Grand Prix". formula1.com. https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1994/races/606/pacific.html. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- ↑ 'Pacific 1994: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1994/pacifique/classement.aspx, (Accessed 01/08/2019)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 '2. Pacific 1994', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1994/pacifique.aspx, (Accessed 01/08/2019)
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 '1994 Pacific GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1994&gp=Pacific%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 01/08/2019)
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