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An excellent review of the 1984 Formula 1
season covering each race in detail.
Alain Prost stunned the F1 world when he quit Renault at the end of the 1983 season to join McLaren. His teammate,
American driver Eddie Cheever, also left Renault to join Riccardo Patrese at Alfa Romeo. Renault hired two new drivers
to fill their empty seats; Patrick Tambay and Derick Warwick. Elio de Cesaris left Alfa Romeo to join Ligier, while the
Arrows team had Thierry Boutsen and Marc Surer, and Tyrrell fielded two very good rookie drivers in Stefan Bellof
and Martin Brundle. The Ferrari team pinned their hopes on Michele Alboreto and Rene Arnoux, while the upstart
Toleman team had a young rookie named Ayrton Senna, who managed to give the underachieving team three podium
finishes (Senna would leave Toleman after the 1984 season, and they would never again have a podium finish). One of new
rules for 1984 was the reduction of fuel allowed for a car in a race, from 250 liters to 220 liters, with refueling pit
stops banned. Teams took to cooling their fuel pre-race so that it reduced in volume, squeezing more fuel into the tank.
At the first race in Brazil, Ferrari’s new driver Michele Alboreto made a strong showing, leading the race until he spun
out. Alain Prost went on the win, with Keke Rosberg taking second. At the South African Grand Prix, the McLaren team
has a 1-2 finish with Niki Lauda followed by Alain Prost, who had started from the back in a backup car. The Toleman
team was ecstatic, as their new driver Ayrton Senna scored his first point. At the Belgian Grand Prix, it was Michele
Alboreto leading from start to finish in his Ferrari, with Derek Warwick taking second, Rene Arnoux third. At the San
Marino Grand Prix at Imola, Alain Prost dominated from start to finish, while Niki Lauda would win at the next race, the
French Grand Prix. The Monaco Grand Prix was a wild and controversial race. In rainy conditions, Alain Prost is leading
late in the race, but as the rain begins to pour down, second place Ayrton Senna is gaining ground on Prost at an alarming
rate. Prost is waving frantically to the FIA officials to stop the race, and with Senna needing only one more lap to take
the lead, the race is red-flagged just as Prost is about to cross the start-finish line. Senna rockets past believing he has
won his first Grand Prix, but Alain Prost was declared the winner. Nevertheless, Senna takes a victory lap, and the top
drivers realized that Senna was a force to be reckoned with, even in the inferior Toleman car. Nelson Piquet led the
Canadian Grand Prix from start to finish, but the placement of a new oil cooler in his Brabham burned his feet throughout
the race. At the Detroit Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell tangled, and Nigel got the blame. All
three were back for a restart, and Piquet led all the way, while Martin Brundle surprised everyone with a second place
finish. The next race on the streets of Dallas would be a catastrophe. The scorching Texas heat chewed up the track,
causing many cars to crash (this would be the last time they would hold a Dallas Grand Prix). Keke Rosberg took the
victory, but the most dramatic event of the season occurred when Nigel Mansell broke his gearbox on the last lap, and
the tough British Bulldog got out and pushed his car to the start-finish line, only to collapse in the sweltering heat. The
next event was Brands Hatch back in England, where the race was stopped after Jonathan Palmer crashed his RAM.
Alain Prost led until his gearbox failed, handing Niki Lauda the win, followed by Derek Warwick, and an improving Ayrton
Senna. At the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, it was another McLaren 1-2. Alain Prost inherited the lead when Elio de
Angelis blew up his turbo and Nelson Piquet had gearbox problems, while Niki Lauda takes second place. In Austria, Niki
Lauda won over Nelson Piquet and Michele Alboreto, while at the next race in Holland, it was another McLaren win, Prost
ahead of Lauda. By the time of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the McLaren team had the Constructors Title easily won,
and the drama was now who would win the drivers championship. With three races to go, Lauda had 54 points to Prost’s
52.5 points. The Italian Grand Prix at Monza proved disastrous for Prost, as he blew up his engine on the third lap of the
race. Nelson Piquet took the lead, then had engine troubles on lap 15. Niki Lauda would take the victory over Michele
Alboreto. The next race was the European Grand Prix, held for the first time at the new Nurburgring circuit. Alain
Prost recovered quickly from his engine failure at Monza, and would lead the entire race, Lauda taking fourth place
behind Alboreto and Piquet, who had both run out of fuel on the last lap. Heading into the final race of the year at Estoril
Portugal, Niki Lauda had 66 points, Alain Prost 62.5. The dramatic end to the 1984 season had both McLaren drivers
giving it their all while avoiding any mistakes. Alain Prost would win the race, while Niki Lauda stayed comfortably behind
in second place, knowing that was all he needed to win the World Championship (Ayrton Senna was third on the podium).
Niki Lauda was the 1984 World Champion with 72 points, Alain Prost was second with 71.5 points.
This is an excellent documentary from 1984, originally titled “Two Till The End”, narrated by Clive Davis.
Quality Note : The segment on the Belgian Grand Prix (approx 5 min.) is not as clear as the other segments.