Schumacher wins, Senna spins and Brundle has an incredible escape

1994 Brazilian Grand Prix flashback

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The Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil witnessed the hotly-anticipated first race of 1994. It promised to be the beginning of a new era following the banning of active suspension, traction control and other driver aids.

But despite the change – which had arrived following months of political wrangling – few expected to see the new rules lead to new winners.

This was because there had been little competition to speak of for much of the preceding two seasons. Williams’ mastery of electronic driver aids and Adrian Newey’s use of them in the service of generating downforce had propelled them far beyond the chasing pack.

Their 1992 car, the FW14B, was so fast the team postponed introducing its successor because it wasn’t needed. Nigel Mansell won the drivers’ championship in August and the following year his replacement, Alain Prost, was similarly untroubled as he picked up a fourth crown.

So while the sport had been shaken up in 1994 by the banning of driver aids, and an unpopular new gimmick had been devised to ‘spice up the show’ – refuelling – few expected Williams to have lost their way over the winter.

But no team was better prepared for the new formula than Benetton. The B194 had been testing for over a month before Ayrton Senna put the first miles on the FW16.

Michael Schumacher, already a two-times race winner, had sussed the refuelling variable during his days in Mercedes’ sports car team. Team principal Tom Walkinshaw and designer Ross Brawn had done the same while running the Jaguar XJR-14s of Schumacher’s rival team. Together they were about to spring a surprise on Formula One.

1994 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

Twelve months earlier a rain storm in Sao Paulo gave Senna the chance to put one over the Williams drivers. Now he was driving for them, and when the rain returned as he topped the times during Saturday qualifying it guaranteed his 63rd career pole position – and a full house for the grand prix.

But a three-tenths margin over Schumacher was not the kind of advantage Williams had enjoyed in years past. And the the well-honed B194 looked a more comfortable drive for 71 laps than Senna’s machine.

With JJ Lehto still recovering from neck injuries sustained in testing, Schumacher was partnered by test driver Jos Verstappen. The 22-year-old’s F1 debut was his 53rd car race of any kind, coming just two years after his graduation from karting, and he was almost two seconds off his team mate’s pace in ninth.

Damon Hill in the second Williams was 1.6 seconds off Senna, but that was still good enough for fourth on the grid. Like Senna, Hill was grappling with the FW16’s unpredictable handling balance.

There was a similar gap between the two Ferraris. But while Jean Alesi claimed third on the grid a litany of problems on the other car saw Gerhard Berger mired in 17th behind both Tyrrells, a Larrousse and a Minardi.

Two new teams had appeared for the first race of the season. The tiny Pacific and Simtek squads brought crews numbering just 21 and 19 to their first event, and each succeeded in getting a single car onto the grid. The non-qualifiers were Paul Belmondo, who suffered a suspension failure on his Pacific, and Roland Ratzenberger, who was unable to set a competitive time during Saturday’s dry running due to an engine misfire.

1994 Brazilian Grand Prix grid

Row 11. Ayrton Senna 1’15.962
2. Michael Schumacher 1’16.290
Row 23. Jean Alesi 1’17.385
4. Damon Hill 1’17.554
Row 35. Heinz-Harald Frentzen 1’17.806
6. Gianni Morbidelli 1’17.866
Row 47. Karl Wendlinger 1’17.927
8. Mika Hakkinen 1’18.122
Row 59. Jos Verstappen 1’18.183
10. Ukyo Katayama 1’18.194
Row 611. Christian Fittipaldi 1’18.204
12. Mark Blundell 1’18.246
Row 713. Erik Comas 1’18.321
14. Rubens Barrichello 1’18.414
Row 815. Pierluigi Martini 1’18.659
16. Eddie Irvine 1’18.751
Row 917. Gerhard Berger 1’18.855
18. Martin Brundle 1’18.864
Row 1019. Olivier Panis 1’19.304
20. Eric Bernard 1’19.398
Row 1121. Johnny Herbert 1’19.483
22. Michele Alboreto 1’19.517
Row 1223. Olivier Beretta 1’19.524
24. Pedro Lamy 1’19.975
Lotus-Mugen Honda
Row 1325. Bertrand Gachot 1’20.729
26. David Brabham 1’21.186

Did not qualify:

Roland Ratzenberger, Simtek, 1’22.707
Paul Belmondo, Pacific, No time

1994 Brazilian Grand Prix

Schumacher’s starts became a point of contention late in the season as Benetton stood accused of retaining a banned launch control system. But his first start of the season gave no indication of any illegal performance enhancement: while Senna motored off into the lead, Schumacher fell to third behind Alesi.

The Ferrari drivers could scarcely believe his luck, as moments before the start his mechanics had been “running in all directions like headless chickens” as an engine failure forced a switch to the spare car.

Having got away cleanly, Alesi even took a speculative look at passing Senna but thought better of it, adding afterwards the local would have lynched him had he pitched their hero into the dirt at the first corner.

Schumacher’s Zetec-R V8 engine was widely considered the weakest link in the Benetton package, even though Ford-Cosworth’s unit had won six races the previous season including the final three. Its balance of performance and fuel economy was probably underrated, but for sheer grunt the Ferrari V12 was hard to beat.

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Illustrating that point, when Schumacher nipped past at Juncao on the end of lap one, the Ferrari blasted back into second place on the long uphill climb back to the pits. But Schumacher only spent one more lap stating at the rear wing of the 412T1. He made the same move next time around but made a cleaner exit and secured the position.

Behind them the field thinned out quickly. A phenomenal start propelled Berger to eighth but his engine only lasted five laps. Gianni Morbidelli, who had qualified his Footwork an excellent sixth, stopped on the same lap, his gearbox having been faulty since the start. Bertrand Gachot and Olivier Beretta had already retired having made contact while trying to avoid Eric Bernard’s spinning Ligier.

Senna held his lead over Schumacher at just under four seconds to begin with, but as the expected time of their first refuelling stop approached the Benetton drew closer to the Williams.

Was this going to be the story of 1994? The front of the field had a new look as the blue-white-gold Williams headed the pale blue Benetton. The pair dodged through traffic, kicking up sparks. Schumacher seemed to be biding his time, waiting for an opportunity.

The decisive moment came on lap 21 and not on the track, but in the pits. The pair came in together and Benetton’s crew got Schumacher out of his pit box again with the minimum disruption.

With no speed limit in force he gave the B194 full power as he scorched out of the bumpy pit lane. He shot past the stationary, who sat with his visor open as his mechanics pumped fuel into the car just millimetres behind his head. Moments later the Williams sped out of the pits in pursuit of Schumacher.

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Back on the track Senna found it was all he could do to keep the Benetton in sight. Schumacher set a searing pace – by lap 40 they were the only two drivers still on the lead lap. Five laps earlier a frightening shunt had eliminated four of their competitors.

Martin Brundle was leading a three-way scrap for seventh place involving two of the sport’s newest drivers: Eddie Irvine, making his third race start for Jordan, and debutant Verstappen. Brundle had just lapped Bernard’s Ligier when his McLaren’s Peugeot engine threw a flywheel.

As Bernard hesitated behind the McLaren, Irvine took avoiding action – and chaos ensued. Verstappen had drawn alongside Irvine just as the Jordan driver jinxed left. The B194 touched the grass and snapped out of control. It slewed sideways, collecting the Jordan and Bernard’s Ligier. Finally it reached Brundle’s McLaren and launched off the rear of the car.

Verstappen’s right-rear wheel dealt Brundle’s crash helmet a sickening blow as the Benetton headed for the sky. Mercifully all four drivers walked away, though a heavily concussed Brundle periodically stopped and crawled as he headed back to the pits.

The Safety Car remained on stand by throughout and by now the 26-car field which started the race had been halved to 13. But there was one more retirement to come – and it would be the most surprising of all.

Senna had fallen up to nine seconds behind Schumacher following their second pit stops but with 20 laps to go he was making periodic stabs at cutting the deficit. He gained more time as Schumacher spent most of one circuit putting a demoralised, unwell Hill a lap down again.

With 16 laps to go the gap was down to five seconds. But just as the race seemed to be building to a climax, it was all over. On lap 56 Senna’s FW16 snapped sideways at Juncao and stopped. A live heart rate monitor on the television broadcast – which was mercifully absent from later races – registered 164bpm as he climbed from the cockpit.

‘Senna out’ read Schumacher’s pit board as he began his 57th lap. The crowd had got the message as well, and thousands made for the gates with over a dozen laps still to run.

They didn’t miss any major developments over the final laps although another Sao Paulo native, Rubens Barrichello, delivered a career-best fourth place for Jordan.

Schumacher won by a full lap from Hill. Alesi joined them on the podium, his hands bloodied by 70 laps of wrestling with his Ferrari.

Ukyo Katayama scored Tyrrell’s first points since Suzuka in 1992, and Karl Wendlinger claimed the final point for sixth. The last of the 12 runners was David Brabham’s Simtek, four laps down but classified on the team’s debut.

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1994 Brazilian Grand Prix result

15Michael SchumacherBenetton-Ford71
20Damon HillWilliams-Renault701 Lap
327Jean AlesiFerrari701 Lap
414Rubens BarrichelloJordan-Hart701 Lap
53Ukyo KatayamaTyrrell-Yamaha692 Laps
629Karl WendlingerSauber-Mercedes692 Laps
712Johnny HerbertLotus-Mugen-Honda692 Laps
823Pierluigi MartiniMinardi-Ford692 Laps
920Erik ComasLarrousse-Ford683 Laps
1011Pedro LamyLotus-Mugen-Honda683 Laps
1126Olivier PanisLigier-Renault683 Laps
1231David BrabhamSimtek-Ford674 Laps
2Ayrton SennaWilliams-Renault55Accident
8Martin BrundleMcLaren-Peugeot34Accident
15Eddie IrvineJordan-Hart34Accident
6Jos VerstappenBenetton-Ford34Accident
25Eric BernardLigier-Renault33Accident
4Mark BlundellTyrrell-Yamaha21Accident
9Christian FittipaldiFootwork-Ford21Gearbox
30Heinz-Harald FrentzenSauber-Mercedes15Accident
7Mika HäkkinenMcLaren-Peugeot13Engine
24Michele AlboretoMinardi-Ford7Engine
10Gianni MorbidelliFootwork-Ford5Gearbox
28Gerhard BergerFerrari5Engine
19Olivier BerettaLarrousse-Ford2Accident
34Bertrand GachotPacific-Ilmor1Accident

‘An outrageous miscarriage of justice’

Irvine was handed a one-race ban for his role in the four-car pile-up during the race. But if that seemed severe, it was nothing compared to the consequences when Jordan appealed against the stewards’ decision.

The FIA Review Board threw the book at Irvine when it met in April, extending his ban to three races. In a decision which provoked widespread debate, Irvine’s actions were compared to those of a motorway driver whose reaction was to swerve instead of applying the brakes. They ruled:

  • The Board takes the view that F1 is the top of world motorsport and very high standards must be set by drivers participating in these races;
  • The Board is satisfied that Mr Irvine caused and avoidable collision, forced My Verstappen’s car off the track and illegitimately prevented Mr Verstappen’s legitimate overtaking manoeuvre;
  • The Board particularly has in mind the evidence, which they accept, that Mr Irvine knew of the fact that a car was following, and that he ought to have foreseen that Mr Verstappen may have overtaken him at that point;
  • It is the Board’s opinion that Mr Irvine failed to evaluate the situation in the way that he ought to have done, and recklessly pulled out to pass the car driven by Mr Bernard.

An appalled Eddie Jordan called Irvine’s sentence “one of the most outrageous miscarriages of justice I have ever seen in Formula One”.

While Jordan came to terms with an unfathomable ruling, Williams realised their days of dominance were, nor the time being at least, behind them.

They had begun the previous two seasons with crushing wins. But in Brazil Schumacher had been able to get ahead of Senna, pull out a lead and provoke the three-times world champion into a rare mistake.

Schumacher and Benetton represented a more than credible threat. The new season promised to be a tooth-and-nail fight between one of the sport’s great champions and the man who was starting to look like his successor.

This article is part of our series on the 1994 season. Read the first part here.

Grand Prix flashback

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Images © Williams/LAT

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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66 comments on “Schumacher wins, Senna spins and Brundle has an incredible escape”

  1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    25th March 2014, 13:16

    Crazy to think that Hill was a whole lap behind.

    1. Hill and Alesi were on 1 stop strategies.

      It’s as if Williams thought they had such a speed advantage that they didn’t bother experimenting in FP1/FP2 nor modelling the fastest pit-stop strategy, so they split strategies between Senna (3 stops) and Hill (1 stop).

      Keep in mind the pit lane speed limit didn’t apply, so the time penalty for stopping more often far outweighed the cost of carrying more fuel.

      1. Mr win or lose
        26th March 2014, 19:37

        Nonsense. Maybe the 2-stop strategy Senna and Schumacher applied was a little bit faster, but not a full lap of course. Hill was just very, very slow.

  2. I have to be honest, I’m really not looking forward to the race report that I presume will be posted on the 1st May @keithcollantine

    1. AMR (@aiera-music)
      25th March 2014, 13:40

      Got the Pacific Grand Prix at the AIDA circuit in between, but nonetheless…

    2. Feel the same. However, I do really like the concept of this series of articles. Since it started, it was like reading the countdown to one of the most tragic moments of motorsport history. Its a fascinating read.

    3. Yes, quite a macabre series, isn’t it? I’m sure there will be a lot of Senna memorial stuff when the time comes, so the ‘flashback’ will probably be buried among all that and will seem OK in context.

  3. I think Irvan didn’t just jinx left, he actually tried to create braking room for himself by shoving the other car away wheel to wheel. Initially I had thought it was an accident while watching the live race, but the replays showed a deliberate action on Irvan’s part.

  4. A liver heart-rate monitor. Why don’t we have it now?

    I would love to see how much cool Kimi really is in the cockpit or how is Alonso’s famed “spare thinking capacity”. I would love to have seen Massa’s heart rate when Smedley said to him: “Fernando is faster than you” or what emotions Hamilton went through when he overtook Glock.

    1. Yes, well obviously we can’t afford those luxuries anymore, FOM has it’s own spending cap well under control.

    2. which was mercifully absent from later races


      I doubt it would register much in the way of emotion. Might be interesting to add heart-rates to all those onboard replays of the start they always show instead of laps 3 and 4. There’ve been a few studies – Didier Pironi got his up to 212bpm(!) during practice at Monaco, according to Sid Watkins’ book.

      1. @bullfrog Staggering, isn’t it? More than three-and-a-half beats per second.

    3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      25th March 2014, 15:40

      what emotions Hamilton went through when he overtook Glock.

      do you want an old joke? none, cause that was arranged beforehand :P

      Yeah I know I REALLY DO know it wasn’t (I got the explanations many times by now) but I really wanted to say it. Here’s another one, so Ham fans don’t send me all their bricks flying:
      – How Alonso got the news Piquet crashed in Singapore (steady heart-rate?)
      – How Vettel and Web felt in the Multi21 or in Brazil 2012 (arranged beforehand? Naaahhh maybe only the Schum pass), or when Bruno Senna made him spin on lap 1
      – How Buemi felt when he lost his 2 front tyres and hit the wall.
      And the best one…
      HOW GROSJEAN FELT WHEN HE FLEW IN SPA (and how Alonso and Hamilton saw their lives passing through their eyes!!!)

    4. Am I missing that you guys are aware … or are you guys missing the point?

      “which was mercifully absent from later races”

      Maybe it’s because they don’t want to see a flat-line, live on TV, at accident time?

      1. That would be avoided by just not using the graphic whenever they show crash replays until they know the driver has walked away.

        1. ah “A live heart rate monitor on the television broadcast” … live as in “live” tv.

          1. But the broadcaster could choose when to show it. Like team radio, they filter it, select the best quotes, and broadcast it a bit later. It’s not there live all the time. They could do the same with the heart rate, showing it during replays, just before the green light, and things like that.

    5. Heart beat is at around 200 during the line up, before any physical action takes place. At the nearest go-kart track near you – adrenaline junkies should definitely try competitive karting :)

      1. My record was 227 during Easter Cup race during the formation lap (rolling start adds excitement to formation lap) :)

        Similar I get 200-215 while doing cardio on bike – but I literally feel like I’m about to die. Rather amazing as two samples are pretty different in their nature.

  5. So… no mention of Benetton’s illegal fuel rig that allowed MSC to take the lead in the pits then… Alright…

    1. Obviously the fuel rig row will be mentioned at the relevant point in this series (i.e. the German Grand Prix), and of course not everyone is going to make the same assumption about what Benetton may have done that you have.

      1. For sure

      2. To be honest, I think you describe it as accurately as makes sense here @keithcollantine. You mention that both Schumacher and Brawn had recent experience of refueling from sport scar racing, which made them best prepared for this. And its clear that helped them get ahead in this race.
        Whether they had already been using the trick with taking the filter out, is something we can suspect, but not know. And this way it accurately brings back how the season unfolded, as rumours of things being fishy at Benetton came up early enough, but not yet in Brazil.
        With hindsight

        1. I think it is a fair assumption given Brawn’s and Schumi’s experience in in sport car racing that the Benetton’s fuel rig was err, rigged in Brazil and the following races. I think it is common knowledge that Ross Brawn never let little things such as regulations get in the way of winning.

          1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend more than a reasonable conclusion to believe benneton’s lightning quick pitstops that year were due to the illegal fuel rig, I dont know why cheats are so fervently defended on this site…its like ‘well just because you found illegal software, dosent mean they actually USED it…’ lol its like coming up with ingenious theories as to how a smoking gun came to be so without firing..and more so when the same characters are involved. Not very far fetched to believe all the ‘conspiracy theories…and FIA findings…to believe brawn and schumacher were already cheating before they cheated at Ferrari

  6. Hmm, it looks like the championship will be a toss-up between Schumacher and Hill…

    1. Lets not forget Senna, he was right there with Schumacher, although I do get the feeling that he is over his top and the Benetton is better than the Williams this year.

      1. @bascb Yeah, I really hope we will get to see more of him in the future :(

        1. @andae23 @bascb 1994 is so bitter sweet for me, its just amazing how many emotions 1 bloke can have… I think this is the closest to feeling like a woman I ever will feel….

          1. i’m pretty certain that’s the dumbest comment i’ve read on this site

  7. Never realised earlier that Senna literally almost drove his heart out that day.

    I mean considering they had lapped the whole field during their monstrous fight, I always believed Senna drove one of his best ever races, if not the outright best that afternoon, I just can’t believe he put THAT much energy into it.

    It is incredible.

    In a way he and Alonso had this thing in common in the last few years of their career that both performed increasingly better as the years went on, but their cars meant only those with a very close look behind the results could spot their greatness.

    1. It’s interesting because to me, Senna’s most impressive performances were in years he didn’t win the WDC because of an inferior car. The fact he was able to wring out pole position from an unstable car is amazing, not to mention his wins with Lotus, his Monaco GP debut with Toleman, and well-discussed races like Donington 1993.

      1. Yes, absolutely.

      2. @steevkay

        That’s actually true for Michael as well. His best years were clearly between ’96 and ’99 when he was battling the superior Williams’ and Mclarens.

        PS: Senna’s best drive IMO, Estoril ’85

        1. Oh yeah, 100% agreed. Most will remember Schumacher’s domination with Ferrari in ’00 to ’04, but I just recently watched Hungary 1998 where Schumacher started behind the mighty McLarens, but through impeccable driving and a well-executed 3-stop strategy, he beat them both (or maybe this was Germany… in any case, it was closer to the end of 1998). It’s amazing to think that Schumacher, in addition to his 7 WDCs, was really close to attaining 9 or 10 WDCs in his career (’96-’98 were all very close in the championship tables, I believe) had the circumstances played more in his favour (which is funny to say considering 5 consecutive WDCs).

          1. I am not sure he stood a chance in 96. Williams was far too dominant.

          2. All 5 of Senna’s wins in 1993 were shining examples of his phenomenal talent – he arguably had to work harder for these victories against the superior Williams than any others in his career. Brazil, winning his home race for only the second time and making his McLaren look like it was on wheels compared to the rest of the field in monsoon like conditions where Prost in arguably the most technically advanced F1 car ever to hit the track lamely spun out. Everyone knows the story about Donnington, but at the time I was living about 40 miles from the track and remember the rain being absolutely torrential for hour after hour, yet Senna barely put a wheel wrong all afternoon, again showing Prost up somewhat. Monaco where he made sure he was running competitively and could take advantage of other’s mistakes (Prost jumping the start) and reliability issues to smash Graham Hill’s record for most wins in the principality. People often forget the pasting Prost was taking in the Press by early summer that year given how easy Mansell had made his championship look while Prost seemed to be making a real meal of the year in arguably a Williams with an even greater superiority. While Senna was leading the championship by this point (despite driving on a race by race basis with no contract), his challenge faded once Williams hit the mid season power circuits – but take a look at his short but intense duel with Prost at Silverstone as another example of his genius, while his wins in the last 2 races of the season in Suzuka and Japan made for a successful sign off to his McLaren career once it was clear he had decided to jump ship. For anyone who hasn’t seen these races it really is worth picking up the official FIA Highlights DVD.

      3. I think Senna’s 93 season was his finest. I remember clearly watching those races with my dad and we both couldn’t believe it. That Mclaren was no match for the Williams, but Ayrton dragged that thing kicking and screaming to the front when it had no business to be there in the first place. He was head and shoulders above the rest on that year, it was really a force of nature, and I never forgot that season.

        1. Have to agree with that, 1993 was by far his best year. He really did raise his game to an incredible level.

    2. Senna’s 93 season truly was memorable. His performances made the season exciting as it was only a matter of time that Prost would win the wdc. For all his brilliance he could not stop Prost winning the championship and in the latter part of the year – the accident with brundle at monza showed his frustrations. He was human after all Revisiting the accident
      it was kinda schumacher-at-mercedes-esque

    3. Yeah and what was quite amazing was a 34 year old Senna was still putting a car on pole that did not belong on pole..he still had enough raw speed at his age to grab pole in front of a much fresher schumacher in the last 3 races

  8. This looks like it’ll be a great series to read – really enjoyed this one.

    I only really started watching Formula One from about 1995 onwards, due to the fact that I was only a child, but I’ve always been fascinated by the 1994 season, for good and bad reasons. (Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 2 on my old Windows 95 was the only computer game I was every interested in playing as a child!)

    It’s comforting to remember that technical controversies, rampant unreliability and the presence of pay drivers is nothing new to Formula One.

    1. I remember playing Nigel Mansell’s F1 game for either NES or SNES back in the day…

      /end threadjack

  9. I certainly wouldn’t want to see what happened in the event of a fatality. Or arguably even worse if the monitor was damaged in a crash and millions of people immediately think the driver has been killed. Not worth those risks, even if it would be interesting to see how drivers’ heart rates varied in different situations.

    1. That was a reply to Sumedh above^^

  10. Are there any records of Senna which still stand today?

    1. @onebhk from the top of my head: Most consecutive poles-8

      From Wikipedia I can add 2 more:

      Most poles on the same track: Imola and Suzuka with 8. Suzuka is another record come to think of it , as I’ve just realized that Senna entered only 8 qualy sessions at Suzuka and won all of them! surely a record and near unbeatable

      Second record(now third) from Wiki is the highest by far amount of races where Senna led every lap from start to finish: 19. Next closest is Jim Clark with 13, Vettel with 12, Shumi and Stewart with 11

      1. @montreal95 Thanks a lot man… I was actually hoping deep down that Senna would have some records which will stand the test of time…

        1. @onebhk No problems man. But I must correct myself: Senna had 8 poles at the same track record only at Imola not Suzuka. He shares the 8 poles at the same track record with Schumacher who had the 8 at Suzuka(from a lot of appearances). Senna had 3 poles and 2 wins at Suzuka from 7 appearances only

    2. He still has the most Monaco wins.

    3. He won Monaco 6 times, 5 of which consecutive.

  11. Their 1992 car, the FW14B, was so fast the team postponed introducing its successor because it wasn’t needed.

    That is just incredible!

  12. I was there in 1993 and 1994, Interlagos. After winning brilliantly the 1993 GP, with Mclaren, there was so much expectations about Senna winning once more, after all he was driving Wlliams, the best race team at that point, but we knew that Williams didn’t manage to build a reliable car. When Senna spun, a third of the crowd left the circuit very disappointed. That’s how most of Brazilians see racing cars, like football, they cheer for their favorite racer, as they leave, they do the same. They didn’t know that was the Senna last race.

  13. Well done recount of the race. I remember that this season I was at school, and I didn’t have a TV, so I read the story in Road&Track, like 2-months later. Wish I had these stories back then.

    Two things stand out now. First, no pit lane speed limits. How crazy is it to let cars go flat out in a narrow pit lane like interlagos. Two, retirements. That’s not even a thing now. The cars were coarse and fragile and would just pack it in at any moment. It’s hard now to imagine a race now where you know that 10-25% of the field would be parked by the end of the race in a cloud of smoke.

  14. No speed limits in the pit lane?!?!?!? That is amazing considering it wasn’t that long ago.

    I think it’s great to look back at these old races and still see the same sort of controversies that we have today. Also, going by the youtube clip, the viewing experience on the television wasn’t that great, you can barely hear the cars and they are V12s!! With all the virtual stuff that we get to see nowadays and the technical analysis I think we are spoilt as a TV viewer. Yes it’s still not the same as going to a race, and it must have been amazing to have been there and hear those cars, but I think that people can be a bit to quick to criticise these days.

    Anyway I have rambled on for long enough haha!! Great stuff Keith I look forward to reading more.

    1. you can barely hear the cars and they are V12s!

      Only the Ferrari was a V12. In 1994 most of the field were running V10’s, All the Ford powered cars were V8’s.

      Think the engine’s were only doing about 13,000rpm back then as well. They were a lot quieter at that time compared to how loud they became over the past 10-13 years.
      Exception been the Ferrari V12 which would completely kill your hearing, Those things were literally painful to listen to without ear protection.

    2. My viewing experience of this GP was terrible. The BBC didn’t show the race live (it probably clashed with Songs of Praise or the snooker) and, in the absence of internet access, the only way of following what was going on was via a page on Ceefax which refreshed every five minutes and only showed the top six. There was no commentary so I could see that Senna had somehow vanished from the top six but not why. So a memorable experience, albeit for the wrong reasons!

      1. The BBC didn’t show the race live

        Yeah, I remember the BBC didn’t show every race live back then.
        EuroSport on the other hand showed every qualifying session, The Sunday morning Warm-Up & the race Live.

        BBC coverage of the time was fairly limited, No qualifying (Until 1996), Very little (If any) pre/post race & some races they started to show live but would then cut away mid-race to show something else that was a part of Grandstand.

    3. No speed limits in the pit lane?!?!?!? That is amazing considering it wasn’t that long ago.

      I believe the pit lane speed limit was one of the many changes made to improve safety following the disastrous 1994 season. Not entirely sure exactly why it was introduced (whether it was due to a specific pit lane incident or more of a common sense thing) or when it was introduced (during 1994 or at the start of 1995) but I’m sure we’ll find out.

      1. After Imola, when Alboreto’s rear wheel came off and hit a couple of mechanics.

        1. Pit speed limit was introduced at the 1994 Monaco Gp after the incident mentioned above at Imola.

          What makes the lack of any pit limit even more shocking is just how many people were allowed to stand around in the pit lane back then.

        2. I’d forgotten about that incident, and it was pretty scary. What was stunning (in a bad way) about that weekend was there were at least 4 other accidents worse than that.

    4. The Ford’s were V8’s. The Renault, Peugeot, Mercedes, Illmor, Yamaha and Hart’s were V10’s. The Ferrari was as it should be, a V12.

  15. I remember in the lead up to 1994 before irritated about the introduction of refueling.

    I was only 10 at the time but I somehow knew it was going to be bad for the sport & watching the 1st race where much of the passing was done in the pits & not much else was going on out on the track kinda backed up that opinion.

    I Was really dissapointed when the good on-track fight for the lead was killed by the fuel stops & even more dissapointed when Senna eventually spun out of the race.

    Refueling was something I continued to dislike right through to its eventual ban for 2010.

    1. The first 3 races of 1994 were the last of the ancient era of F1.

      I can remember seeing pre-season footage of teams practising refuelling stops without fireproof equipment for any team members.

  16. Mr win or lose
    26th March 2014, 19:56

    Is every 1994 flashback about how bad refueling was for the sport? 1994 was a terrible year because of the tragedies, the cheating of the Benetton team and Schumacher’s misbehavior. But refueling brought us more intense racing in 1994 and the subsequent years, something that’s seriously missing in the current F1.

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