Harman Patil (Editor)

1984 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Date  March 25, 1984
Course length  5.031 km (3.126 mi)
1984 Brazilian Grand Prix
Official name  X Grande Prêmio do Brasil
Location  Jacarepaguá Circuit Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  61 laps, 306.891 km (190.686 mi)

The 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Jacarepaguá Circuit in Rio de Janeiro on March 25, 1984. It was the first round of the 1984 Formula One season and the first race where the FISA mandated 220 litre fuel limit came into effect, with the re-fueling of 1983 now banned. Many of the drivers correctly predicted that this would turn Grand Prix racing into fuel economy runs rather than actual races. It was also the first Formula One race for the future triple World Champion, Ayrton Senna.



Elio de Angelis claimed the first pole position of the season in his Lotus-Renault from the Ferrari of Michele Alboreto in his first race for the Prancing Horse. Derek Warwick, in his first race for Renault, was 3rd on the grid with the McLaren-TAG of Alain Prost 4th, Prost returning to the team he started his career with after three seasons with Renault. Reigning World Champion (and local favourite) Nelson Piquet qualified 7th in his Brabham-BMW, while another Brazilian, a Formula One rookie by the name of Ayrton Senna qualified 17th for his first ever Grand Prix in his Toleman-Hart.


With only 220 litres of fuel allowed, many teams on the grid tried various ways to save fuel from evaporating in the Rio heat. McLaren covered their cars in tin foil while others such as Lotus and Renault attempted to freeze their fuel in order to actually fit more in. The Renault team also had a sophisticated (for 1984) electronic fuel monitoring system which they hoped would give them an advantage over their rivals.

Alboreto got the jump at the start and led early from Warwick and de Angelis, with the McLarens of Niki Lauda and Prost. The Frenchman had made a bad start after bogging down at the green light with too few revs and was 10th at the end of the first lap. Not having done a practice start in the car, during the warm-up he had asked Lauda what revs to use at the start. Lauda told him no less than 10,000 but on the grid Prost felt this was too high and dropped to 8,000 only to find Lauda had been correct. Despite this he was beginning to show the superior race speed which would become the story of the season. When Lauda passed Warwick for 2nd at the end of the back straight on lap 10, the McLaren's right rear hit the Renault's left front tyre. The hit damaged Warwick's suspension, leading to suspension failure for the Renault driver late in the race when running second.

Senna was the first retirement of the 1984 season with turbo failure on lap 8.

Alboreto's race was ruined by a loose bolt in his car's right front brake caliper which released all the brake fluid and caused the brake to overheat, resulting in a couple of spins and a pit stop where buckets of water were thrown over the brakes in a vein attempt at cooling it. Lauda was leading by some 40 seconds on lap 34 when the wires to his McLaren's battery came loose causing electrical failure. Piquet, who had almost stalled his Brabham as the flag fell, finished an unhappy race on lap 32 when the BMW engine failed coming onto the pit straight.

After passing Warwick for the lead, Prost, who was in the pits for a tyre change when Lauda coasted in to retire, lost the lead back to the Englishman when he made his second stop for tyres. He regained the lead for good following Warwick's retirement and ran out the winner by 40.514 seconds from the Williams-Honda of Keke Rosberg and the Lotus of de Angelis. For Rosberg it was his third successive second place in the Brazilian Grand Prix, though it was the only one in which he was not disqualified. Eddie Cheever drove well to finish 4th in the Alfa Romeo many said would not finish the race before running out of fuel, while Renault's Patrick Tambay was classified in 6th after running dry on the last lap, losing 5th to another F1 rookie in Martin Brundle in his Tyrrell-Ford.

Brundle, and the entire Tyrrell team would later be disqualified from the season for technical infringements. This gave 5th place to Tambay with Thierry Boutsen elevated to 6th in his Arrows-Ford.

Lap Leaders

  • Michele Alboreto 11 (1-11), Niki Lauda 26 (12-37), Alain Prost 12 (38, 51-61), Derek Warwick 12 (39-50)
  • Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Martin Brundle and Tyrrell were subsequently disqualified from 1984 results and their points reallocated.
  • References

    1984 Brazilian Grand Prix Wikipedia

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