| 13 November 1994|| 3.780 km (2.362 mi)|
| LIX Australian Grand Prix|
Adelaide Street Circuit
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Temporary street circuit
81 laps, 306.180 km (191.362 mi)
The 1994 Australian Grand Prix (formally the LIX Australian Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on 13 November 1994 at the Adelaide Street Circuit. It was the sixteenth and final race of the 1994 Formula One season. The 81-lap race was won by Nigel Mansell driving for the Williams team after starting from pole position. Gerhard Berger finished second in a Ferrari car with Martin Brundle third for the McLaren team.
The race is remembered for an incident involving the two title contenders Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher which forced both to retire and resulted in Schumacher winning the World Drivers' Championship. Also notable was the last appearance in a Formula One Grand Prix of the first incarnation of Team Lotus, previously seven-time Constructors' Champions. It was also the 31st and last Grand Prix victory of Nigel Mansell's Formula One career. As of November 2015, this was the last Formula One race where the number of participants exceeded the number of places on the starting grid.
1994 Australian Grand Prix Wikipedia
Heading into the final race of the season, Benetton driver Michael Schumacher was leading the Drivers' Championship with 92 points; Williams driver Damon Hill was second on 91 points, one point behind Schumacher. Williams led the Constructors' Championship with 108 points, while Benetton were 5 points behind with 103. Thus, both titles were still at stake and they would be determined in the final round.
Schumacher took the lead at the start, with Hill second behind him. The order remained the same until lap 36. Hill was catching Schumacher when the Benetton driver went off the track at the East Terrace corner, hitting a wall with his right side wheels before pulling back onto the track. Hill had rounded the fifth corner of the track when Schumacher pulled across the track ahead of him to the left. At the next corner Hill attempted to pass Schumacher; the two collided when Schumacher turned in. Schumacher was eliminated on the spot. Hill attempted to continue the race and pitted immediately, but retired from the race with irreparable damage to the car's front left suspension wishbone. As neither driver scored, Schumacher took the title.
Schumacher was blamed for the incident by many Formula One insiders. Subsequently the race stewards judged it as a racing incident and took no action against Schumacher. Schumacher, at age 25 was Germany's first Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion, but under highly controversial circumstances, although no action was ever taken against him. The race was won by Nigel Mansell, the 31st and final Grand Prix victory of his career, and his only F1 victory on a street circuit.
Schumacher has always maintained that the collision was a racing incident, a view that met with a large degree of media cynicism, particularly in the UK.
Although Hill deliberately avoided becoming involved in the outcry at the time, in later years he explicitly accused Schumacher of deliberately driving into him. Formula One commentator Murray Walker maintained that Schumacher did not cause the crash intentionally. Patrick Head of the Williams team stated to F1 Racing magazine that in 1994 "Williams were already 100% certain that Michael was guilty of foul play", but didn't protest Schumacher's title because the team was still dealing with the death of Ayrton Senna; this was after Schumacher's punishment for blocking the circuit during qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix. Schumacher has been blamed by the UK public for the incident – in 2003, the BBC conducted a search for "The Most Unsporting Moment" in which the Adelaide incident was nominated. Hill's 1994 season earned him the 1994 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.Bold Text indicates World Champions.