South African GP 1993

South African GP, 1993

There had been major changes in the Formula 1 field since 1992 with Williams signing Alain Prost, who was returning to F1 after a year's absence. World Champion Nigel Mansell quit the team in order to go Indy Car racing in the United States and since second driver Riccardo Patrese had expected to lose his drive and had signed for Benetton, Frank Williams had to find a new driver. It was eventually decided that Damon Hill, the team's test driver, would be a good choice.

McLaren had been caught out by Honda's decision to quit F1 and so ended up with Ford V8 engines. The team had signed up CART star Michael Andretti and Mika Hakkinen from Lotus but kept the door open for Ayrton Senna who agreed to drive on a race-by-race basis. Benetton remained the Ford factory team and retained Michael Schumacher. Riccardo Patrese was signed to keep the Italians happy. Martin Brundle had been hoping for a deal with Williams but settled for a drive with the French Ligier-Renault team alongside fellow Briton Mark Blundell.

Ferrari had rehired John Barnard but the F93A was the work of a design team led by Harvey Postlethwaite. It was a much more conventional car than the F92A. The team retained Jean Alesi to drive alongside Gerhard Berger. Team Lotus continued to struggle for money but retained Ford V8 engines and hired Alex Zanardi to partner Johnny Herbert having lost Mika Hakkinen to McLaren. The team started the year with B versions of the Lotus 107 chassis.

Tyrrell was also short of cash and so hired pay drivers Andrea de Cesaris and Ukyo Katayama and took on the free Yamaha engine deal (from Jordan) and revamped the 020 chassis in C form. The Yamaha engines were in fact rebadged Judd V10s. Jordan decides to fund the development of Brian Hart's own V10 engine and hired Ivan Capelli and F1 newcomer Rubens Barrichello to drive.

The Footwork team had decided not to build a totally new car and produced a B version of the FA13 fitted with Mugen engines. Aguri Suzuki was joined by World Sportscar Champion Derek Warwick, returning to F1 after two seasons with the Peugeot sportscar team.

The March F1 team was in dire trouble. After a management buy out, the team had tried to find money from a Swiss company but when this failed to materialize the team was in trouble. It nominated Jean-Marc Gounon and Jan Lammers as drivers but while the cars reached Kyalami, the engines did not.

Scuderia Italia had broken with Dallara and done a deal to run Lola chassis in 1993 with backing from Chesterfield for drivers Luca Badoer and Michele Alboreto. Larrousse was struggling for money again but continued the deal with the Robin Herd-designed chassis, hiring Erik Comas from Ligier and Philippe Alliot and retaining Lamborghini V12 engines. Minardi switched to Ford power with Pierluigi Martini returning to partner Fabrizio Barbazza.

The only new team was Sauber, which had been intended as a Mercedes-Benz factory team. The team ran Karl Wendlinger and JJ Lehto in the Ilmor-engined cars.

Practice featured new restrictions in the number of laps drivers were allowed, there was less trial and error available. Alain Prost showed that a year away had made no difference and took pole from Senna, Schumacher, Hill, Alesi, Lehto, Patrese, Blundell, Andretti and Wendlinger.

When the race began Alain did not make a good start and so Senna jumped into the lead with Hill second until he spun at the first corner. Prost had to take avoiding action and Schumacher got ahead of him. It took 13 laps for him to retake the place and set off after Senna. Further back Hill began to recover but ended up crashing with Zanardi.

On lap 25 Prost went ahead of Senna and motored away. Senna remained second with Schumacher behind him until lap 40 when the German tried to pass the Brazilian and spun off. Patrese moved to third but he too spun off a few laps later leaving Blundell third. The order did not then change, despite a late race rain storm. The remaining points were collected by Fittipaldi, Lehto (scoring for Sauber on its debut) and Berger.

Alain Prost Williams-Renault  72 1h38m45.082s  
Ayrton Senna McLaren-Cosworth  72 1h40m04.906s  
26 Mark Blundell Ligier-Renault  71  
23 Christian Fittipaldi Minardi-Cosworth  71  13 
30 JJ Lehto Sauber-Ilmor  70  
6r 28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari  69 Engine 15 
7r Derek Warwick Footwork-Mugen Honda  69 Spin 22 
25 Martin Brundle Ligier-Renault  57 Spin 12 
21 Michele Alboreto Lola-Ferrari  55 Engine 25 
20 Erik Comas Larrousse-Lamborghini  51 Engine 19 
Riccardo Patrese Benetton-Cosworth  46 Spin 
Michael Schumacher Benetton-Cosworth  39 Accident 
12 Johnny Herbert Lotus-Cosworth  38 Fuel Pressure 17 
29 Karl Wendlinger Sauber-Ilmor  33 Electrics 10 
14 Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Hart  31 Gearbox 14 
27 Jean Alesi Ferrari  30 Hydraulics Belt 
19 Philippe Alliot Larrousse-Lamborghini  27 Spin 11 
24 Fabrizio Barbazza Minardi-Cosworth  21 Accident 24 
10 Aguri Suzuki Footwork-Mugen Honda  21 Accident 20 
22 Luca Badoer Lola-Ferrari  20 Gearbox 26 
Damon Hill Williams-Renault  16 Accident 
11 Alessando Zanardi Lotus-Cosworth  16 Accident 16 
Michael Andretti McLaren-Cosworth  Accident 
15 Ivan Capelli Jordan-Hart  Accident 18 
Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha  Transmission 21 
Andrea de Cesaris Tyrrell-Yamaha  Transmission 23