Australian GP 1993

Australian GP, 1993

The fortnight between the Japanese and Australian GPs witnessed the launch of the new Simtek Grand Prix team which announced that it would be running David Brabham in 1994. Benetton had given up hope of a Renault engine deal and so re-signed with Ford and JJ Lehto was tipped to join Michael Schumacher. Mercedes-Benz announced that it was making an official return to F1 as engine supplier to Sauber, although it was really only a rebadging deal as the Sauber V10 engine had been Mercedes-Benz funded throughout 1993.

McLaren was looking to end the season with another victory to draw clear of Ferrari in the competition for the most Grand Prix wins of all time and Ayrton Senna wanted to end his relationship with the team on a high note. He did so in qualifying with a masterful pole position, beating the two Williams-Renaults of Alain Prost and Damon Hill (the first time a Williams was off pole all season). Michael Schumacher was fourth fastest in his Benetton ahead of Mika Hakkinen's McLaren and Gerhard Berger's Ferrari, the Austrian having survived a big accident in practice on Friday. The top 10 was completed by Alesi's Ferrari, Martin Brundle's Ligier (still in its artistic color scheme introduced Suzuka), Riccardo Patrese's Benetton and Aguri Suzuki's Footwork.

It took three attempts to start the race with Ukyo Katayama (Tyrrell) and then Eddie Irvine (Jordan) stalling. Both were sent to the back of the grid. The third attempt was successful with Senna leading Prost into the first corner. Hill was third with Schumacher behind him while Hakkinen made a bad start and was stuck behind Berger.

Schumacher adopted a curious strategy with a stop on lap 15 which enabled him to run very fast early on but his efforts were pointless as he retired with an engine failure on lap 20. Senna pitted on lap 24 and Prost was briefly in the lead but he stopped on lap 29 and Senna went ahead again with Alain second, Hill third ahead of Alesi, Berger and Brundle.

The two Williams-Renaults had to stop again and that gave Senna a big lead so that when he stopped for the second time on lap 55 he was able to rejoin with a healthy lead of 20 seconds. Hill later tried to pass Prost for second place and spun but he rejoined to finish third.

It was the perfect result. Senna and Prost - the giants of the era - had fought their last battle. Senna had scored a brilliant win (his last as it would turn out) and on the podium the two old enemies shook hands and made their peace.

The minor points went to Alesi, Berger and Brundle.

Ayrton Senna McLaren-Cosworth  79 1h43m27.476s  
Alain Prost Williams-Renault  79 1h43m36.735s  
Damon Hill Williams-Renault  79 1h44m01.378s  
27 Jean Alesi Ferrari  78  
28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari  78  
25 Martin Brundle Ligier-Renault  78  
10 Aguri Suzuki Footwork-Mugen Honda  78  10 
8r Riccardo Patrese Benetton-Cosworth  77 Fuel Pressure 
26 Mark Blundell Ligier-Renault  77  14 
10 Derek Warwick Footwork-Mugen Honda  77  17 
11 14 Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Hart  76  13 
12 20 Erik Comas Larrousse-Lamborghini  76  21 
13 Andrea de Cesaris Tyrrell-Yamaha  75  15 
14 19 Toshio Suzuki Larrousse-Lamborghini  74  24 
15r 29 Karl Wendlinger Sauber-Ilmor  73 Brake Disc/accident 11 
30 JJ Lehto Sauber-Ilmor  56 Throttle Jammed/accident 12 
23 Jean-Marc Gounon Minardi-Cosworth  34 Spin 22 
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Cosworth  28 Brake Pipe 
Michael Schumacher Benetton-Cosworth  19 Engine 
Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha  11 Accident 18 
15 Eddie Irvine Jordan-Hart  10 Accident/suspension 19 
12 Johnny Herbert Lotus-Cosworth  Suspension Hydraulics 20 
24 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Cosworth  Gearbox 16 
11 Pedro Lamy Lotus-Cosworth  Accident 23