German GP 1994

JULY 31, 1994

German GP, 1994

There was a very tense atmosphere at the German GP with Michael Schumacher's fans attacking several Williams team vehicles because of the controversy at Silverstone. Further new rules had been introduced, notably a reduction in the size of the rear wing and the introduction of the wooden "stepped flat bottoms". These are planks of special hard wood which are fitted under the cars. They must show no significant wear at the end of the race as this would indicate that the car was running illegally low. The lower the car, the greater the aerodynamic advantage for better speed and cornering. This meant that the cars were sliding more than before. The big news however was an announcement by the FIA that it had found irregularities in the Benetton software at Imola. The team immediately declared its innocence.

Qualifying resulted in a Ferrari 1-2 with Gerhard Berger ahead of Jean Alesi. It was the first Ferrari pole position for four years. Damon Hill was third in his Williams-Renault with Schumacher only fourth and obviously struggling, with his car sliding a lot more than previously. Ukyo Katayama took fifth in his Tyrrell-Yamaha ahead of David Coulthard's Williams and Ukyo's team mate Mark Blundell. Mika Hakkinen was eighth for McLaren, the Finn having set the time in Martin Brundle's car after he had crashed his own. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was ninth in his Sauber while the two Jordan-Harts were 10th and 11th, Eddie Irvine beating Rubens Barrichello.

At the start Berger took the lead from Alesi and a fast-starting Katayama. Behind there was chaos. Before the field even got to the first corner Andrea de Cesaris (Sauber) and a fast-starting Alex Zanardi (Lotus) collided in the midfield. The cars then took out the two Minardis of Pierluigi Martini and Michele Alboreto. As the field dived into the first turn Hakkinen and Blundell were on either side of Coulthard. The Scotsman was squeezed and had nowhere to go and so he hit Hakkinen and the McLaren-Peugeot spun in front of the pack while Blundell braked hard and was hit from behind by Irvine, punted into a spin and was then hit by Frentzen before bouncing back into Irvine again. Hakkinen, Blundell, Frentzen and Irvine all slid into the gravel trap, leaving Barrichello with no choice but to join them. Further back Johnny Herbert (Lotus) slowed when he saw what was happening ahead and he was then hit by Martin Brundle's McLaren. This spun Brundle across the road but he missed being hit by any other cars.

A few metres up the road from the carnage Alesi slowed with an engine failure. As the leaders braked for the first chicane Schumacher squeezed past Katayama to take second place. Hill was fourth and Coulthard, with his front wing knocked out of place, was fifth. At the third chicane Hill challenged Katayama for third. The two collided and both damaged their suspensions. The result at the end of the first lap was Berger leading Schumacher with a gap back to Katayama and Olivier Panis's Ligier. Only 13 cars cars were still running. On the second lap fifth-placed Verstappen was overtaken by Eric Bernard's Ligier and four laps later Katayama disappeared with a sticking throttle whih caused him to have two spins on the same lap. This promoted Panis to third and Bernard to fourth.

The Benettons pitted early and on lap 15 there was a spectacular fire in the pit when Verstappen's refuelling went wrong. Five mechanics and Verstappen all suffered minor burns. Four laps later Benetton's weekend ended when Michael Schumacher's engine failed. This promoted Panis to second and Bernard to third. Berger continued to lead and the order remained unchanged for the rest of the afternoon with Christian Fittipaldi finishing fourth in his Arrows ahead of team mate Gianni Morbidelli with Erik Comas's Larrousse sixth.

28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari  45 1h22m37.272s  
26 Olivier Panis Ligier-Renault  45 1h23m32.051s  12 
25 Eric Bernard Ligier-Renault  45 1h23m42.314s  14 
Christian Fittipaldi Footwork-Cosworth  45 1h23m58.881s  17 
10 Gianni Morbidelli Footwork-Cosworth  45 1h24m07.816s  16 
20 Erik Comas Larrousse-Cosworth  45 1h24m22.717s  22 
19 Oliver Beretta Larrousse-Cosworth  44  24 
Damon Hill Williams-Renault FW16 44  
32 Jean-Marc Gounon Simtek-Cosworth  39 Gearbox 26 
31 David Brabham Simtek-Cosworth  37 Clutch 25 
Michael Schumacher Benetton-Cosworth  20 Engine 
Martin Brundle McLaren-Peugeot  19 Engine 13 
David Coulthard Williams-Renault  17 Electrics 
Jos Verstappen Benetton-Cosworth  15 Refueling Fire 19 
Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha  Throttle Jammed 
27 Jean Alesi Ferrari  Electrics 
30 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Mercedes  Accident 
12 Johnny Herbert Lotus-Mugen Honda  Accident 15 
14 Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Hart  Accident 11 
15 Eddie Irvine Jordan-Hart  Accident 10 
Mark Blundell Tyrrell-Yamaha  Accident 
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Peugeot  Accident 
11 Alessandro Zanardi Lotus-Mugen Honda  Accident 21 
23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Cosworth  Accident 20 
24 Michele Alboreto Minardi-Cosworth  Accident 23 
29 Andreas de Cesaris Sauber-Mercedes  Accident 18 
nq 33 Paul Belmondo Pacific-Ilmor     
nq 34 Bertrand Gachot Pacific-Ilmor