South African GP 1984

APRIL 7, 1984

South African GP, 1984

There was only a fortnight between the Brazilian and South African GPs and with the race having been moved to the start of the year it was the second South African GP in six months. The first round of the 1984 series had been won by the McLaren-TAG of Alain Prost. There were 27 cars and with 26 starting the unlucky man was Thierry Boutsen. On pole was Nelson Piquet in his Brabham-BMW with Keke Rosberg alongside in his Williams-Honda. Then came Nigel Mansell (Lotus-Renault), Patrick Tambay (Renault), Prost, Teo Fabi (Brabham-BMW) and Elio de Angelis (Lotus-Renault). The top 10 was completed by Niki Lauda (McLaren-TAG), Derek Warwick (Renault) and Michele Alboreto (Ferrari).

In the warm-up on Sunday morning Jean-Pierre Jarier had an enormous accident when his Osella went off in the Jukskei Sweep. The car was torn in half by the huge impact and the monocoque somersaulted down the road. The trail of fuel caught fire and Ghinzani suffered burns to his right hand when he took his glove off to undo his seat belts. Otherwise he was unhurt. He did not race and so Boutsen was able to start.

Before the start Prost's McLaren refused to start and so Prost jumped into the spare and drove out of the pits (illegally). At the end of the lap he went back to the pits. The start was aborted, however, when Mansell stalled and so Prost was ready to start from the pitlane as he should have done. At the second attempt the field got away although Piquet made a bad start and was passed almost immediately by Mansell. But the car then faltered and Mansell was overtaken by the rest of the field led by Rosberg. Piquet got his car running and on the run down to the first corner he used the BMW's prodigious horsepower to overtake the cars which had slipped ahead. He was second into the corner behind Rosberg. Fabi was third. At the end of the first lap Piquet took the lead. A lap later Fabi moved to second place while Rosberg found himself with Lauda, Warwick and Tambay chasing. Ayrton Senna (Toleman) lost some of the bodywork from the nose of his car but decided that he would continue without it. Rosberg held on to third, struggling with his Goodyear tires, while the Michelin users queued up behind him. Lauda moved to third on the fourth lap but Warwick struggled to get by Rosberg's Honda having plenty of horsepower. On lap 10 Lauda moved to second and it was not long before Fabi was in the pits for new tires. Piquet began to struggle as well and Lauda moved in. Before he could pass Piquet the Brazilian pitted on lap 21. This left Lauda in the lead with Rosberg second and Warwick third but Piquet was soon charging back and he was up to second within four laps But on lap 29 the BMW turbo broke and Piquet was out, leaving the order as it had been until Prost overtook Warwick. The mid-race pit stops then took place, during which Rosberg disappeared and Jacques Laffite (Williams-Honda) decided not to stop and was second until Prost passed him. The order remained unchanged until lap 60 when Laffite's car shed a wheel and so Tambay moved to third (after passing Alboreto). The Renault however ran out of fuel with nine laps to go and so the position went to Warwick in the sister car, which was not misfiring and so used less fuel. But he was a lap down on the two McLaren-TAGs. Riccardo Patrese (Alfa Romeo) was fourth with Andrea de Cesaris (Ligier) fifth and Senna sixth, scoring his first World Championship point.

Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG Porsche  75 1h29m23.430s  
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Porsche  75 1h30m29.380s  
16 Derek Warwick Renault  74  
22 Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo  73  18 
26 Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault  73  14 
19 Ayrton Senna Toleman-Hart  72  13 
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault  71  
21 Mauro Baldi Spirit-Hart  71  20 
17 Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth  71  23 
10 25 Francois Hesnault Ligier-Renault  71  17 
dq Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Cosworth  71 (1) 25 
11r 27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  70 Ignition 10 
12 18 Thierry Boutsen Arrows-Cosworth  70  26 
15 Patrick Tambay Renault  66 Fuel Metering Unit 
Jacques Laffite Williams-Honda  60 Cv Joint 11 
dq Stefan Bellof Tyrrell-Cosworth  60 Hub/(1) 24 
14 Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW  53 Battery/engine 12 
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda  51 Wheel Nut/wheel Lost 
12 Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault  51 Turbo Inlet Duct 
28 Rene Arnoux Ferrari  40 Fuel Injection 15 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW  29 Turbo Compressor 
20 Johnny Cecotto Toleman-Hart  26 Tire Burst/suspension 19 
Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart  24 Water Leak/engine 22 
10 Jonathan Palmer RAM-Hart  22 Gearbox/electrics 21 
Teo Fabi Brabham-BMW  18 Turbo Compressor 
23 Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo  Radiator 16 
ns 24 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo   Accident/injury 27