Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Monza September 9, 1984
The 55th Italian Grand Prix in the middle of the turbo era saw the winner Niki Lauda taking full advantage of the qualities of his Porsche-powered McLaren MP4/2 and racing in a very clever way relaunching his third world title. It was Lauda's first victory at Monza and the fifth win of the season that led the Austrian driver to join Juan Manuel Fangio with a total of 24 Grand Prixes won in his career. That of Monza was a very lively race that saw alternate at the lead Nelson Piquet, Patrick Tambay and finally Niki Lauda. The protagonists of the race were the Italian drivers Michele Alboreto, second with the Ferrari 126 C4 and Riccardo Patrese, third with the Euroracing Alfa Romeo 184T. Unlucky Alain Prost forced to retire after just three laps due to the failure of the engine, perhaps scrambled in an attempt to keep the pace of a wild Piquet with the fast Brabham BT53 BMW. After Monza Alain Prost remained 10.5 points against Lauda in the ranking with only two other Grand Prix available to try the comeback and eventually lost the world title against Niki Lauda for only half a point.
The pole position was get by Nelson Piquet (the seventh of the season) thanks to the powerful 4-cylinder BMW accredited, in qualifying version of almost 1000 hp and Alain Prost obtained the second fastest lap to complete the first row. Elio De Angelis scored the third time and Lauda the fourth two seconds from pole position, annoyed by severe back pain. The Ferraris afflicted by electrical problems and at the gearbox were classified to the eleventh place with Michele Alboreto and the fourteenth with René Arnoux. Pierluigi Martini did not qualify with the second Toleman.
Brabham BT53 - BMW
The Bernie Ecclestone's team brought to Monza three cars, the BT53/4 for Nelson Piquet, the BT53/5 for Teo Fabi and the BT53/3 as a T-car. The BMW engines in the qualifying version were very powerful and Piquet proved to be very fast from the Friday free practices. At the end of the practices Piquet proved to be the fastest, scoring pole position with 1'26 "584 while Teo Fabi struggling with engine problems got the fifth place with 1'28" 597. At the start Piquet settle down in the head and remained there easily until the lap 15 when he stopped in the pits with the damaged water radiator and was forced to retire. Teo Fabi was one of the main protagonists doing a great race and coming back up to second place. On lap 43 an engine failure stopped him.
McLaren MP4/2 – TAG Porsche
Alain Prost scored the second fast time in practice conquering the first row with a time of 1'26 "671 but the day of the race was forced to start with the T-car, the MP4/2-3 because at the end of qualifying practices his race car the MP4/2-2 had problems with the engine with a loss of water and relative overheating. At the start Prost was surprised by Nelson Piquet and Elio De Angelis and entered the first chicane in third place. Realizing that he was playing the world championship he immediately attacked De Angelis, passing him at the Parabolica corner at the end of the first lap and hunted down for Piquet. On the third lap the TAG-Porsche engine broke, stopping the Frenchman to the Roggia chicane. Niki Lauda, despite suffering from a bad backache, got the fourth place on the starting grid with a time of 1'28 "533 two seconds from pole position. It happened that at the beginning of the practices Lauda came out of the pits with the belts not tightened properly and climbing on a curb suffered a backlash to the back that caused him a strong vertebral contusion. As usual, the Austrian made a very clever race breaking away in the long run and aided by a perfect MP4 / 2-1 grabbed the victory that paved the way for the world title.
Ferrari 126 C4
The Ferrari team brought 4 cars to Monza, in addition to the two conventional C4s the 126 C4/76 and the 126 C4/77, also two cars with the rear aerodynamics modified by Harvey Postlethwaite named “M2”, the chassis 126 C4/72 and 126 C4/74. The British designer heavily modified the rear aerodynamics to achieve the classic narrowing of the sides in front of the rear wheels, according to McLaren manner. To do this the radiators were moved forward as well as the intercooler. The lower body was also modified and the gearbox, completely faired gave overheating problems causing 3 breaks during the tests. Also modified the extractor profile that was lengthened and the support of the wing, now as a central pylon. The “M2” version was only used in practice and although it proved to be faster than the conventional C4 the two drivers Michele Alboreto and René Arnoux judged it too unripe and in the race they wanted to use the old car. Arnoux started in the middle of the grid with 14th time but already on lap 5 he retired with a broken gearbox. Alboreto started with the eleventh time and took an unexpected second place. The very important missing at the Italian Grand Prix was Mauro Forghieri, officially on vacation but actually at odds with the team.
Euroracing Alfa Romeo 184T
The Milanese team took to Monza three cars modified compared to what saw at the previous Grand Prix. The 184/4 was entrusted to Riccardo Patrese, the 184/3 to Eddie Cheever and the 184/2 was the T-car. The modifications concerned the rear part of the sides which showed a modest narrowing in front of the rear wheels. The sides were also extended forward by 15 cm to accommodate the water and oil radiators on the sides of the cockpit. These modifications brought a great advantage from the aerodynamic point of view, also allowing the engine to operate with lower operating temperatures. The practices saw Patrese and Cheever place respectively on the ninth and tenth place on the grid, but for the race the cars had to use a supercharged pressure of 1.8 atmospheres against a normal value of 2.2 atmospheres due to the high consumption of the engine. A careful race brought Patrese to the podium in third place and this represented the last podium reached by an Alfa Romeo in a Formula 1 race . Eddie Cheever six laps from the end while was in third position remained without fuel at the exit of the Ascari chicane.
Williams FW09 - Honda
The performance of the Williams FW09 equipped with the 6-cylinder Honda was quite opaque. Keke Rosberg with the FW09/8 got the sixth time in practices while his teammate Jacques Laffite with the FW09/3 qualified in thirteenth place. For both drivers the race did not last long due to the failure of the engine, Rosberg at lap eight and Laffite at lap ten.
The two Renault Re50 present at Monza were very competitive thanks to the new electronic injection system built by Renix that equipped the French 6-cylinder. Patrick Tambay had the Re50/02 chassis, built with Kevlar braided carbon fibre, preferred by the Parisian instead of the new carbon fibre frame while Derek Warwick used the RE50/08 chassis. The RE50/09 chassis was available as a T-car. The practices were not exciting and the French cars had many problems caused by the continuous breakage of the Garrett turbines. At the end Patrick Tambay finished in eighth place and Derek Warwick in twelfth. The Tambay's race was very fast and determined, managing to lead the race with authority from lap 15 to lap 42 but then was forced to retire on lap 43 with the broken throttle cable. Derek Warwick moved up to the 5th place but on lap 31 he retired with the oil pressure to zero.
Lotus 95 T - Renault
At Monza the car of Elio De Angelis, the 95T/3 was equipped with a new gearbox with reinforced gears and with the casting designed by Gerard Ducarouge. The new and more bulky gearbox also forced the redesign of the rear suspension into its points of attack. In practices the Lotus 95T of De Angelis turned out to be the fastest of the cars equipped with the 6-cylinder turbo engine Renault and the Roman placed it in the second row with the third time. Nigel Mansell got the seventh time with the 95T/2 equipped with the old gearbox. At the start Elio De Angelis started off well but soon began to have problems with the gearbox that broke on lap 14. Nigel Mansell ended out off the track on lap 13.
Osella FA1F - Alfa Romeo
Pier Carlo Ghinzani and Jo Gartner driven the two Alfa Romeo Osella present at Monza, respectively the FA1F/2 and the FA1F/3. The FA1F/1 was designated as a reserve car. The cars equipped with the Alfa Romeo V8 engine and well-prepared, qualified in twenty-second and twenty-fourth positions respectively with Ghinzani and Gartner. At the finish Jo Gartner arrived fifth winning two valuable points for the Italian team while Pier Carlo Ghinzani after a beautiful race while he was in fourth place with three laps from the end remained without fuel and was ranked seventh.
Toleman TG184 - Hart
The manager of the Toleman team Alex Hawkridge forbade the driver Ayrton Senna to participate in the Italian Grand Prix accusing him of having broken his contract with the team after signing for Lotus for the following year. The accusation were absolutely baseless but in fact Ayrton Senna did not get on Toleman number 19. His place was taken by Stefan Johansson who qualified his TG 184/5 in 17th place and ended the race in fourth place despite the break of a wheel bearing had forced him to stop in the pits to be sent back to the track quickly by the mechanics. The Toleman number 19, left free by Johnny Cecotto after his accident at Brands Hatch was entrusted for the occasion to Pierluigi Martini that despite the efforts failed to qualify. Martini got on the car for the first time during the official practices without ever having tried before and was excluded for just over 4 tenths of a second.
ATS D7 - BMW
The team led by Gunter Schmidt brought to Monza two cars, the D7/1 for Manfred Winkelhock and the D7/2 for Gerhard Berger that although equipped with the 4-cylinder turbo BMW, were not particularly fast. Gerhard Berger qualified for twentieth and Manfred Winkelhock twenty-first. Winkelhock was unable to start because during the formation lap the gearbox broke and for this Schmidt got very angry (as usual), blaming the driver and mechanics. Gerhard Berger reached the finish line in sixth place.
Spirit 101B - Hart
Two cars available for the only driver of the team the Dutch Huub Rothengatter, the 101B/2 and the 101B/1 as T-car. The car, equipped with an aluminium monocoque and the four-cylinder turbo Hart was not very competitive, mainly because of the economic hardship in which the team was located, which strongly limited the development of the car. At the beginning of the season the car was driven by Mauro Baldi replaced by Rothengatter starting from the Canadian Grand Prix. Baldi returned to the Spirti number 21 for the last two Grands Prix of the season. At Monza, Rothengatter qualified in 25th place and reached the eighth final position, 3 laps behind the leader.
RAM RM02 - Hart
Jonathan Palmer and Philippe Alliot had respectively the RM02/02 and RM02/01 frames, the only two taken to Monza. This car had the mixed chassis, built in aluminium and carbon fibre and the engine was the 4-cylinder Hart. The season was quite difficult for the drivers due to the lack of competitiveness of the cars. At Monza did not change anything, Alliot and Palmer after having qualified at 23rd and 26th place both retired with the broken engine.
Ligier JS23 - Renault
The 1984 for the Ligier Team was a year of misery. The Js23 was never competitive in spite of the engine that was the powerful 6-cylinder turbo Renault. Andrea De Cesaris and Francoise Hesnault had respectively the frames JS23/01 and JS23/2. In practices De Cesaris qualified sixteenth and Hesnault eighteenth. The race ended early for both, Hesnault finished out of the track on the seventh lap, De Cesaris broke the engine too on the seventh lap.
Arrows A7 - BMW
Grand Prix to forget also for Team Arrows. Three cars present at Monza including the A7/4 the new chassis built and entrusted to Thierry Boutsen to replace the one damaged at the Dutch Grand Prix. Marc Surer had the A7/1 chassis while the A7/3 was the T-car. In practices after having suffered two engine breaks on Friday, Marc Surer was able to place his A7/1 in 15th place while Thierry Boutsen did not do better than the seventeenth position. In the race only Boutsen saw the finish at the tenth and last place 6 laps behind the leader while Surer was forced to retire on lap 43 due to the failure of the engine.