Notes on the Cars in Germany

With travel and work schedules back to normal after the long trips away to the USA and Canada the teams arrived at Hockenheim in good order.

Brabham: After the B-specification cars showed no improvement at Brands Hatch in practice, and a half-way compromise proved better, the BT53 cars were in this trim for the German race, using carbon fibre brakes and six-speed gearboxes. The T-car ran in practice without the onboard jacking system and with a small water tank attached to the left side of the cockpit from which an electric pump sprayed water onto the underside of the intercooler when the boost was wound up to maximum. Piquet raced 53/4, Fabi 53/2 (irrespective of what the identity plate said) and the T-car was 53/3.

Tyrrell: The usual three cars, 012/4 for Johansson, 012/5 for Thackwell and 012/1 as the spare. Playing safe, in view of the impending court of appeal against their disqualification from the World Championship series, 012/4 which finished the race weighed 553 kgs.

Williams: A new FW09B for Rosberg, number 9 in the 1984 series, while Laffite was still in number 3 and number 1 was the spare car.

McLaren: It says much for the drivers and the team that they are still using the same three cars with which they started the season, most parts having been replaced on a time basis and engines changed constantly, but they have not destroyed a car. Prost was in MP4/2-2 until a few minutes before the start of the race, when he hurriedly switched to the T-car, MP4/2-3. Lauda was in MP4/2-1.

RAM: Palmer’s accident at Brands Hatch was attributed to a failure in the steering, and though the front of the car looked bad it was repairable, as was Alliot’s car after its flying act. Consequently everything was normal with Alliot in 03 and Palmer in 02.

Lotus: No changes to the 95T cars, apart from those to suit the circuit, with de Angelis in 3, Mansell in 2 and 4 as the spare car.

ATS: For a brief moment Bernard Ecclestone introduced his chum Colin Seeley into the team to try and bring about order from chaos, for the potential of the team is being wasted, but the idea fell flat on its face when team-owner Gunther Schmid caused friction and Seeley walked out as quickly as he had walked in. There was a brand new D7 car in use for this meeting, to the same design with its neat carbon fibre composite monocoque.

Renault: The Regie completed a new car for Patrick Tambay, RE50/09, to the same uprated structural plan as Warwick’s car 08. The spare car was RE50/02 and it came in for a lot of use as engine troubles beset the team during practice.

Arrows: A third A7 appeared for this race, brand new and to the same specification as the previous cars, with a BMW engine. It was meant to have been a stand-by, but during practice it seemed to be in constant use by both Surer and Boutsen as their own cars gave trouble.

Toleman: With Cecotto’s injuries keeping him out for the rest of the season the team concentrated on their number one driver and Senna had the use of two cars. His race car was a brand new one, TG184/05, fitted with a large rear aerofoil with smaller side “Winglets” as used by Ferrari, Brabham, McLaren, Renault and Lotus. Brian Hart’s best 4 cylinder engine was in use, with its unitary head and block, twin sparking plugs and electronic fuel injection system.

Spirit: Hanging on by their eyebrows, this little team were limited in their activity by having no spare engines, merely two complete cars. Huub Rothengatter was a bit apprehensive in Saturday’s rain as it would have been his first experience of racing in the rain, had it continued throughout Sunday.

Alfa Romeo: The team themselves hardly know what they are doing, so it is not surprising if the outside world loses track. They started off with Patrese in 184T/03, Cheever in 184T/02 and the spare car 184/01, all three having different combinations of mechanical or electrical fuel injection. After the first day Patrese took the spare car, so Cheever took Patrese’s car, but it all seemed a bit pointless. For the race they reverted to square one.

Osella: Two entries and three cars, all with V8 Alfa Romeo turbo-charged engines. Ghinzani had the use of 02 and 03, while Gartner had his Brands Hatch crashed car dusted off and repaired.

Ligier: Another team with little sense of direction, who just seem to be going through the motions of being part of the Formula One “circus”. Three Renault powered cars for de Cesaris and Hesnault and no Gitanes advertising as cigarette advertising is banned in Germany, a law that applied to McLaren and Lotus as well.

Ferrari: Four cars in all, 072 and 073 for Alboreto, and 075 and 074 for Arnoux. The first of each pair had entirely new rear ends with the suspension effectively turned upside down so that the coil spring/damper units were operated by push-rods instead of pull-rods and there were Renault-like air tunnels under the suspension. All four cars had the squared-off side-pods as first seen at Brands Hatch. — D.S.J.