Ayrton Senna in Toleman at 1984 Monaco GP

1984 Monaco Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna's brilliance emerges as he passes Alain Prost for the lead of the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix — only to be classified second when the race is quickly stopped due to wet weather

It was a few seconds before ten minutes to five on Sunday June 3rd that Jacky Ickx, as Clerk of the Course for the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, finally gave the instruction to show the red flag and the chequered flag at the start line, thereby defusing what was quickly becoming an explosive contest between Alain Prost’s McLaren MP4/2 and the Hart-engined Toleman TG184 of new boy Ayrton Senna. Taking a personal, and reflective, view of this race rather than providing Motor Sport’s readers with only a blow-by-blow account of the proceedings, I have to say that my initial reaction was to think back 12 years to the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix which was run in similar conditions of appalling rain and spray — a race which wasn’t stopped and was finally won by Jean-Pierre Beltoise after a magnificent display of car control at the wheel of his BRM P160. One of the most accomplished wet weather “aces” of that time was out-driven by Beltoise on this rare occasion and finished second at the wheel of his Ferrari 312B2. His name, of course, was Jacky Ickx…

Memories play tricks on people, of course, but I’m bound to say that I don’t feel the weather conditions at Monaco in 1984 were significantly worse than in ’72, although whether any conclusions can be drawn from the fact that Beltoise’s winning average was 102 kph on the faster “pre-’73” circuit, as opposed to Prost’s average of 100.775 kph in this year’s event, is difficult for me to say.

One thing, of course, it is easy to be sure of. In circumstances such as those which prevailed this year at Monaco, you can be certain that some people will emerge from the event chorusing “we was robbed!”, or words to that effect. However, one must remember one crucial factor when examining these claims: Alain Prost was just about the only driver on the circuit not to make a single driving error all weekend. The Frenchman, who has already won two Grands Prix this year, qualified on pole position with a lap in 1 min 22.661 sec and simply smiled quietly when asked by the press “what problems did you have?” Such an invitation from the scribes at Monaco is invariably met with the very serious explanation “well, I would have been half a second quicker, but I was badly baulked on my second set of qualifiers”. Of course, with 27 cars frantically attempting to qualify tor 20 starting positions on this tight little circuit, for most of the time somebody is bound to be in somebody else’s way, so that is a fact of life everybody must accept. Some people seem to be better finding “holes in the traffic” than others and, although the writer definitely witnessed occasions on which certain leading runners had grounds for complaint over the behaviour of backmarkers, the moan “I got held up” is now used by many people as a stock excuse for “failing to get their act together”.

More on 1984 Monaco Grand Prix

Race Results


Circuit - Monte Carlo




Monte Carlo


Temporary street circuit


2.058 (Miles)


Michele Alboreto (Ferrari 156/85), 1m22.637, 89.655 mph, F1, 1985