1994 Brazilian Grand Prix race report: Against expectations

1994 Brazilian Grand Prix

Against expectations

Race Winner
Country
Brazil
Circuit
Round
1
Laps
71
Pole
Fastest Lap
Schumacher, 1m 18.455s
1994 Season
Past Results

In the end, the Brazilian Grand Prix went against all expectations. Few would seriously have bet against the chances of Ayrton Senna, on his homeground, and the Williams-Renault. Even less so if you gave full credibility (and there was every justification to) to stories that the Brazilian had actually lapped Imola in recent testing another six tenths of a second quicker than Michael Schumacher. The German had achieved 1m 21.08s to set what was believed to be the fastest time in the final big test before the Grand Prix, but Williams personnel just smiled knowingly when you asked them if it was true that Senna had actually done 1m 20.6s, measured at a different point on the course than the accepted start/finish line.

In qualifying Senna had duly been fastest, the gap between him and Schumacher seesawing. It would be wider in free practice, only to close again in each qualifying session, but if you were Brazilian you had little to worry about. The local hero had taken the 63rd pole position of his career land was pleasantly surprised to receive an official award for the first time to reflect that effort) and all was well.

Already, however, there had been indications that this was the race to upset expectations. For a start there had been no protests during scrutineering, which made it quite clear as we predicted last month that the arguments over technical specification were, after all, a storm in a teacup. Then there were the gaps on the grid. Far from closing up, the front rows were as far apart as ever in terms of lap times, with Senna and Schumacher in a class of their own and Jean Alesi and Damon Hill clear enough of their rivals on the second row. So much for the new regulations making things more even. At the start, Senna led majestically as Alesi burst through to steal second place from a tardy Schuma cher, but even on that first lap Michael was challenging very hard. He actually succeeded in passing the Ferrari on the inside going into the tight left-hander which leads to the long drag back to the curved pit 'straight', but as he ran wide Alesi poun ced again and regained the position. They were side-byside down to the first corner, but further round the lap Michael found the gap he wanted and after that the Ferrari permitted Jean no answer. At that stage Senna had opened a four second lead, but Schumacher narrowed that fractionally on lap three, and that was when he knew he had a chance of victory. From lap seven until they made their first scheduled refuelling stops on lap 21, it was never more than three seconds. All weekend indeed, for weeks leading up to the race there had been tacit dread about refuelling. HA President Max Mosley was reportedly furious about comments made in The Sunday Times which hinted at the inherent dangers, and all down the pit road you could find faces thoughtfully contemplating the clumsy-looking apparatus which costs so much to make and to transport. As it transpired, the Brazilian weekend went off perfectly in this respect, with no dramas. When Martin Brundle had come in for the first official 1994 race-stop refuelling on lap 15 his call had occupied 10.3s and he had rejoined with no problem whatsoever. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, Now, when Senna and Schumacher came in together, the air was electric. As the Nomexed fuel men and tyre men went to work the race hung in the balance, and it was the Mild Seven Benetton which dropped back on to its contact patches marginally before the Rothmans Williams Renault. When they were racing again, it was Schumacher in the lead. Within a lap he was 2.5s ahead, then 2.3s, then 3.9s. Steadily, as they negotiated the backmarkers at awesome pace, he edged the gap open. Incredibly, they lapped Hill by lap 40, when the gap was six seconds. The Briton, who had taken Alesi for third place when the Ferrari stopped for fuel on its 18th lap, had opted to run through with only one stop, rather than the more popular two, and was astonished to see how fast he'd been left behind. By this stage it was more than apparent that Schumacher had Senna's measure on this occasion, so their final stops were even more eagerly awaited. This time they came in separately, Ayrton on lap 44 (8.5s), Michael on lap 45 (7.4s). Again, the gap stabilised at eight seconds by the 50th lap, when even Senna's most ardent fans were beginning to realise that we were watching an eclipse. Williams-Renault, with a team leader operating at maximum commitment, was getting a sound beating. Senna, of course, would not give up the chase, and as he used traffic to his utmost and Schumacher used his head, the deficit began to shrink. By lap it was down to 5.5s, but it was not one of those charges that had a mathematical inevitability about it. Schumacher was in control and Senna was right on the edge of it. lust how close he was to that edge became apparent the following lap. Going into the Subida dos Boxes corner that followed the left-hander in which Alesi had earlier repassed Schumacher, Senna got into a slide and simply lost it. The Williams slithered sideways off the track, and when he tried to regain the road he stalled the Renault VIO. Game over. In their droves his countrymen, a trifle bewildered one suspects, departed unhappily for home.

Race Results

Position Driver No. Team Vehicle Time Points

1

1

Michael Schumacher

5

Mild Seven Benetton Ford

Benetton B194-Ford (Goodyear)

1h 35m 38.759s

10

2

2

Damon Hill

0

Rothmans Williams Renault

Williams FW16-Renault (Goodyear)

70 laps

6

3

Jean Alesi

27

Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari 412T1 (Goodyear)

70 laps

4

4

10

Rubens Barrichello

14

Sasol Jordan

Jordan 194-Hart (Goodyear)

70 laps

3

5

5

Ukyo Katayama

3

Tyrrell Racing Organisation

Tyrrell 022-Yamaha (Goodyear)

69 laps

2

6

1

Karl Wendlinger

29

Broker Sauber Mercedes

Sauber C13-Mercedes-Benz (Goodyear)

69 laps

1

7

14

Johnny Herbert

12

Team Lotus

Lotus 107C-Mugen (Goodyear)

69 laps

0

8

7

Pierluigi Martini

23

Minardi Scuderia Italia

Minardi M193B-Ford (Goodyear)

69 laps

0

9

4

Erik Comas

20

Tourtel Larrousse F1

Larrousse LH94-Ford (Goodyear)

68 laps

0

10

14

Pedro Lamy

11

Team Lotus

Lotus 107C-Mugen (Goodyear)

68 laps

0

11

8

Olivier Panis

26

Ligier Gitanes Blondes

Ligier JS39B-Renault (Goodyear)

68 laps

0

12

14

David Brabham

31

MTV Simtek Ford

Simtek S941-Ford (Goodyear)

67 laps

0

DNQ

Roland Ratzenberger

32

MTV Simtek Ford

Simtek S941-Ford (Goodyear)

0

DNQ

Paul Belmondo

33

Pacific Grand Prix

Pacific PR01-Ilmor (Goodyear)

0

R

Bertrand Gachot

34

Pacific Grand Prix

Pacific PR01-Ilmor (Goodyear)

1 laps Accident

0

R

Mark Blundell

4

Tyrrell Racing Organisation

Tyrrell 022-Yamaha (Goodyear)

21 laps Accident

0

R

Jos Verstappen

6

Mild Seven Benetton Ford

Benetton B194-Ford (Goodyear)

34 laps Accident

0

R

Mika Hakkinen

7

Marlboro McLaren Peugeot

McLaren MP4/9-Peugeot (Goodyear)

13 laps Electrics

0

R

Martin Brundle

8

Marlboro McLaren Peugeot

McLaren MP4/9-Peugeot (Goodyear)

34 laps Accident

0

R

Christian Fittipaldi

9

Footwork Ford

Footwork FA15-Ford (Goodyear)

21 laps Gearbox

0

R

Michele Alboreto

24

Minardi Scuderia Italia

Minardi M193B-Ford (Goodyear)

7 laps Electrics

0

R

Eric Bernard

25

Ligier Gitanes Blondes

Ligier JS39B-Renault (Goodyear)

33 laps Accident

0

R

Heinz-Harald Frentzen

30

Broker Sauber Mercedes

Sauber C13-Mercedes-Benz (Goodyear)

15 laps Spun

0

R

Gerhard Berger

28

Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari 412T1 (Goodyear)

5 laps Engine

0

R

Gianni Morbidelli

10

Footwork Ford

Footwork FA15-Ford (Goodyear)

5 laps Gearbox

0

R

Eddie Irvine

15

Sasol Jordan

Jordan 194-Hart (Goodyear)

34 laps Accident

0

R

Olivier Beretta

19

Tourtel Larrousse F1

Larrousse LH94-Ford (Goodyear)

2 laps Accident

0

R

Ayrton Senna

2

Rothmans Williams Renault

Williams FW16-Renault (Goodyear)

55 laps Spun

0

Circuit - Interlagos

Country

Brazil

Location

Sao Paulo

Type

Permanent road course

Length

2.677 (Miles)

Record

Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Benz F1 W09 EQ Power+), 1m10.540, 136.621 mph, F1, 2018

First Race

1971 Interlagos F2

3,169

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