1984 Austrian Grand Prix
The 1984 Austrian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Österreichring on 19 August 1984. It was race 12 of 16 in the 1984 FIA Formula One World Championship, and was also the 400th World Championship Grand Prix held since the championship began in 1950.
Niki Lauda took the lead in the World Championship with his 23rd career win. Second was defending champion Nelson Piquet in his Brabham-BMW, with Ferrari's Michele Alboreto completing the podium in third place.
In what seemed like normal practice for the Österreichring with its narrow pit straight, the race had to be stopped soon after the first start, this time due to a problem with the starting lights which caused chaos among the drivers with
Niki Lauda claiming that he saw "Red, green, yellow then red again". This caused 3rd fastest qualifier Elio de Angelis to hesitate badly off the line and his Lotus-Renault was almost hit from behind by several cars and saw the Toleman-Hart of Ayrton Senna in 4th place by the time they reached Hella-Licht after starting 10th. On the formation lap for the re-start, pole sitter Piquet, who had seen the McLarens change tyres on the grid, angered the other drivers when he led the field on an extremely slow lap in an effort to not allow Prost or Lauda to scrub in their new Michelin rubber. Alain Prost, Lauda's team mate and the World Championship leader going into the race, failed to finish after spinning off on oil at the Jochen Rindt Curve on lap 28. Prost had been running a close second behind Piquet at the time of his spin. Piquet came upon the oil first and managed to keep his car from sliding off despite a twitch on the oil. Prost however was having gear selection problems and hit the oil with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the gear lever holding his McLaren-TAG in gear. As a result, he could not control the car and spun off into retirement. This saw Lauda move to second behind Piquet who was having tyre troubles. After taking the lead Lauda then suddenly found he could not engage a gear and it appeared his race was over as he slowed significantly while desperately trying to find a working gear. The problem proved to be temporary though and soon the McLaren was going at speed again and he went on to a 23-second win.
Another Austrian driver
Gerhard Berger, who would go on to win 10 Grands Prix before retiring at the end of the 1997 season, made his Formula One debut at the Österreichring, finishing 12th and last in his ATS-BMW. The third Austrian in the race, Jo Gartner, retired after only 6 laps with engine troubles in his Osella-Alfa Romeo.
Renault, who had won the 1983 Austrian Grand Prix with
Alain Prost driving, had a race to forget in 1984. Derek Warwick retired with engine trouble on lap 17 while Patrick Tambay also retired with engine drama on lap 42.