1994 Formula One season
The 1994 Formula One season was the 45th FIA Formula One World Championship season. It commenced on March 27, 1994, and ended on November 13 after sixteen races. The season was remembered as one of the most tragic and controversial seasons in the 1990s, if not in the sport's history. 1994 was one of the closest in history, as the Champion, Michael Schumacher, won the title by a single point from Damon Hill, after the two controversially collided at the final round in Adelaide. However, the 1994 season will be remembered mainly for the death of three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna and the Austrian Roland Ratzenberger at the San Marino Grand Prix.
The big news in the paddock after the 1993 season was the retirement of defending World Champion Alain Prost after winning his fourth title, and his replacement at Williams by long-term rival Ayrton Senna. It was commonly thought that Senna's move to Williams was a factor behind Prost's retirement.
- Williams retained Damon Hill to partner Senna, and test driver David Coulthard would replace the Brazilian following his fatal accident.
- McLaren, having lost iconic driver Ayrton Senna, promoted Mika Häkkinen to team leader and brought in experienced Martin Brundle. Following a year with customer Ford power, the team had works Peugeot engines for 1994.
- Benetton kept Michael Schumacher on board, pairing him with JJ Lehto. The team's Dutch test-driver, Jos Verstappen, and Johnny Herbert also drove for the team during the season.
- Ferrari retained their 1993 driver line-up of Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger.
- Sauber replaced JJ Lehto with debutant Heinz-Harald Frentzen to partner Karl Wendlinger, though the Finn would return after injury plagued his time at Benetton.
- Jordan retained their final line-up of 1993 with Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine.
1994 saw two teams making a debut. Simtek-Ford paired two rookie drivers; Australian David Brabham and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger. After the latter was tragically killed at Imola, a number of other drivers took the second car. Pacific-Ilmor went for experience with Paul Belmondo and Bertrand Gachot.
Additionally, two of the top teams unveiled new colour schemes, reflecting new sponsorship deals. Williams' new sponsorship from Rothmans saw them adopt navy and white with gold and red trim, while the Benetton team dropped the yellow of previous sponsor Camel in favour of the pale blue and mint green of Mild Seven.
In order to combat the spiralling costs of running a Formula One team, and to counteract criticism that over-reliance on technology was reducing the drivers to a secondary role, sweeping rule changes were introduced for 1994, most notably banning of all electronic "driver aids" such as active suspension, anti-lock brakes, traction control and launch control.
Ayrton Senna was among several observers who said that, with such features removed but no attempt to curtail the speed of the cars, 1994 would be "a season with a lot of accidents".
1994 also saw the reintroduction of refuelling during the race for the first time since 1983, and after Ayrton Senna's crash at Imola a 10mm wooden plank was affixed to the underside of every car to prevent ground-effect advantages. Wear was permitted on the plank up to 1mm by the end of the race.
Race One: Brazil
The season started off in Brazil and all the native fans were supporting Senna. It was no surprise that Senna took pole ahead of Schumacher, Alesi, Hill, Frentzen and Gianni Morbidelli. At the start, Alesi took second from Schumacher while Wendlinger and Verstappen got ahead of Frentzen and Morbidelli. At the end of lap 1 Senna was leading Alesi, Schumacher, Hill, Wendlinger and Verstappen.
On lap 2, Schumacher took second from Alesi after a couple of unsuccessful earlier attempts. The Frenchman had been holding Schumacher up while Senna pulled out a 4 second lead. Senna and Schumacher pulled away from the rest of the pack, increasing their lead by over a second a lap. Both pitted on lap 21 but Schumacher was quicker and rejoined ahead. He pulled away to take a 10 second lead but then Senna began to reel him in. By lap 35, Verstappen, Brundle and Eddie Irvine had all got ahead of Wendlinger. As they came up to lap Éric Bernard, Verstappen tried to pass Irvine. Irvine pushed him onto the grass and Verstappen spun off, going over Irvine and tipping it into Bernard's car and then hitting Brundle, being launched into a series of barrel rolls. No-one was hurt, but Irvine was banned initally for one race, later extended to three races by the FIA after an unsuccessful appeal. By now, Alesi, who had stopped twice, was behind Hill who had only stopped once.
There was more action as both Ukyo Katayama and then Rubens Barrichello passed Wendlinger to get into the points. Both then stopped, with Barrichello getting ahead. Senna had reduced the gap to Schumacher to 5 seconds, but then spun off on lap 56, just pushing too hard. He was out. Schumacher won ahead of Hill, Alesi, Barrichello, Katayama and Wendlinger.
Race Two: Pacific
Alesi had injured his back in a testing crash at Mugello and was replaced by Nicola Larini, while Aguri Suzuki would replace Irvine for the Jordan team. Round 2 was at the new Tanaka International circuit in Japan and Senna took pole ahead of Schumacher, Hill, Häkkinen, Berger and Brundle. At the start, Schumacher got ahead of Senna and Häkkinen got past Hill. Häkkinen tried to attack Senna but ran into the back of him. Senna spun and was hit by Larini, taking both out. Schumacher finished the lap leading Häkkinen, Hill, Berger, Barrichello and Brundle.
Hill was frustrated at seeing Schumacher pull away and attacked Häkkinen on lap 4. Hill messed up, spun and dropped back to ninth. He charged back up, passing Brundle on lap 12. It was time for the pit stops during which Hill got ahead of Barrichello. Häkkinen retired when his gearbox failed on lap 19.
While Schumacher pulled away, Hill closed in on Berger. During the second round of pit stops, Hill got by Berger and Brundle got by Barrichello. However, Hill retired on lap 50 when his transmission failed and Brundle also went out on lap 68 when his engine overheated. Schumacher made it two wins out of two ahead of Berger, Barrichello, Christian Fittipaldi, Frentzen and Érik Comas.
Race Three: San Marino
Lehto was back for the San Marino Grand Prix and Andrea de Cesaris would be the second driver at Jordan. However, the weekend got off to a bad start as Rubens Barrichello had a major crash during practice and was knocked unconscious. Coming too fast into Variante Bassa, his car was launched into the air by the kerb. Less than a yard from that kerb was a tyre wall, which almost instantly stopped the car's forward motion. His car was flipped over and landed upside down. Barrichello had swallowed his tongue and his life was only saved by quick action from the medical team. He would be back at the circuit on the Saturday afternoon with a fractured nose, bandaged arm and cut lip. Barrichello has never been able to recall anything from the incident.
In qualifying, a front wing flap fell off Roland Ratzenberger's car, causing major suspension damage and worsened aerodynamics. On his next lap Ratzenberger lost control and crashed into the wall at the Villeneuve kink at over 180mph. His Simtek S941 was severely damaged, and he suffered a basal skull fracture caused by the impact and was pronounced dead at Bologna's Maggiore Hospital shortly afterwards.
After qualifying re-commenced, Senna took pole ahead of Schumacher, Berger, Hill, Lehto and Larini. During the race morning driver's meeting, all the drivers were talking about Ratzenberger's crash and were determined to improve safety for drivers, resulting in the inauguration of the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers Association). Senna offered to take the role of leader as he was the most senior driver.
At the start of the race, Lehto's Benetton B194 stalled and was hit by Pedro Lamy's Lotus. Debris from the crash, including Lamy's right front tyre, flew into the grandstand and injured four spectators and a policeman. Lamy was unhurt but Lehto received a light arm injury. The Safety Car was called out with Senna leading Schumacher, Berger, Larini and Häkkinen.
The race restarted at the end of lap 5. And Senna tried immediately to pull away from Schumacher, whilst Berger was already 2,586 and Hill in 4th already 5,535 seconds behind. At the start of the 7th lap, Senna lost control and his car went straight on at Tamburello into the wall at 131 mph (210 km/h). The suspension of the Williams broke on impact, flying backwards and hitting Senna on the head, piercing his helmet and fracturing his skull. The car slid to a halt on the circuit, with Senna motionless. From the helicopter pictures, a slight movement of Senna's head gave his fans a hint of hope. Doctor Sid Watkins was on the scene in less than two minutes. Senna was airlifted to hospital but nothing could be done and Senna was pronounced dead later that evening. After the race, a poignant detail was revealed when an Austrian flag was found in Senna's car; he had planned to dedicate the win to Ratzenberger had he won the race. The race was stopped after Senna's crash.
During the red flag period, the Larrousse team mistakenely released their Driver Erik Comas from the Pit lane, and Comas was marshalled to a stop at Tamburello corner. At TV channel Eurosport (British version), former Formula 1 Driver John Watson described the Comas incident as the "most ridiculus incident i have seen at any time in my life, that a Grand Prix Driver is allowed to exit to pits during a race is stopped". At the 2nd restart, German Heinz Harald Frentzen stopped in the Sauber and had to start from the pit lap.
When it restarted, Berger took the lead on track but Schumacher (who collied with Damon Hill, forcing the Briton in the Williams to stop for a new front wing) was still leading in the aggregate standings, with Berger, Häkkinen, Larini, Wendlinger and Katayama following. On the 12th Lap in total, Schumacher did take the lead on the circuit from Berger, but pitted immediately afterwards. When Berger stopped on lap 15, Häkkinen took the lead for McLaren. Berger retired on lap 17 with a suspension failure, whilst Häkkinen pitted a bit later, rejoining fourth. On Lap 21, Schumacher led (although driving behind Larini) on aggregate ahead of the Italian with Fittipaldi (who pitted on lap 23) in third, Häkkinen, Frentzen (who pitted a bit shorter as well) and Wendlinger making up the top six. From about lap 45 until lap 55, Damon Hill, Ukyo Katayama and Christian Fittipaldi battled for 5th, 6th and 7th, with first Fittipaldi and then Hill passing the Japanese in the Tyrrell on aggregate, Hill himself passed Fittipaldi on lap 49, only to lose the position two laps later. Fittipaldi shouldn't finish the race, because he retired with brake problems on lap 55. Damon Hill gained fifth, but lost it again to Katayama with two laps to go, and only kept a one second lead over Heinz Harald Frentzen to score the last point in the San Marino Grand Prix.
Another incident followed when Michele Alboreto's Minardi lost its right rear wheel while exiting the pits. Alboreto had already accelerated to a significant speed, and thus the wheel caused severe injuries to a member of the Ferrari pit crew. Alboreto's car came to a halt just outside the pits. The incident would lead to two major rule changes in Formula One:
1. pit lane speed limit
2. pit crews would now remain inside their garage until needed
Both rules would already be imposed at the next GP in Monaco and both are still in effect today.
Schumacher won ahead of Larini, Häkkinen, Wendlinger, Katayama and Hill but there were no celebrations on the podium and all the talk after the race centred on Senna and Ratzenberger.
Race Four: Monaco
Alesi returned as the mourning F1 field moved to Monaco where there would be more bad news as Wendlinger crashed heavily into the Nouvelle Chicane wall at high speed during qualifying. Quick action from the marshals saved his life but he was in a coma for three weeks, and recuperation from his head injuries ruled him out for the remainder of the season. Frentzen's Sauber was withdrawn for the Monaco event in response. Schumacher took his first ever pole ahead of Häkkinen, Berger, Hill, Alesi and Fittipaldi.
At the start, with the first two grid positions left empty and painted with the Brazilian and Austrian flags, out of respect for Senna and Ratzenberger, Hill got ahead of Berger and attacked Häkkinen into the first corner. There was contact and both spun off into the escape road and were out. Schumacher was leading ahead of Berger, Alesi, Fittipaldi, Brundle and Katayama. Schumacher pulled away while Brundle used a good strategy during the stops, pitting earlier than the others to get ahead of Fittipaldi and Alesi.
Katayama went out on lap 39 with gearbox failure and sixth place went to his teammate Mark Blundell. However, Blundell's engine failed two laps later, spreading oil across the track. Schumacher slid and nearly hit a wall while Berger went down an escape road and dropped behind Brundle. Fittipaldi retired on lap 48 with a gearbox failure. During the second stops, Andrea de Cesaris was able to get ahead of an exhausted Alesi who was struggling with neck pain. Schumacher won ahead of Brundle, Berger, de Cesaris, Alesi and Michele Alboreto.
Between the Monaco GP and the Spanish GP, Williams announced they had brought David Coulthard in to replace Senna, with Nigel Mansell deputising at those races which did not overlap with his IndyCar commitments. Alessandro Zanardi was also in at Lotus alongside Johnny Herbert as Pedro Lamy had suffered a massive testing accident at Silverstone which resulted in him sustaining two dislocated legs and a broken wrist. He would be out for the majority of the season.
Race Five: Spain
In qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, Andrea Montermini, who had replaced Ratzenberger, had a huge crash in the high-speed final corner. In light of recent events, the paddock breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced Montermini had escaped with only a broken ankle and chipped heel. Schumacher took pole ahead of Hill, Häkkinen, Lehto, Barrichello and Alesi. At the start, Alesi got ahead of both Barrichello and Lehto with Coulthard getting ahead of Barrichello as well. Schumacher led Hill, Häkkinen, Alesi, Lehto and Coulthard into lap 2.
Schumacher pulled away until he began to have gear selection problems and was stuck in fifth gear. During the stops, Schumacher amazingly was able to start his car without stalling. Behind, there was action in the pits as Coulthard stalled and Alesi had troubles, dropping down four places. Schumacher, still in the lead, was struggling and was passed by Hill. During the second round of pit stops, Barrichello spun off near the pit entry and Schumacher was once again able to make a pitstop and not stall the car. Häkkinen was right with him but did not have a chance to attack as his engine failed on lap 49. Lehto took third, but his engine failed as well five laps later. Brundle took the place, but his transmission failed with a single lap to go. Hill won from Schumacher who was a superb second in the circumstances, Blundell, Alesi, Pierluigi Martini and Irvine.
Race Six: Canada
Qualifying in Canada saw Schumacher on pole ahead of Alesi, Berger, Hill, Coulthard and Barrichello. At the start, Coulthard surprised Hill and Häkkinen got ahead of Barrichello. Schumacher led from Alesi, Berger, Coulthard, Hill and Häkkinen. Hill passed Coulthard on lap 4 but Coulthard retook the place on the outside. Coulthard waved Hill through on lap 9. Hill now set off after Berger, passing him on lap 15.
During the stops, Hill got by Alesi with Häkkinen getting ahead of Coulthard. Häkkinen closed up on Berger but was unable to pass. Although it began to rain on lap 40, still there were no major changes at the top, with the top 6 remaining unaltered. On lap 62, Häkkinen's engine blew up, putting him out. On the last lap, Barrichello and Blundell were fighting for sixth when they collided, with Blundell beached in the gravel trap and Barrichello dropping behind Fittipaldi and Lehto. Fittipaldi was, however, disqualified for an underweight car, giving sixth to Lehto. Schumacher won ahead of Hill, Alesi, Berger, Coulthard and Lehto.
Race Seven: France
France was the venue for the next grand prix and Mansell was going to race for Williams as it would not interfere with his CART racing. Benetton had put Lehto in as their third driver and given the second seat behind Schumacher to Verstappen. Frenchman Jean-Marc Gounon took the second Simtek seat alongside David Brabham. The Williams team took 1-2 in qualifying with Hill on pole ahead of Mansell, Schumacher, Alesi, Berger and Irvine. At the start Schumacher showed class to slice between both Williams' to take the lead while Barrichello got ahead of Irvine. Schumacher led ahead of Hill, Mansell, Alesi, Berger and Barrichello.
Schumacher pulled away as usual with Hill unable to keep up. During the stops, Alesi got ahead of Mansell and Berger got by Barrichello. Berger then passed Mansell on lap 24. The order settled down at Schumacher, Hill, Alesi, Berger, Mansell and Barrichello. Alesi soon pitted, dropping to fifth. He then spun on lap 42, and was hit by Barrichello as he tried to rejoin, taking both out.
Mansell was planning only to stop twice and took third when Berger pitted but retired on lap 46 when his transmission failed. Häkkinen, now fourth, retired two laps later with a blown engine. There were no changes in the third round of stops although Katayama spun off from fifth soon after, on lap 54. Schumacher won once again from Hill, Berger, Frentzen, Martini and de Cesaris.
Race Eight: Great Britain
Hill took pole position in front of his home crowd in Britain ahead of Schumacher, Berger, Alesi, Häkkinen and Barrichello. There was controversy as Schumacher passed Hill in the parade lap, then let him get by and repeat the cycle once more. At the start, Barrichello was the man on the move, getting by Alesi and Häkkinen. Hill led Schumacher, Berger, Barrichello, Alesi and Häkkinen.
Hill and Schumacher stayed together, separated by two seconds until it was decided that Schumacher was given a five-second stop-go penalty for passing Hill on the parade lap. However, the team refused to accept and Schumacher stayed out. During the stops, Alesi and Häkkinen were quick and got by Berger and Barrichello.
Schumacher was then shown a black flag which meant he must return to the pits and park his car, however Benetton continued to negotiate and Schumacher returned to the pits. He stayed there for five seconds and went back out, which Benetton said was the stop-go penalty, rejoining in second. The black flag was still shown but Benetton ignored it and Schumacher raced on. On lap 33, Berger went out with an engine failure. Hill won with Schumacher second but Schumacher was disqualified for ignoring the black flag and was banned for two races. This meant that Hill kept his win ahead of Alesi, Häkkinen, Barrichello, Coulthard (returning to the Williams team) and Katayama.
Thus, at the halfway stage of the championship, Schumacher was well ahead of the field with 66 points. Hill was a distant second with 39, Alesi third with 19, Berger fourth with 17, Barrichello fifth with 10, Häkkinen sixth with 8, Brundle seventh with 6 and Larini eighth with 6. In the Constructors Championship, Benetton were comfortably ahead with 67 points, 24 points ahead of Williams on 43. Ferrari were also right there, just a single point behind on 42, with McLaren fourth on 14.
Benetton had appealed against Schumacher's ban and he was able to race while the decision was pending.
Race Nine: Germany
The second half of the season started in Germany but the Schumacher fans went home disappointed as the Ferraris took 1-2 in qualifying. Berger took pole ahead of Alesi, Hill, Schumacher down in fourth, Katayama and Coulthard. At the start Katayama got ahead of Hill and Schumacher and then Schumacher got by Hill. There was mayhem behind as Häkkinen hit Brundle and spun off, taking out Frentzen, Barrichello and Irvine, as well as knocking Coulthard's front wing out of place. Brundle braked to avoid the mess but was hit by Herbert, taking Herbert out. Behind, there was a collision between Martini and Alex Zanardi, taking out de Cesaris and Alboreto in the process.
On the run down to the first chicane Alesi slowed with an electrical problem and retired in the pits, but also blocked Katayama, allowing both Schumacher and Hill to attack. Schumacher went through but Hill hit Katayama, damaging his front wing. Coulthard had to go on with a damaged car for an extra lap while the team put a new wing on Hill's car and sent him away. Brundle and Coulthard also rejoined after repairs as Berger was leading from Schumacher, Katayama, Olivier Panis, Bernard and Fittipaldi. Katayama retired on lap 7 with throttle troubles as Verstappen passed Fittipaldi. It was time for the stops and Verstappen retired with a major fire as fuel spilled on the bodywork of the car. Schumacher retired on lap 20 with an engine failure.
With most of the major players out or far down the order after incidents, Berger took an emotional win which he dedicated to his friend Senna ahead of Panis, Bernard, Fittipaldi, Morbidelli and Comas.
Race Ten: Hungary
The news before Hungary was that Häkkinen had been banned for one race for causing the pile-up in Germany and was replaced by Philippe Alliot. Schumacher was on pole ahead of Hill, Coulthard, Berger, Katayama and Brundle. At the start Irvine and Barrichello were quick and got ahead of Brundle and Katayama.
However, they collided into the second corner and took off Katayama as well. Schumacher led Hill, Coulthard, Berger, Brundle and Panis. Early on, Alesi passed Panis for sixth. Nothing changed as the order settled down, with the first round of stops leaving the same order. Finally, there was action behind as Berger stalled during the second round of pit stops and dropped behind Brundle, Alesi and Verstappen.
Both Ferrari engines then failed; Alesi's on lap 59 and Berger's on lap 73. Alesi's engine left oil on the track, and Coulthard spun on it into the wall. On the last lap, Brundle stopped with an electrical failure. Schumacher won from Hill, Verstappen, Brundle, Blundell and Panis.
Controversy surrounded Benetton following the Verstappen pit-fire at Hockenheim. The team was summoned to appear before the World Motorsport council on 19 October 1994, to explain why a filter had been removed from the refuelling rig. If found guilty, the team would be excluded from the championship, but they were acquitted. McLaren were also in the dock over the use of a fully automatic upchange device. They were also acquitted.
Race Eleven: Belgium
Häkkinen was back in Belgium after the ban, with rain in qualifying resulting in a scrambled grid order with Barrichello on pole from Schumacher, Hill, Irvine, Alesi and Verstappen. At the start Alesi was on the move, quickly getting ahead of Irvine and Hill. Schumacher took the lead on the run up the hill with Alesi following him to second soon after and Verstappen then passing Irvine. Schumacher led Alesi, Barrichello, Hill, Verstappen and Irvine.
Hill passed Barrichello for third and this became second when Alesi's engine failed on the next lap. Soon Häkkinen passed Irvine but Coulthard dropped back while trying to follow him through. Barrichello was passed by Verstappen and then Häkkinen attacked him. Barrichello cracked under the pressure and spun off on lap 20 into the wall, ending his race. On the next lap, Schumacher had a 360 degree spin at Pouhon, and his lead was significantly reduced when he rejoined. He kept a five second lead during the stops in which Häkkinen got ahead of Verstappen.
On lap 35, Coulthard passed Irvine, who then retired on lap 41 with three laps to go, with an alternator failure. Schumacher won but was disqualified after the race because the wooden stepped flat bottom on Schumacher's car had been excessively worn away, more than the permitted 10% wear. Hill was reclassified as the winner ahead of Häkkinen, Verstappen, Coulthard, Blundell and Morbidelli.
Schumacher's ban (handed down after the British Grand Prix) stood after appeal and he would miss Italy and Portugal. He was replaced by Lehto.
Race Twelve: Italy
In Italy, the Ferrari fans were sent wild as their drivers took 1-2 in qualifying, Alesi on pole ahead of Berger and Hill. Johnny Herbert qualified an impressive fourth in the new Lotus 109 and was followed by Coulthard and Panis. At the start, Herbert and Irvine got ahead of the Williamses but Irvine hit Herbert and Herbert spun, causing mayhem behind and a red flag. The second start was uneventful with Coulthard getting ahead of Herbert and Häkkinen getting ahead of Panis. Alesi led Berger, Hill, Coulthard, Herbert and Häkkinen.
While the Ferraris pulled away (Alesi pulling away from Berger), Häkkinen passed Herbert (in the spare Lotus, an older car) who retired on lap 13 when his alternator failed. Alesi then pitted but his car refused to engage a gear when he tried to rejoin resulting in his retirement. During Berger's stop, he was blocked by another car which was going into the pit. In his frustration, he accidentally stalled the car exiting his stop and lost over 10 seconds, dropping back to third. Coulthard also got ahead of Hill during the stops, however Hill passed Coulthard on lap 29 to take the lead.
Berger was closing in on them both, however the Williamses held him off and looked set to finish 1-2 until Coulthard slowed dramatically, as he ran out of fuel on the last lap. Hill won from Berger, Häkkinen, Barrichello, Brundle and Coulthard, who was classified sixth.
With three-quarters of the season gone, Schumacher who has served one race of his two-race ban led the championship with 76 points, but Hill, second with 65 points was just 11 points behind. Berger was third with 33, Alesi fourth with 19, Häkkinen fifth with 18, Barrichello sixth with 13, Brundle seventh with 11 and Verstappen eighth with 8. In the Constructors Championship, Benetton led with 85 points but Williams were hot on their heels with 73. Ferrari were not too far behind on 58 with McLaren fourth on 29.
Race Thirteen: Portugal
Schumacher was still out as the field went to Portugal. In qualifying, Berger took pole ahead of Hill, Coulthard, Häkkinen, Alesi and Katayama. At the start, Coulthard got ahead of Hill and Alesi was ahead of Häkkinen. Berger was leading Coulthard, Hill, Alesi, Häkkinen and Katayama. Berger only lasted until lap 8 when his gearbox failed, promoting Barrichello to the points. Just before the stops, Katayama's gearbox also failed, on lap 27.
The stops did not change the order, with Coulthard leading ahead of Hill, Alesi, Häkkinen, Barrichello and Brundle. Coulthard went wide while lapping a backmarker on lap 33, and Hill edged ahead. On lap 39, when Alesi was coming up to lap David Brabham, they collided and both were out. Soon afterwards, Verstappen passed Brundle to take fifth. The second round of stops did not change anything. Hill won with Coulthard second, giving Williams a 1-2 and the lead in the Constructors Championship, ahead of Häkkinen, Barrichello, Verstappen and Brundle.
Race Fourteen: Europe
Now to the new race in Jerez and there was major news. Schumacher was back after his ban, and with the CART season finished, Mansell replaced Coulthard for the remainder of the season in order to help Williams in the Constructors battle. Schumacher took pole ahead of Hill, Mansell, Frentzen, Berger and Barrichello. At the start, Hill took the lead from Schumacher while Mansell went backwards, losing three places with Barrichello getting ahead of Berger. Hill led from Schumacher, Frentzen, Barrichello, Berger and Mansell.
Mansell quickly passed Berger and then Barrichello to get up to fourth. During the stops, Hill messed up and the team, afraid that he would lose the lead, sent him back out too quickly without giving him enough fuel. Schumacher however was already ahead and Hill had to stop again for fuel. When he rejoined, he was over 20 seconds behind. Mansell too was slow and Barrichello was ahead of him. Mansell tried to pass him and there was contact. Both had to pit, with Mansell dropping to seventh and Barrichello going well down.
The result was the same when Berger attacked Frentzen but damage was minor. They rejoined in sixth and seventh, behind Häkkinen, Irvine and Mansell, with Berger ahead. Mansell, now fifth, spun off on lap 48 into retirement while trying to close the gap to Irvine. Schumacher won ahead of Hill, Häkkinen, Irvine, Berger and Frentzen.
With just two more races to go, there was a major battle for the Drivers Championship. Schumacher led the championship with 86 points, but Hill was right behind with 81. Berger was third with 35, Häkkinen fourth with 26, Alesi fifth with 19, Barrichello sixth with 16, Coulthard seventh with 14 and Brundle eighth with 12. The Constructors Championship was even closer as Benetton led with 97 points and Williams a mere 2 points behind on 95. Ferrari were third with 60, while McLaren were fourth with 38.
Race Fifteen: Japan
Before Japan, Benetton signed up Herbert, who had left the ailing Lotus team, in order to help them in the Constructors battle. This left Verstappen out of a drive for the last two races. Schumacher took pole ahead of Hill, Frentzen, Mansell, Herbert and Irvine. At the start the track was wet and it was raining heavily. Mansell went backwards again with Alesi getting ahead of Irvine. Schumacher was leading Hill, Frentzen, Herbert, Alesi and Irvine. Herbert spun off on lap 4 and retired, while Mansell soon passed Irvine.
On lap 14, Morbidelli crashed, and Brundle crashed off shortly after at the same point whilst the marshalls were still dealing with Morbidelli's car. Although no-one was hit by the car, one marshall was hit by debris and suffered a broken leg; the race was stopped. The race restarted after some time behind the Safety Car and Frentzen ran wide into the first corner, dropping down three places. Schumacher, who was just ahead on track but 6 seconds ahead on aggregate pitted early. He rejoined 17 seconds behind Hill on aggregate but soon the gap was up to 30 seconds before it stabilized. This meant that Hill rejoined 7 seconds ahead when he pitted but he rejoined on dry tyres on a wet track.
On lap 36, Schumacher took the lead on aggregate and then on track, two laps later. He pulled away at over 3 seconds a lap and grew to 20 seconds in aggregate before the track began to dry. The gap was reduced to 15 seconds before Schumacher pitted for dry tyres, rejoining 5 seconds behind. Hill held the gap as the rain returned, and won to reduce his deficit in the Drivers Championship to 1 point, as well as giving Williams a 5 point lead in the Constructors Championship going into the last race, ahead of Schumacher, Alesi, Mansell, Irvine and Frentzen.
Race Sixteen: Australia
Both Championships were going to be decided in Australia and Mansell took pole ahead of Schumacher, Hill, Häkkinen, Barrichello and Irvine. At the start, Mansell dropped backwards as was proving usual, with Irvine getting ahead of Barrichello, leaving the front six as Schumacher, Hill, Häkkinen, Irvine, Mansell and Barrichello. Schumacher and Hill, separated by a second pulled away at an astonishing rate from the field.
Mansell took fourth from Irvine on lap 10 and six laps later, Irvine spun off into the wall and retired. It did not take long for Mansell to pass Häkkinen but even then he was lapping over a second slower than Schumacher and Hill. During the stops, Schumacher and Hill stayed just over a second apart, while, behind, Berger got ahead of Alesi and both got ahead of Barrichello. Soon Berger passed Häkkinen, with Alesi following him through three laps later.
On lap 35, Schumacher went wide at the East Terrace corner and brushed the wall. He lost time but it was unclear whether his car was damaged or not, as Hill was suddenly right behind him and attacking. Both tried to take the racing line and they collided. Schumacher retired immediately while Hill went back slowly to the pits and retired. Schumacher was the World Champion, amid much controversy over whether he had purposely taken both of them out.
Mansell and the two Ferraris fought for the lead, but Alesi lost a full lap and dropped down to eighth during the second round of stops because of trouble fixing a tyre and then stalling his car while trying to leave. Behind, Brundle got ahead of Barrichello. On lap 77, Häkkinen's brakes failed, sending him into the wall and into retirement. Mansell took his 31st career win ahead of Berger, Brundle, Barrichello, Panis and Alesi.
Thus, at the end of the season, Schumacher with 92 points pipped Hill on 91 by just one point. Controversy and speculation abounded, however the FIA took no action as Williams, who were still dealing with Senna's death, did not protest. Berger came third with 41, Häkkinen fourth with 26, Alesi fifth with 24, Barrichello sixth with 19, Brundle seventh with 16 and Coulthard eighth with 14. In the Constructors Championship, Williams with 118 points beat Benetton on 103 but the battle was much closer. Ferrari were third with 71 and McLaren were fourth with 42.
Drivers and constructors
- With the retirement of reigning champion Alain Prost, the car number 1 was not assigned and Hill ran with number 0.
Formula One 1994 race schedule
- An Argentine Grand Prix had been set on the schedule for October 16, but it was aborted as the track, which was being modernized since 1991, was not finished with the project. The race was moved to Jerez to make the European Grand Prix
1994 Constructors Championship final standings
|RS6 3.5 V10||G||118||7||13||6|
|2||Benetton-Ford||B194||ECA Zetec-R 3.5 V8||G||103||8||12||6|
|043 3.5 V12||G||71||1||11||3|
|4||McLaren-Peugeot||MP4/9||A6 3.5 V10||G||42||8|
|5||Jordan-Hart||194||1035 3.5 V10||G||28||1||1|
|6||Ligier-Renault||JS39B||RS6 3.5 V10||G||13||2|
|7||Tyrrell-Yamaha||022||OX10B 3.5 V10||G||13||1|
|8||Sauber-Mercedes||C13||2175B 3.5 V10||G||12|
|9||Footwork-Ford||FA15||HBE7/8 3.5 V8||G||9|
|HBC7/8 3.5 V8||G||5|
|11||Larrousse-Ford||LH94||HBF7/8 3.5 V8||G||2|
|MF-351 HB 3.5 V10||G|
|13||Simtek-Ford||S941||HBD6 3.5 V8||G|
|14||Pacific-Ilmor||PR01||2175A 3.5 V10||G|
1994 Drivers Championship final standings