The day Senna, Brundle and Bellof made their F1 debuts

On this day in 1984, the Brazilian Grand Prix was the opening round of that year’s Formula 1 World Championship and was remarkable for the quintet of rookie drivers making their debuts. It marked the maiden grand prix starts for Stefan Bellof, Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle – as well as the less heralded Philippe Alliot and Francois Hesnault.

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B
1/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

Martin Brundle, Tyrrell 012

Martin Brundle, Tyrrell 012
2/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

Stefan Bellof, Tyrrell 012 Ford

Stefan Bellof, Tyrrell 012 Ford
3/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B
4/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B
5/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart
6/20

Photo by: Ercole Colombo

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart
7/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart
8/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart
9/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B Hart
10/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B
11/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

Martin Brundle, Tyrrell 012 Ford

Martin Brundle, Tyrrell 012 Ford
12/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Stefan Bellof, Tyrrell 012 Ford

Stefan Bellof, Tyrrell 012 Ford
13/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Martin Brundle, Tyrrell 012 Ford

Martin Brundle, Tyrrell 012 Ford
14/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Stefan Bellof, Tyrrell 012 Ford, with Martin Brundle

Stefan Bellof, Tyrrell 012 Ford, with Martin Brundle
15/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

François Hesnault, Ligier JS23 Renault

François Hesnault, Ligier JS23 Renault
16/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

François Hesnault, Ligier JS23 Renault

François Hesnault, Ligier JS23 Renault
17/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Philippe Alliot, RAM 02 Hart

Philippe Alliot, RAM 02 Hart
18/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Philippe Alliot and Jonathan Palmer, RAM 02, 8th

Philippe Alliot and Jonathan Palmer, RAM 02, 8th
19/20

Photo by: Sutton Images

Philippe Alliot, RAM 02 Hart

Philippe Alliot, RAM 02 Hart
20/20

Photo by: Motorsport Images

(Click on the arrows on the images above to scroll through them)

Of the bunch, Senna qualified highest – the future three-time world champion taking 17th on the grid, albeit over 5s off the pole time, but ahead of Toleman-Hart teammate Johnny Cecotto. 

Brundle, whom Senna had beaten to the 1983 British Formula 3 title, would line up two places behind in 19th in his normally aspirated Tyrrell-Ford. Hesnault was 20th in his Ligier-Renault, with Bellof 23rd in the second Tyrrell, and Alliot beating RAM-Hart teammate Jonathan Palmer to the final spot on the 26-car grid – although he was over 9s away from the fastest qualifying time.

Read Also:

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B

Ayrton Senna, Toleman TG183B

Photo by: Sutton Images

In the race, Senna was the first to drop out, his debut lasting only eight laps before suffering a turbo failure. Bellof made it little further, out on lap 11, with Alliot (dead battery) and Hesnault (overheating) retiring after 24 and 25 laps respectively.

Brundle – who would go on to score nine podium finishes in a lengthy F1 career – was the only rookie to see the chequered flag, finishing fifth on the road. However, the Tyrrells would later be disqualified from the entire championship for various technical infringements, including the use of lead shot in a water tank as ballast during races.

Read Also:

Tragically, Bellof would lose his life in a Porsche Group C sportscar crash at Spa-Francorchamps a year later, an accident Brundle witnessed from the pitlane.

“Bellof was wild, but he wasn't the crasher that some people seem to remember him as,” Brundle told Autosport. “I was about to jump in the Jag and saw that accident up at Eau Rouge as it happened. His accident was clearly a big one, but it didn't look horrific.

Stefan Bellof, Thierry Boutsen, Porsche 956

Stefan Bellof, Thierry Boutsen, Porsche 956

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“I didn't look at it and think that my F1 team-mate was dead, but at that time in sportscar racing there was ‘what's going to happen next?’ feeling. It was the same feeling that we all had over the Imola weekend in 1994 [when Senna was killed] and the weeks that followed.

“There was obviously a lot more energy involved than was apparent from where I was standing. From what I understand, he didn't stand a chance.”

 

Hesnault, who went on to race for Brabham, was most notable for being entered in a third Renault to carry an on-board camera in the 1985 German Grand Prix. F1 journeyman Alliot amassed over 100 starts (but scored only seven points) for RAM, Ligier and Larrousse, although he once subbed for the banned Mika Hakkinen at McLaren in the 1994 Hungarian GP. 

shares
comments

Related video

Alpine can't afford "shitty" F1 season in 2021, says Renault CEO

Previous article

Alpine can't afford "shitty" F1 season in 2021, says Renault CEO

Next article

Research says F1 could reach 1bn fans in 2022

Research says F1 could reach 1bn fans in 2022
Load comments
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Prime

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship.

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021
How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP Prime

How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP

Formula 1's return to Baku after a year away had thrown up an eventful qualifying marred by four red flags, but the race appeared to be running to a familiar Red Bull vs Mercedes template entering the closing stages. That is, until a dramatic conclusion where victory was snatched away from two drivers, before landing in the lap of Sergio Perez

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021