The 1994 Pacific GP: Michael Schumacher’s 4th Win
The 1994 F1 Season
The 1994 season started well for the Benetton team and Michael Schumacher in Brazil. It was a race which they won from an unlikely position considering it came against a strong Senna in a Williams. Senna’s unforced error caused him to spin out and stall his car. That was the end of Senna’s challenge in front of his home crowd in Brazil.
Despite the way the first GP ended, Senna and the Williams team were looking to salvage some pride in the second race. The Pacific GP once again was a known circuit, and the Williams package was better than the one in the first race. Senna would have reasons to believe that he could win there; in fact, no one would have doubted that belief either.
So, how did it pan out?
Let’s find out.
Did You Know?
In the 1994 Pacific GP, the FIA allowed the Williams car a temporary special wing below the usual rear wing to handle the stability issue. The arrangement was for a few races.
Take a look at any of the videos below to see the additional wing in the Williams cars.
The 1994 Pacific GP Qualifying
When it comes to qualifying, there is none equal to Senna. Senna once again proved his incredible ability to do that one flying lap and pip Michael Schumacher by just 0.222 seconds. The funny part was that, in his attempt to respond to Senna, Michael couldn’t even match his own earlier timing.
Take a look:
Senna was the only one who appeared in command of a race or qualifying against Schumacher. Senna was after all a triple world champion, so he, obviously knew his game. In fact, after Senna, it was only Mika in 1998 who had this brutal domination over Michael’s plan. Otherwise, there weren’t many to tackle Schumacher as such.
Anyway, with the super brilliant qualifying, Ayrton was well placed to take on Schumacher and start his title campaign. There could be nothing in the way of Senna winning the Pacific GP except the Williams’ reliability.
The 1994 Pacific GP – Race Day
The 1994 Pacific GP was all set, and the fans were looking forward to a Senna victory. Let’s admit it, reputation and image-wise, Senna was well-ahead of Schumacher back in 1994. However, the race did not go as planned.
Just when Senna was all set to begin his season campaign, things went awry not because of him or the Williams. It was the McLaren of Mika which gently pushed into Senna ahead of him, and then Senna spun and moved into the gravel in reverse. Any hopes of re-joining were put to rest when one of the Ferraris hit him and damaged the car enough to remove Senna out of the race. And all this drama happened in the first corner.
Schumacher had a blazing start and made it to the first corner ahead of Senna, and the over-enthusiastic Mika spun Senna out. After that, it was curtains down for Senna. From thereon, there was no other car to challenge Schumacher. As Schumacher would later admit in the post-race press conference, he was giving his 90% in the first one-third of the race and then cruising in the last two-third. How easy could the race have been for Schumacher!
Schumacher won followed by Gerhard Berger and Barrichello. With the AIDA win, Schumacher led the championship with a perfect twenty from two races.
Did You Know?
Once Senna spun out of the 1994 Pacific GP, he did not go back to the Williams pit. He stayed close to the first corner to listen to the Benneton racing past. He suspected the Benneton was using traction control illegally.
Though he wanted the Williams team to raise it against the Bennetons, Frank Williams refused to do so. However, much later, it was indeed found that Benetton was using a traction control program.
Back to the Garage
The 1994 season started very well for Schumacher, and he couldn’t have asked for anything better. However, even Schumacher knew that the superior Williams would eventually bounce back. The European circuits with their long straights were perfect for the Williams cars to unleash their extra horse-power.
Schumacher had to find ways to stay ahead or watch Senna catching up with him. Which direction the races would take, Schumacher and Senna would soon find out.
Questions & Answers
© 2020 S K