On This Day In F1 - The Only Race Which Senna Failed To Qualify For

On This Day In F1 - The Only Race Which Senna Failed To Qualify For

A look back at what happened on 6 May in Formula 1 history

1984 San Marino Grand Prix
Alain Prost drove to victory after passing pole-sitter Nelson Piquet on the first lap and then controlling the race from there. He pulled out enough of a gap to be able to make a pit stop without losing the lead and although Piquet had some good pace, it was perhaps a little too much - on lap 48 he set the fastest lap, an then on Lap 49 the turbo on his BMW engine failed - as did that of his Brabham teammate Teo Fabi at almost exactly the same time. René Arnoux finished second with Elio de Angelis third, despite running out of fuel on the final lap.

This was also the only time in his 162-race career that Ayrton Senna failed to qualify - although to be fair, it was hardly his fault. The Toleman team sat out the first qualifying session on the Friday due to a dispute with tyre supplier Pirelli, and then Senna’s car developed an engine issue during the Saturday session which prevented him from setting a time.

Birthdays
Tommy Byrne (born 1958) could have been on for big things in F1. In 1982 he signed a three-year deal with the Theodore team but drove just the last five races of the season (qualifying for only two) at which point he quit the team. He had a test with McLaren at the end of the year as part of his prize for winning the British F3 championship and despite being phenomenally fast, he failed to gel with the team. His F1 chances were essentially over and spent much of the rest of his career racing in America.

Andrea Chiesa (born 1964) entered 10 race for the Fondmetal team in 1992, retiring from all three races he managed to qualify for. At this point, the team decided to replace him with Eric van de Poele, and Chiesa’s F1 career was over.