Flying Colors


The Belgian Grand Prix of April 29, 1984 took place at Zolder, a short but quick circuit and site of the terrible accident which took the life of Ferrari’s Gilles Villeneuve two years before. The 1984 event would be the last F1 race here. At the start Michele Alboreto, driving a Ferrari 126C/4 from pole position, and bearing Villeneuve’s famous 27, leads the field just ahead of Derek Warwick in a Renault RE50 down into the first corner, called Eraste. The two Ferraris had the front row with René Arnoux next to Alboreto. Warwick’s Renault had jumped between them at the start and here leads Arnoux.

A important factor in 1984 was the “tire war” between Goodyear, Michelin and Pirelli which often affected one or another team’s performance on different circuits. At Zolder, those using Goodyear’s seemed to have had the advantage.

The race was a fairly processional affair with Alboreto leading all the way with Warwick following him to finish some 42 seconds behind. Arnoux would climb back up from a mid-race pit stop to come third while Keke Rosberg, father of today’s Nico Rosberg, driving for Williams, had a miserable start from the second row of the grid, and was passed by almost everyone to be 20th at the end of the first lap. But he then charged through the field to displace Warwick from second place at half distance. He would be classified fourth, out of fuel at the end and passed by Arnoux on the last lap. Alboreto’s win was the first Ferrari F1 victory by a Italian driver since 1966.

Photo by Nigel Snowdon ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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