McLaren celebrates 700 GPs - the 400th race
|1994 Canadian GP - Montreal, June 12 1994|
||Michael Schumacher||Benetton-Ford||69 laps in 1hr 44m31.887s||(Grid: 1)|
||Damon Hill||Williams-Renault||+ 39.660s||(4)|
||Jean Alesi||Ferrari||+ 1m 13.388s||(2)|
||Gerhard Berger||Ferrari||+ 1m 15.609s||(3)|
||David Coulthard||Williams-Renault||+ 1 lap||(5)|
||JJ Lehto||Benetton-Ford||+ 1 lap||(20)|
|DNF||Mika Hakkinen||McLaren-Peugeot||61 laps||(7)|
|DNF||Martin Brundle||McLaren-Peugeot||3 laps||(12)|
The McLaren-Honda partnership dominated Formula 1 around the turn of the decade, taking four Constructors’ Championships and four Drivers’ Championships (including 44 wins, 53 poles and 30 fastest laps) between 1988 and 1992. In 1988 the MP4/4, powered by a V6 turbo, won 15 out of 16 grands prix and enabled Ayrton Senna to win the drivers’ title by three points from his McLaren team-mate Alain Prost.
Naturally aspirated engines were mandatory for 1989, requiring a new chassis to accommodate Honda’s new 3.5-litre V10. The MP4/5 notched up 10 wins and 15 pole positions as the Prost-Senna rivalry reached maximum intensity. Ayrton took six victories to Alain’s four, but greater consistency enabled Alain to claim the Drivers’ Championship by 76 points to 60.
Partnered by Gerhard Berger (who started on pole position in his first race for us) for 1990, Ayrton won six grands prix on his way to his second drivers’ title. Five of those victories came from pole position. Gerhard backed up Ayrton’s championship charge perfectly, finishing on the podium seven times.
Faced with renewed opposition from the resurgent Williams team in 1991, Ayrton took four consecutive victories at the beginning of the season to take a commanding lead in the Drivers’ Championship. With V12 power the MP4-6 took eight wins in all – seven for Ayrton, one for Gerhard – as well as 10 pole positions and four fastest laps. Ayrton lifted the title again at the end of the year by 96 points to Nigel Mansell’s 72.
Honda withdrew from F1 in the end of 1992, but not before Ayrton and Gerhard scored another five victories, putting us in the runners-up spot in the Constructors’ Championship.
Running a customer Ford V8 engine in 1993 meant Ayrton had to call on all his phenomenal skills. Of his five wins in the agile MP4/8, probably the most memorable is his spectacular performance in the wet European Grand Prix at Donington, where he finished 1m23.199s ahead of second-placed Damon Hill.
1994 was a transitional year following Ayrton’s departure to Williams. Our new driver pairing of Mika Hakkinen and Martin Brundle took podiums at San Marino and Monaco, but the San Marino race was overshadowed by Ayrton’s tragic death. Our 400th race typified the 1994 season; Mika qualified seventh and was fighting for fourth place when his engine expired on lap 61 of 69.
Elsewhere in 1994
72 people are killed and tens of thousands made homeless as an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale strikes Los Angeles in January.
It’s a bad year for the counterculture, with the deaths of surrealist film director Derek Jarman, outspoken comedian Bill Hicks and post-Beat novelist Charles Bukowski. The UK government’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act comes into being, including provisions against ‘raves’ or any gathering at which amplified music “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” is played.
The channel tunnel opens, linking Britain and France. Perhaps fortunately, the contractors do not act on the recommendation by military historian and former MP Alan Clark that dynamite should be installed in the tunnel’s roof as a precaution against invasion.
Nelson Mandela is elected president in South Africa’s first interracial national election. Russia and China agree not to target their nuclear weapons at one another. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announces a ceasefire in Northern Ireland. Tony Blair is elected leader of the UK Labour party following the death of John Smith. Former US President Ronald Reagan announces that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Brazil takes football’s World Cup in a thrilling final against Italy; the game ends 0-0 and is finally resolved 3-2 on penalties. Tiger Woods wins the Masters, aged 18.
Apple launches the first Macintosh computers to use PowerPC chips. Following a mission to install additional lenses to correct its faulty optics, the Hubble Space Telescope delivers photographic evidence of the existence of black holes.
Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream goes missing for three months after it is stolen from a gallery in Oslo. The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg admits that it is holding over 70 works of art removed from Germany by the Red Army in 1945.
Disney's The Lion King is the highest grossing film worldwide, taking $898,403,776. Comedies, action and feelgood movies dominate the box office: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Dumb and Dumber, True Lies, Speed, Clear And Present Danger and Forrest Gump are among the biggest hits. Steven Spielberg is finally acknowledged by the Academy; in January, his 1993 film Schindler’s List dominates the Oscars.
Friends airs for the first time in the USA; in the UK, the children’s series Rainbow is revived.