Clip The Apex
1982 is often remembered as one of the most bizarre and tragic F1 seasons but 1994 is close on it's tail. Alain Prost won the World Drovers Championship in 1993 at the wheel of the super technical Williams FW15C. For 1994 most of the technical wizardry, such as active suspension, traction control, power steering and power brakes were outlawed. This made the '94 cars very different beasts to the cars in 1993 and much less stable than their predecessors.
Constructors Champions Williams had signed Ayrton Senna from McLaren for 1994 and this led Alain Prost to retire. As many know the relationship between the two men was less than harmonious and Alain felt he had little else to prove behind the wheel of an F1 car with four World Championships and 51 race wins. Ayrton was still very driven but reading some of the history of this season one of Senna's key drivers was the need to beat Alain and on more than one occasion he asked Prost to come back and race against him.
Williams kept Damon Hill in the No. 2 seat and Damon carried the Zero on his car, as he had in 1993 as the World Champion wasn't competing so there was no number one car. McLaren replaced Senna with Mika Hakkinen and put Martin Brundle in the second seat, now with Peugoet engines rather than the Ford motors used in 1993.
The biggest challenge to the Williams team was to come from Michael Schumacher and the Benetton Ford team. This was to be a controversial season for both the driver and the team with suggestions that Benetton were not complying with rules regarding electronic driver aids and Schumacher was excluded from two races (more of that later).
14 teams entered the 1994 season and 46 drivers competed at some point during the year. 1994 also saw the return of Mercedes to F1, their first season in the sport since 1955, as engine supplier to the Sauber team. The cars were powered by engines from 8 different manufacturers with the Renault and Ford motors being the class of the field.