Everyone remembers the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix for Ayrton Senna's brilliant wet weather drive in his rather uncompetitive Toleman to catch Alain Prost's vastly superior McLaren. Many believe that Senna would have won the race had it continued, however, as Im sure at least some of you are aware that was almost certainly not the case. The Toleman team confirmed that Senna had inflicted serious suspension damage to his car while going over curbs at the Chicane du Port and La Piscine, which would have forced him to retire a mere lap or two after the red flag was thrown anyway. However, the race did showcase what many of us believe to be one of the best wet weather drives in all of F1 history. And it's probably true, the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix did showcase what is most likely the greatest wet weather run in F1, only it wasn't Ayrton Senna who drove it.
Little known rookie Stefan Bellof was that driver. Bellof was a 26 year old sportscar driver from Germany, and was a Rothmans Porsche's factory team driver who was the 1984 World Sportscar Championship champion. Bellof, along with Martin Brundle drove for Tyrrell in the 1984 F1 season, in what was effectively the slowest car on the grid. Unlike the rest of their competition Tyrrell was still using the classic Cosworth DFV V8 which of course was naturally aspirated as opposed to the rest of the fields turbocharged engines. The Tyrrells Cosworth engine made, at times, over 150HP less than the contemporary turbo engines, and yes, while Tyrrell was disqualified from the 1984 season for rules infringement it is now widely acknowledged that they were most likely operating within the given rules, due to the gray area on the rules governing the cars' ballast systems. Bellof took his Tyrrell from 20th position, last on the grid, to 3rd and was rapidly closing the gap between himself and Senna. Had the grand prix continued, it would most likely have been Bellof who would climb the top step of the podium, not Senna.
Sadly, Bellof's F1 career, and life were cut short, when, while setting up an overtake on Jackie Ickx's Porsche 962 through Eau Rouge, in his Porsche 956, clipped Ickx's left rear and sent them both crashing into the wall. Bellof's 956 went clean through the initial barrier and into a second, soon after his car caught fire and it was an agonizing 10 minuted before he could be pulled from the wreckage. Upon arriving at the track hospital he was pronounced dead due to major injuries sustained in the crash. Below is video from Ickx's car that shows the incident.
To this day, few remember Bellof and what might've been of his promising career. The two most impressive things left by Bellof are, the current lap record of the Nurburgring, for any car, a blistering 6 minutes 11 seconds and supposedly, impressions on a young German, aspiring to be an F1 driver himself, Michael Schumacher.
I doubt many of you speak sufficient German to understand this but I leave you with a well done video, remembering the late Bellof, its title, roughly translated, "Full Throttle into Death"