Ok here's what Brundle has to say, in his book, on the 1994 Peugeot engine;
Interlagos;"During the 1994 Brazilian GP, I was involved in a serious crash ...It was the nearest I had ever come to dying.
It was my first race for Mclaren and I would quickly come to learn that the Peugeot engine had a habit of shedding it flywheel with dramatic results. The loss of the Flywheel would have been nothing more than a frustrating failure had it simply dropped off the back of the engine. But it didn't stop at that. With the flywheelrevolving at around 14,000 revolutions per minute - or 230 per second - the forces involved would take it through the bottom of the transmission casing and onto the race track, where it would instantly bounce back and cause all sorts of mayhem beneath the car. Its favourite trick was to go through the gearbox and set fire to the oil."
(Brundle then goes on to explain that the flywheel came off just as he accelarated out of turn 3, which then led to his almighty accident.)
"Most my vivid memory of starting a race at Sliverstone was when I appeared to be attempting to BBQ half the grip. That was in 1994 with the famous Peugeot engine that caused so much grief at Interlagos & everywhere else by trying to consume itself at awkward moments..."
(Brundle then goes on to explain how the engine was sounding sick on the formation lap - not for the 1st time that year - & how he though about going into the pits, but there seemed little point , so he took his place on the grid with the intention of giving the engine a rev in the hope of clearing the trouble. He then describes the failure in some detail, before the describing how broken-hearted & absolutely distraught he was that this should happen at his home event & in which he had hoped to do well)
"...But the trouble didn't end there. Jean-Pierre Jabouille, a former F1 driver who had become the head of Peugeot Sport, was keen to cover his company's backside. He was also desperate to get his mate Phillippe Alliot - our test driver - in the car for a race. Jabouille was looking for any excuse. After the race, they got the Mclaren back to the pits, added some oil and it fired up. The engine was fine. Peugeot then issued a press release to the effect that I should have carried on. They conveniently forgot to mention that the fire had melted the car's rear suspension, undertray & rear wing, that the engine had used 8 of its 14 litres of oil and was never going to last.
I was then blamed for using the wrong revs on the start line even though the problem was evident on the warm up lap. It turned out that I was holding the revs in a zone in which the harmonics made the piston rings leak (then Brundle goes into detail on this)...
...It later transpired that Peugeot, in order to reduce intenal friction, had gone from 3 piston rings to 2. No one had told me about the crucial rev band. Worse still, Mclaren, because of internal politics chose to remain silent about Peugeot's one-eyed account. If I was bitterly disappointed before , I was absoltely livid now."
Hungary;"But when it come to heartbreak at the Hungaroring, the last lap of 1994 was the most painful for me. I was with Mclaren, and Hakkinen, who was my team-mate, had been banned for causing a start-line accident at Hockenhiem. Mika had been the golden boy of the team but, in Hungary , I was no. 1. And, boy, was I enjoying it. Apart from loving the track, I was revelling in the new found responsibility and the fact that the team were focused on me instead of Hakkinen. I was absolutely flying and the feeling of well being was increased by seeing my temporary team-mate, Philippe Alliot, really struggle. As i'd discovered at Sliverstone in 1994, Mclaren's engine partner, Peugeot , had been desperate to get the Frenchman a race drive. This was their chance. And he was absoltely nowhere, qualifying 14th, eight places behind me."
tzerof1 wrote:Though according to formula1.com's archive, Brundle had only three engine related retirements, to Hakkinen's four that season. And both cars retired at the French GP from engine failures. So who knows?
From my research I've counted Brundle as having 6 total engine failures during actual races that season. Brazil (just before his accident) / Pacific / France / Sliverstone / Germany & Europe. In addition to this, there were also some races like Monaco, where although Brundle finished the race in 2nd position. Martin describes in his book, how the engine had got rid of most of its oil & water. So for the last 10 laps he never understood how it kept going?
Furthermore I have been looking a bit more into the difference in terms of performance between Hakkinen & Brundle during 1994. Interestingly over the course of their 15 races together Hakkinen outqualified Brundle by an average of 4.73 places per race. Whereas in 1992, when Brundle was team-mates to M Schumi, over the course of the 1992 season, M Schumi outqualified Brundle by an average of 2.69 places per race. Which is almost half the average amout that Hakkinen managed to outqualify Brundle by in 1994. Even allowing for the view that Hakkinen was a slightly better qualifier than M Schumi. To me, this statistic does seem to suggest, that for whatever reason, Brundle was not performing as well in 1994 as he had done in 1992. As I can't see how, even the most ardent Hakkinen fan would argue that Mika was almost twice the qualifer M Schumi was.
What’s more that difference in qualifying performance between Hakkinen & Brundle in 1994, is akin to what one would expect between a clear no.1 driver & clear no. 2 driver. Certainly it is rare to see that kind of performance between two equal teammates. To my knowlegde Mclaren, offically at least, considered both of their drivers equal no.1 in 1994. Therefore would have given them both 'equal' equipment, as that has always been their policy (until a championship situation ditates otherwise). Even if Mclaren did favor Hakkinen, I can't believe that driver 'favourism' would have played a significant part in these particular stats. Since Brundle & his relationship with the 'M Schumi factor' at Benetton was a broadly simliar situation to dealing with 'the Golden boy' (aka Hakkinen) at Mclaren, anyway.
Whats more interesting is that I have briefly looked over the qualifying battles between Herbert & Hakkinen in 1992. As well as the qualifying battles between Coulthard & Hakkinen in 1996. On the face of things (i.e. without having analysed them in detail like above), they all appear to be a fairly even contest. Maybe with Hakkinen having a slight edge, but I can't see it being anymore than an average of 1 place per race with Herbert, or 2 places per race with Coulthard.
Given these are teammates to Hakkinen whom I personally would consider to be of a simliar ability level to that of Brundle's in 1994. Therefore I would have expected Brundle's qualifying performances in comparison with Hakkinen, to have been broadly around this mark. Certainly no high than say being outqualified by Hakkinen by an average of 3.5 places per race. Note, I've used qualifying performances as a performance measure because that tends to be a true test of 'pure' speed. Where as race results can often be ditated by other factors like, poorer pitstops / strategy / unreliability / getting stuck in traffic etc.
All of this anaylsis, therefore begs the question just why was Brundle being so comprehensively out qualified by Hakkinen. Might there have been an element of Peugeot sabotaging (in some shape or form) Brundle's performances in 1994?
Whislt, in the absence of hard facts on the matter, one can only speculate. I do tend to think that perhaps there would have been at the very least some 'negative feelings' between Peugeot & Brundle. Particularly in the aftermath of Sliverstone 1994. Perhaps this may have amounted to subtle ‘indirect sabotage’. Things like Hakkinen always getting the new, fresher engines & given greater technical support even by the Peugeot engineers. In addition to greater support by the Mclaren engineers. Therefore, perhaps Brundle was considered an afterthought. So it is possible that Brundle received even worse treatment from Peugeot than he might have done, for instance from Ford in 1992. Despite being given, officially at least, the same equal no. 1 status within in the team in both cases. Perhaps this may have accounted for some of the difference in qualifying performances between Hakkinen & Brundle in 1994.
However, without further evidence I do hesitate to believe that Peugeot would have gone to the extreme lengths of 'directly' sabotaging Brundle engine’s on purpose, to the extent that Honda did with Mansell in 1987 or Prost in 1989. I am certainly not aware of Brundle (or any other involved party) coming forward suggesting ‘direct’ sabotage from Peugoet.