Title sponsors Benetton and second driver Sullivan had followed star driver Michele Alboreto out of the door at the end of 1983, leaving Ken Tyrrell to start from scratch once again with no drivers, no sponsors and still no turbo engines. Back to a plain blue livery for the same 012 chassis (though without the “boomerang” rear wing), and two rookie drivers in the shape of British Formula 3 driver Martin Brundle and German sportscar hotshot Stefan Bellof, who would be bankrolled by his sponsor, Rothmans, on the condition that he was released to drive his Porsche sportscar when necessary. Danny Sullivan agreed to stand in for Bellof if he in turn wasn’t doing IndyCar. Tyrrell would be the only team to enter the 1984 season with no turbo deal in place.
Norfolk-born Brundle had an unusual path into the Formula One circus. He began racing on grass tracks in his local village before, in 1975, moving over to hot-rod racing. In 1979, he moved into Formula Ford but at the same time was driving touring cars for Tom Walkinshaw’s team, winning the BMW championship and in 1981 driving alongside the legendary Stirling Moss in the British Saloon Car Championship. The following year saw him move to Formula 3 and concentrate on single-seat open-wheel racing for the first time. In his debut season he scored two wins, before challenging for the British F3 title in 1983, losing out to Ayrton Senna on the last few laps of the last race.
Following his brother Georg into kart racing in 1973 at the age of 16, Stefan Bellof took fourth place overall in his first season and took several more top-five places over the next few years, moving into Formula Ford in late 1979 and taking second place in his first race at Hockenheim. 1980 saw 8 victories out of 12 races to take the German title, though he was less successful in the following season – nonetheless, he went on to Formula Two for 1982 and then in 1983 continued in F3 while at the same time signing up with the Porsche factory sportscar team following a one-off appearance in 1982 alongside Rolf Stommelen. Bellof and teammate Derek Bell won first time out and demolished lap records at the Nürburgring, taking several more wins before testing for Tyrrell at the end of 1983 and agreeing a deal with Rothmans that would allow him to race both F1 and sportscars in 1984.