Grand Prix Classic

Round 1 - South African Grand Prix
Kyalami, 21-23 January, 1982
Team-by-Team Review

Brabham BT50-BMW
1. Nelson Piquet (Brz)
2. Riccardo Patrese (It)

Race debut for much-tested first turbo Brabham with 570bhp BMW engine. Both drivers qualify well, 2nd (Piquet) and 4th (Patrese). Poor start from Piquet (inexperienced at standing starts with turbo engines, he lets the boost drop too low) also briefly delays Patrese and they enter the first corner 5th (Patrese) and 6th, though locking brakes drop Piquet to 13. He then slides off with while trying to pass Alboreto for 10th place. Patrese to 4th when Villeneuve retires, a long way behind Pironi but comfortably ahead of the DFV runners. Sadly pulls into the pits on lap 19 to retire with broken turbo. The speed is there, the team just need to work on race reliability of new package.

Tyrrell 011-Cosworth
3. Michele Alboreto (It)
4. Slim Borgudd (Swe)

Cash-strapped team (no sponsors, 1981 car) greatly uplifted by Alboreto's performance. He starts 10th and battles with the McLarens and Laffite early on on the way to a respectable 7th place, one lap down. Borgudd less impressive - starts 23rd, moves up well to 14th by lap 28, but collides with Mass on lap 30. Lengthy pit-stop to repair loose nose assembly follows, before he resumes. Finishes 16th, five laps down.

Williams FW07D-Cosworth
5. Carlos Reutemann (Arg)
6. Keke Rosberg (Fin)

Excellent meeting for team at a circuit they didn't expect to perform well at. Latest evolution of FW07 is fastest non-turbo, Rosberg (7th) impressively starting ahead of Reutemann (8th, on race tyres after problems with qualifiers). Reutemann gets past Rosberg on lap 7, and moves up as the turbos encounter problems - 5th lap 8; 4th lap 19; 3rd lap 23; 2nd lap 41. Passed by both Pironi and Prost on lap 49, but back up to third when Pironi pits again. Passes the ailing Arnoux three laps from the end for a superb, unruffled 2nd, within 15 seconds of Prost. Rosberg does just as well for his Williams debut. Shadows Reutemann early on beofre gear knob comes off in his hand and a missed shift takes the edge of his engine, but is neverthless up to 3rd after Prost's puncture. Repassed by Prost and Pironi, then caught and passed by Lauda, but finishes satisfied 5th (full distance) for first points since 1980 Italian Grand Prix.

McLaren MP4B-Cosworth
7. John Watson (GB)
8. Niki Lauda (Aut)

Returning Lauda immediately triggers controversy by leading driver's strike. Then bent suspension in qualifying on his way to 13th on the grid, behind Watson (7th). Makes a careful start, passing Salazar and running 10th by lap 8. Picks up speed as the race goes on, passing Alboreto and Laffite to move in 7th by lap 19. Moved up as the turbos encountered problems, also closing on and passing Watson and then Rosberg as he became more comfortable with the car. Up to 4th by lap 73, but unable to catch Arnoux before the end. Happy with three points in his first race for two and a half years, however. Watson typically dogged early on, keeping ahead of Lauda and running 7th. Also moved up due to faster cars' problems, but passed by team-mate on lap 68. Finishes fine unlapped 6th, unhappy with the balance of his car, to put both McLarens in the points.

ATS D5-Cosworth
9. Eliseo Salazar (Chi)
10. Manfred Winkelhock (Ger)

Trouble-free practice hugely encouraging in 1981 HGS1-based D5. Salazar an excellent 10th on the grid, with Winkelhock qualifying for the first time in a respectable 20th position. Both circulate reliably and consistently on their way to excellent 9th (Salazar) and 10th, both two laps down.

Lotus 87B-Cosworth
11. Elio de Angelis (It)
12. Nigel Mansell (GB)

With old car (which wasn't especially impressive to begin with) the Hethel team go to Kyalami with low expectations. Mediocre qualifying sees de Angelis 15th and Mansell 18th. The latter retires almost immediately with electrical problems, but de Angelis makes a reliable run to 8th place, 1 lap down. New 91 car is due to arrive in time for the Argentine Grand Prix.

Ensign N180B-Cosworth
14. Robert Guerrero (Col)

A disastrous weekend for the under-funded team. On returning from strike, Guerrero was met by an injunction from his former F2 boss Willi Maurer preventing him from driving (though Mo Nunn initially announces the driver has been suspended for taking part in the drivers' strike). Unable to find a replacement at such short notice, Ensign forced to withdraw from meeting.

Renault RE30B-Renault
15. Alain Prost (Fr)
16. Rene Arnoux (Fr)

Ominous performance from La Regie. Arnoux takes pole, Prost 5th on the grid. The latter made a fine start to run a close second to Arnoux, laps 1-13 before Prost made better time through backmarkers and took the lead. Pulls away at a steady rate, with Arnoux a safe second well clear of Pironi. Prost then delayed by lap 41 puncture and subsequent pit stop, dropping to 7th. Revelling in speed of Renault turbo sliced back through the field, passing Pironi to 2nd on lap 50. Arnoux then slowed by badly worn tyres, allowing Prost to retake the lead lap 68, going on to his fourth Grand Prix victory. Arnoux is also passed by Reutemann after poor signals from Renault pit make him think he is a lap ahead of the Williams, and lets him pass without a fight, but is still able to finish third. 1st and 3rd despite problems with both cars is worrying for the opposition.

March 821-Cosworth
17. Jochen Mass (Ger)
18. Raul Boesel (Brz)

Pleasing meeting for RAM-entered new March. Mass the only driver not to strike, and qualifies 22nd, one place behind debutante Boesel. The German races well to 12th of 18, three laps down despite a collision with Slim Borgudd, and Boesel comes home 15th, five laps down after being passed by de Cesaris in the later stages. Team happy with reliability of car, and just need to find speed.

Fittipaldi F8D-Cosworth
20. Chico Serra (Brz)

In single car based on unsuccessful 1981 chassis, Serra does well to qualify (in 25th) for his first start since 1981 Spanish Grand Prix. Races slowly but steadily to 17th, five laps down but only a short distance behind Borgudd's Tyrrell. Team's future still unsure, however.

Alfa Romeo 179D-Alfa Romeo
22. Andrea de Cesaris (It)
23. Bruno Giacomelli (It)

With old car (new 182 expected in Argentina) team turn up in Kyalami more out of obligation than expectation. Giacomelli (19th) out-qualified by new team-mate de Cesaris (16th) before both drive unobtrusive races - Giacomelli to 11th, two laps down despite a pit-stop, and de Cesaris to 13th, four laps down.

Ligier JS17-Matra
25. Eddie Cheever (USA)
26. Jacques Laffite (Fr)

Team still using 1981 JS17 chassis and Matra Simca V12. Laffite qualifies a handy 11th, with Cheever (on his debut for the team) 17th. Laffite up to 8th early on after great start with Cheever 11th, but both Ligier cars are forced to retire with an identical fuel vaporisation problem caused by the Kyalami altitude. Further bad news for the team as Matra halts development of its' troubled V6 turbo, and the forthcoming JS19 has to be redrawn to take the conventional V12.

Ferrari 126C2-Ferrari
27. Gilles Villeneuve (Can)
28. Didier Pironi (Fr)

Both drivers hugely enthused by the handling of Postlethwaite's new 126C2 chassis, and qualify a satisfied 3rd (Villeneuve) and 6th (Pironi). Pironi benefits from Piquet's poor start to run 4th just behind Villeneuve, but neither able to keep with the Renaults. Villeneuve out on lap 7 with massive turbo fire. Pironi safe 3rd until disastrous lap 23 tyres stop, which drops him out of the points. Charges back through the field up to 2nd on lap 49, but passed by similarly charging Prost a lap later. Back to lonely third until engine goes sick on lap 69. Long inspection in the pit-lane drops him down to order, but still circulating, albeit slowly and six laps down, in 18th at the end.

Arrows A4-Cosworth
29. Brian Henton (GB)
30. Mauro Baldi (It)

Disastrous start to life after Patrese. Marc Surer injured in testing accident early in the week, and is expected to be out for three months. Patrick Tambay hired as replacement, but retires after the drivers' strike, disliking the ground effects car. Brian Henton then hired to drive until Surer is fit, but with little track-time in new car neither he (29th fastest) or Mauro Baldi (27th fastest) are able to qualify, Henton especially struggling with the new car.

Osella FA1C-Cosworth
31. Jean-Pierre Jarier (Fr)
32. Riccardo Paletti (It)

Poor meeting for the Italian team. Both drivers plagued by niggling problems and lack of straight-line speed in qualifying in new FA1C. Paletti only 28th fastest, and does not make the grid. Thanks to the Arrows' problems Jarier (troubled by broken riobs from an off-season accident) does so in last place, only to be shoved into retirement in the first corner melee while trying to avoid the slowing Mansell.

Theodore TY01-Cosworth
33. Derek Daly (Ire)

Teddy Yip wanted to skip the race until new TY02 is ready, but persuaded to attend by fellow FOCA members. In old car, Derek Daly happy to qualify in 24th place. Drives competent, incident-free race to finish 14th, four laps down after being passed by de Cesaris on the last lap. New Theodore chassis expected for Argentine Grand Prix, and much needed.

Toleman TG181C-Hart
35. Derek Warwick (GB)
36. Teo Fabi (It)

Team arrive with high hopes that the 'turbo factor' at Kyalami will help them out. It does - but not as much as they hoped. Boost problems prevent Fabi (the only driver to walk out of the strike) from recording a time in qualifying, but Warwick starts 14th, best yet for a Toleman, for only his second Grand Prix. Runs capably in midfield until crashing out, lap 44, when a suspension component works loose and punctures rear tyre, sending him in catch fencing. Warwick briefly knocked unconscious after banging his head on a fence post, but basically unharmed.