Grand Prix Classic




Round 2 - Brazilian Grand Prix
Jacarepagua, 19-21 March, 1982

Shortly after the completion of the South African Grand Prix, FISA announced their punishments for the striking drivers - US$10,000 dollars fines each, five race suspended bans, and the suspension of the superlicence. However, on appeal this was reduced to a $5,000 fine and a single race suspension. The politics trundled on, and the Argentine Grand Prix - scheduled for March 7th - in Buenos Aires - was cancelled as a result.

Compromises were reached, however, and the Brazilian Grand Prix on the fast, flat Jacarepagua circuit in Rio de Janeiro, would go ahead despite an atmosphere of ongoing tension. It was closer to sea level than Kyalami had been, most were still expecting a turbo benefit. The circuit had been resurfaced after a lukewarm reception in 1981, but remained bumpier than the tightly spring F1 cars liked it, while the anticlockwise configuration made it one of the more testing tracks on the calendar in physical terms.


Entry Notes

There were new cars in the shape of the Lotus 91, Alfa Romeo 182, Ensign N181 and Theodore TY02. Conversely, Brabham had decided to undertake further development on the BMW-engined BT50 away from races, and turned up with Cosworth-engined BT49s, upgraded to D spec, for Piquet and Patrese. They and Williams were among several teams using water-cooled brakes.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

As Guerrero would now be participating, there was the need to bump one driver from the entry to keep within the regulation 30. This was simply done by removing the slowest man of the three lowest ranked teams from the previous season (RAM March, Osella and Toleman) - Osella's Riccardo Paletti - from the Friday morning free practice session.

Jacarepagua's medium speed corners served as something of a leveller between the turbo and non-turbo teams. While Prost took pole with Villeneuve second, third right behind them was the impressive Rosberg in the old FW07D, just ahead of Arnoux (who had two offs). Lauda and Reutemann shared the third row, with Piquet, Pironi, Patrese and de Cesaris in the new Alfa rounding out the top 10.

Further back Baldi made the grid for the first time in 19th, but team-mate Henton joined the Tolemans and Guerrero in non-qualification. The heavy Ligiers were having a hard time, and only last-minute laps got Laffite and Cheever into the race at all.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

An estimated 80,000 fans had poured into the bowl that contained the Jacarepagua circuit, with the temperature once again high. The race was expected to be one of endurance for both cars and drivers. This time, though, it was Prost who got off to a poor start, conceding the lead to Villeneuve and dropping to fourth behind Arnoux and Rosberg. Next came Pironi, up two places, Reutemann, Lauda, Patrese and Piquet. Rosberg was in a feisty mood, though, and swept past Arnoux at the third corner. Exiting Nonato he even had a look at Villeneuve, only to get off line and let both Arnoux and Prost past.

The Brabhams were also on the move, Patrese had picked off Lauda and Reutemann, and on the second lap he got past Pironi too to take 5th place. Piquet had also moved up, to 7th, and they began pulling away from Reutemann, Lauda and Alboreto. Indeed, the DFV-engined BT49Ds were running splendidly - while the turbos were clearly quicker down the long Juncao straight, but the nimbler atmo cars were catching up on the corner complexes.

Piquet didn't have time to try and pass Pironi before the Ferrari slid off, the Frenchman rejoining 13th before stopping for tyres. The top six were now beginning to move clear of the rest, both Renaults very close to Villeneuve, while only a tiny gap separated them from Patrese, Rosberg and Piquet. The Brazilian was really finding his rhythm, closing up to Rosberg down Juncao and out-braking the Williams at the end. The Finn fought back magnificently, but Piquet scrabbled around the outside of the Sul corner and into 5th.

Then, on lap 6, Prost got badly out of shape coming out of Norte, and both Brabhams immediately pounced and moved past. Moving in tandem the pair soon closed up to the back of Arnoux's Renault, leaving Prost to deal with the Williams pair, and on lap 9 Piquet pulled a textbook overtake on Patrese, again at the end of Juncao. It took Rosberg a further seven laps to get past Prost, but once he was through he caught up with the Brabhams swiftly. They were stuck behind Arnoux, who had enough horsepower to keep ahead on the straight but was having to drive with his mirrors for much of the lap, allowing Villeneuve to build a small cushion in the lead. Next time around, Rosberg was up into fifth past Patrese after getting a tow down the start/finish straight and tucking neatly inside at Molykote.

Arnoux defended doggedly, but on lap 19 Piquet again picked him off at the end of Juncao thanks to a big chunk of the Renault's slipstream, all to massive cheers from the partisan crowd. However, Rosberg followed him past with ease and Arnoux then dropped down the order after running wide trying to retake the Williams. Behind him now were Lauda and Reutemann, but not for long as the Argentine would try to dive inside the McLaren at the last corner, sending Lauda sliding off with deranged suspension. A lap later Reutemann tried the same trick on Arnoux, this time doing the job properly and ending both their races.

Up front Piquet and Rosberg had easily closed up to Villeneuve, but were suffering the same problem they had encountered with the Renaults. The heavy Ferrari had enough grunt to blast clear on the two straights meaning Piquet was never quite close enough to pass, while on the slower corners he was all over the back of the Canadian. Villeneuve resisted the pressure well initially, reminiscent of his mix of coolness and sheer stubbornness seen at Jarama in 1981, and Rosberg decided to have a crack himself. First he had to get past Piquet, though. He attempted to replicate his move on Patrese and took the entry first corner, only to run wide and let Piquet back in front on the exit. Undaunted, he tried again the next lap, despite being baulked by Jarier, and this time made the pass stick. It would only last for half a lap, though, as once again Piquet tucked up behind him on Juncao and dived for the inside of Sul. Rosberg moved over with him to cover the inside line, but Piquet expertly went the long way round and scrabbled back into second on the outside line to a deafening crescendo of cheers.

The episode seemed to have made Piquet realise he was losing time behind Villeneuve, and once back past the Williams he piled the pressure on the Ferrari. He made an immediate impression, trying to muscle past on the outside of the Carlos Pace corner. Villeneuve tried to brave it out, but watching the Brabham rather than his own wheels his left hand side ran onto the grass, causing the Ferrari to knife across the circuit and nearly collect Piquet before shooting off to clobber the Armco on the other side of the track. He clambered out of the wrecked car, cursing himself for making such a simple mistake.

This left Piquet and Rosberg leading, very close together, then a small gap to Patrese, still running well but not able to close on the leading pair; and then Prost, who was suffering from an engine which misfired on the straights and was no threat to the DFV cars. He was being gained on by John Watson's McLaren, while Nigel Mansell was running nicely in the new Lotus 91, up into 6th place by lap 32. A couple of laps later, Patrese span before entering Nortre, and dropped briefly to fifth before pulling into the pits. Amazingly at just past half distance the Italian was slumped over the wheel as he drove straight into the garage, and had to be bodily lifted from the car by Brabham mechanics. This promoted Prost, Mansell, Watson and Manfred Winkelhock, running 6th in only his second Grand Prix.

While Patrese was the only one to retire from fatigue, it was becoming clear that many were suffering in the heat. Piquet was physically holding his neck up with his hand for the closing stages, while Rosberg slowly dropped back, happy to settle for second place. With Prost having his hands full keeping ahead of Watson and the rest some distance back inertia set in, the only real development being Alboreto passing Winkelhock for 6th three laps from the end. Indeed, such was the heat that Piquet fainted on the podium.

More drama of a less welcome variety then kicked up in post-race scrutinising. The problem was the water-cooled brakes. Several of the Cosworth teams had arrived in Brazil with this device fitted, basically water tanks which served little purpose - the water evaporated after being blasted at the brake ducts for the first couple of laps. The trick was that the water counted towards the car's total weight, and due to a loophole in the regulations could legally be refilled at the end of the race, before the scrutinising checks. The loophole was that the cars simply had to be weighed in 'normal running condition', and scrutineers had long turned a blind eye to the replenishment of normal fluids which had been expended in the race, so as not to result in a raft of disqualifications or to penalise a driver who had nursed a car with, say, a leaking radiator home. The feeling was that with cars being built ever-lighter the water-cooled brakes were a deliberate attempt to subvert this courtesy.

So for most of the race Piquet, Rosberg, Reutemann and Patrese, among others, had been running underweight, partly explaining the respectable straight-line speed of the DFVs relative to the turbos. Renault were enraged, and protested against this ruse, which they felt violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the law. The scrutineers agreed and disqualified Piquet and Rosberg, awarding victory to Prost. Brabham and Williams appealed, with a final decision to be made in Paris following the US West Grand Prix. The FISA/FOCA war had started again.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
DQ
Nelson Piquet Brabham-Cosworth
63
1h 43m 53.760s
7
DQ
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
63
+ 11.977s
3
1
Alain Prost Renault
63
+ 39.374s
1
2
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth
63
+ 42.364s
12
3
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth
63
+ 1m 16.233s
14
4
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth
63
+ 1m 30.135s
13
5
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-Cosworth
62
+ 1 lap
15
6
Didier Pironi Ferrari
62
+ 1 lap
8
7
Slim Borgudd Tyrrell-Cosworth
61
+ 2 laps
21
8
Jochen Mass March-Cosworth
61
+ 2 laps
22
9
Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Cosworth
60
+ 3 laps
23
10
Mauro Baldi Arrows-Cosworth
57
+ 6 laps
19
R
Eliseo Salazar ATS-Cosworth
38
Engine
18
R
Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth
36
Accident
25
R
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-Cosworth
34
Driver Exhaustion
9
R
Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari
29
Accident
2
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-Cosworth
22
Accident damage
5
R
Rene Arnoux Renault
21
Accident/Reutemann
4
R
Carlos Reutemann Williams-Cosworth
21
Accident/Arnoux
6
R
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth
21
Accident
11
R
Eddie Cheever Ligier-Matra
19
Water leak
26
R
Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo
16
Engine
16
R
Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra
15
Misfire
24
R
Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo
14
Undertray
10
R
Derek Daly Theodore-Cosworth
12
Spin/Accident damage
20
R
Raul Boesel March-Cosworth
11
Accident/Daly
17

Fastest Lap: Alain Prost (Renault), 1:37.016s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
18
2
John Watson
7
3
Carlos Reutemann
6
4=
Rene Arnoux
4
4=
Nigel Mansell
4
6=
Michele Alboreto
3
6=
Niki Lauda
3
8=
Keke Rosberg
2
8=
Manfred Winkelhock
2
10
Didier Pironi
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Renault
22
2
McLaren
10
3
Williams
8
4
Lotus
4
5
Tyrrell
3
6
ATS
2
7
Ferrari
1