Grand Prix Classic




Round 10 - British Grand Prix
Brands Hatch, 16-18 July, 1982

It was still anyone's guess who was going to end up as World Champion for the British Grand Prix, this year to be held at Brands Hatch as part of its' alternating deal with Silverstone. John Watson was the home hero, and led from Pironi's Ferrari by a point, though the previous two races had suggested the Ferrari was in the ascendance. Piquet had found some form in the Brabham-BMW, and Renault could yet have mounted a challenge if they could just get their reliability sorted out.

However, while Brands Hatch was still a fast circuit, it wasn't as flat-out as Silverstone, and a good chassis was needed to cope with the various sloping curves. Williams were quietly confident after Rosberg's performance at Zandvoort, while McLaren's John Barnard believed Brands would suit the team's MP4B chassis. As a home race for the majority of the teams, there was a lot of honour at stake here.


Entry Notes

Nigel Mansell, his wrist still strapped up, was declared fit to drive for Lotus, much to his relief - he had missed his home race in 1981 due to the Lotus 88 debacle. Osella continued as a one-car team with Jarier, and seemed to have no solid plans to find a new second driver.

Fittipaldi had their new F9 chassis, with the pull-rod suspensions previously seen on Brabham, Williams, Ligier and Tyrrell and recently adopted by Ferrari, but largely the new car was only there to be tested. Ligier themselves continued to be divided over what exactly to do with the new and awful JS19, and turned up with two of them and two of the old JS17B cars. Laffite was determined to master the thing; Cheever was more interested in taking the older car and going racing rather than testing.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

Friday and Saturday were both clear, sunny and warm - indeed, if anything Saturday was too hot, most drivers setting their best times on the first day. The need for one of the 31 entrants to be removed on the Friday morning was removed when de Villota's sponsors abruptly pulled out, and the LBT liveried March was switched across to the status of a spare car for Mass and Boesel (a duty which, truthfully, it had performed a lot on race days already).

More surprising were the performances of the DFV cars. Rosberg threw his Williams around with abandon, and for a while nobody could touch him, Friday's next fastest man being Didier Pironi, half a second back, as the Finn secured his first ever pole position. It was Patrese who would start second, however, after recording a blinder on Saturday, while Piquet also squeezed ahead of the Ferrari. Next up was Lauda in the McLaren, which was handling as well as Barnard had predicted, with Arnoux completing the third row.

Sandwiched between the Renaults was Elio de Angelis, who had flown on Friday in the Lotus T-car thanks to a new suspension system, though perversely changing the engine for a newer model on Saturday had slowed him down. Alboreto was a fine 9th in the Tyrrell, with Daly rounding out the top 10. The home drivers had struggled somewhat, Watson only starting from 12th and Mansell, basically only using one hand, starting 23rd. The most impressive was Warwick, though, 16th in the Toleman (a place behind team-mate Fabi, admittedly), which was finally showing some form. Their improvement saw the ATS team, who struggled with set-up problems across both days, bumped off the grid to join Lammers and Boesel in non-qualification.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

The big talk before the race was about what exactly Brabham had up their sleeve. Their cars were all fitted with bayonet-style fillers for the petrol tanks, a box had been made out with tape on their pit apron, a fuel drum with a pressurised nozzle and a quartet of air-guns had been seen throughout the weekend. Unusually, Bernie Ecclestone and Gordon Murray were very forthcoming about theapparatus. Murray had calculated that a car with a half tank of fuel and soft tyres could run fast enough in the race to more than compensate for the time taken to stop and refill the tank and change the tyres. The car would have the benefit of carrying less fuel than its' rivals in the first half, and of having fresher rubber in the second, while the turbo would be able to operate at a higher boost than its' rivals as it didn't have to be so fuel conscious. The idea unnerved the other teams - Ecclestone had been too open about a secret weapon, surely? Was it a bluff, so the Brabham team's rivals would sit back in the race and be happy to follow, waiting for a pit stop that would never come? Was Patrese going to be used as a hare to draw the other cars after him before stopping, and then allowing Piquet to pick off his tired, worn rivals at leisure? Or vice versa? Just revealing the idea was a masterstroke from Ecclestone, and probably caused others a worried night.

Rosberg's superhuman qualifying effort went to waste before the start, as his engine would not fire on the parade lap, and in accordance with the rules he had to file around and start at the back of the grid. More chaos came when the race did start, as Patrese stalled his Brabham from what was effectively pole. Pironi avoided him, but next was Arnoux, who looked to also be diving past the Brabham only for the car to twitch and hit Patrese, pushing both cars over onto the side of the track. Watson was sent over on the grass avoiding the pair, while Fabi was out at Paddock having been hit by a wheel off the Renault.

This left Piquet leading from Lauda, Pironi, de Angelis, Alboreto, de Cesaris, Daly, Giacomelli, Prost, Tambay and Warwick. All eyes were on the Brabham as it pulled way from Lauda at a rate of around a second a lap. Lauda didn't seem unduly worried, having elected to drive his own race and see how the situation developed. It proved to be a wise choice, as suddenly on lap 10 Piquet was coasting, a fuel pump having broken. He was roughly on target to building up the lead he needed to make the pit stop work, but as it was he hadn't got close enough to fully test the theory.

In terms of the lead, that was the end of it - Lauda was well clear of Pironi, with all the major threats having had various mishaps, and would then give a masterclass in winning a Grand Prix in an apparently effortless manner. By the time of Piquet's retirement, Watson was already out. After being delayed at the start he found himself down the back, and span off the track on lap 3 avoiding a collision between Jarier and Serra. Rosberg briefly seemed a credible threat, charging through the field at an astonishing rate to sit 7th on lap 15, only to then disappear into the pits having blistered his tyres.

Instead, the excitement was coming from a somewhat unexpected quarter, in the shape of Derek Warwick's Toleman. Buoyed by his speed in Zandvoort, Warwick was moving through the field at an excellent rate - passing Tambay, Prost and Giacomelli. Pirelli had arrived in England with much improved tyres, while Brian Hart had come up with more power on his tiny budget, and Warwick was taking full advantage. Pironi was leading de Angelis, Daly and de Cesaris, and the Toleman tagged onto the back of the group. Lap 8 saw him power past de Cesaris; four laps later he repeated the performance on de Angelis, before tucking down the inside of Daly at paddock on lap 18. Within three laps he was all over the back of Pironi. For a while it looked like that might be it as Warwick's inexperience saw him frequently pick the wrong place to try and pass before dropping back a few lengths and then having to work back up to the Ferrari, but on lap 25, to a tumultuous response from the hundred thousand fans, he went by and into second at Druids.

Lauda was well away, but Warwick did make a small inroad into the McLaren's lead, and was keeping ahead of Pironi handily. Sadly, it all ended on lap 41, as the Toleman coasted to a halt with a broken CV joint. There was much talk about the car having half a tank of fuel, or the boost cranked up, or running short-life tyres (the Pirellis on the Toleman were very worn when he retired, however, meaning a pit stop before the end would have been likely), the plan being to grab the attention despite the knowledge that the car wouldn't finish. However, it seemed unlikely that Toleman would throw away their promising qualifying position for a publicity stunt, and it seemed more likely that Brands Hatch just suited the strong throttle response of the Hart engine. Either way, though, Warwick was out.

By now Daly had been forced to pit with blistered tyres much like Rosberg; the Finn himself was just starting to move up the field again when his fuel pressure dropped, and after a long pit stop failed to fix the problem he retired. Alboreto was still circulating, but had lost many laps fixing a skirt problem. Cheever would dash up to 7th in the old Ligier, only for the Matra to fail.

All of which left Pironi back in second, with de Angelis gaining. Tambay was some distance behind, with de Cesaris, Prost, Giacomelli and a recovering Daly behind. With Lauda's lead reaching 45 seconds before he slowed and kept pace with the lapped Giacomelli, pacing himself, the battle between Pironi and de Angelis and the progress of Daly were about all that was happening. Just as the Lotus got within striking distance it began to suffer engine problems and dropped back, with Tambay making rapid gains as a result.

Prost moved past de Cesaris' ill-sounding Alfa, while Daly almost simultaneously demoted Giacomelli; de Cesaris was out soon after, while Daly swallowed up the Renault as well within a couple of laps. Then, having caught the ailing Lotus at a striking rate, Tambay passed de Angelis on the last tour, while Daly fell short by just a couple of lengths as the Lotus slowed dramatically on the final straight, with Prost right behind the pair of them. Much like Pironi in Zandvoort, Lauda had won with a bare minimum of fuss, and had driven a perfect race without having to worry about anyone else, helped partly by most of his potential challengers destroying themselves in the early stages.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Niki Lauda McLaren-Cosworth
76
1h 35m 33.812s
5
2
Didier Pironi Ferrari
76
+ 25.726s
4
3
Patrick Tambay Ferrari
76
+ 38.436s
13
4
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth
76
+ 41.242s
7
5
Derek Daly Williams-Cosworth
76
+ 41.300s
10
6
Alain Prost Renault
76
+ 41.506s
8
7
Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo
75
+ 1 lap
14
8
Brian Henton Tyrrell-Cosworth
75
+ 1 lap
17
9
Mauro Baldi Arrows-Cosworth
74
+ 2 laps
26
10
Jochen Mass March-Cosworth
73
+ 3 laps
25
R
Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo
66
Electrics
11
R
Eddie Cheever Ligier-Matra
60
Engine
24
R
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
59
Engine
22
R
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
50
Fuel pressure
1
NC
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth
44
Still Running
9
R
Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra
41
+ 35 laps
20
R
Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart
40
CV joint
16
R
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth
29
Skirt
23
R
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
9
Fuel pump
3
R
Robert Guerrero Ensign-Cosworth
3
Engine
19
R
Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Cosworth
2
Accident/Serra
18
R
Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth
2
Accident/Jarier
21
R
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth
2
Spin
12
R
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW
0
Stalled/accident Arnoux
2
R
Rene Arnoux Renault
0
Accident/Patrese
6
R
Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart
0
Accident/Arnoux
15

Fastest Lap: Brian Henton (Tyrrell), 1m 13.028s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Didier Pironi
35
2
John Watson
30
3
Niki Lauda
24
4
Keke Rosberg
21
5=
Riccardo Patrese
19
5=
Alain Prost
19
7
Nelson Piquet
17
8
Elio de Angelis
13
9=
Eddie Cheever
10
9=
Michele Alboreto
10
11=
Nigel Mansell
7
11=
Derek Daly
7
13=
Carlos Reutemann
6
13=
Gilles Villeneuve
6
15=
Andrea de Cesaris
5
16=
Patrick Tambay
4
16=
Rene Arnoux
4
18
Jean-Pierre Jarier
3
19=
Manfred Winkelhock
2
19=
Eliseo Salazar
2
19=
Marc Surer
2
22=
Jacques Laffite
1
22=
Chico Serra
1
22=
Mauro Baldi
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
McLaren
54
2
Ferrari
45
3
Brabham
36
4
Williams
34
5
Renault
23
6
Lotus
21
7
Ligier
11
8
Tyrrell
10
9
Alfa Romeo
5
10
ATS
4
11=
Osella
3
11=
Arrows
3
13
Fittipaldi
1