Grand Prix Classic




Round 14 - Swiss Grand Prix
Dijon-Prenois, 27-29 August, 1982

On arrival in France, the championship position hadn't really changed much. Rosberg had been the only serious contender to score well at the Osterreichring, and was something of the favourite by default to take overall victory - the Finn seemed to be the only driver who was able to mix consistent form with actually finishing races, despite being the only front-runner without a win. A couple of races wins for Prost - or even Patrese, Tambay or Arnoux if other scores fell their way - or a rediscovery of early-season form by the McLaren team could yet make things interesting, but it was looking less likely this would happen.

The Swiss Grand Prix itself was something of an obvious misnomer. With the French Grand Prix alternating between Paul Ricard and Dijon-Prenois, the owners of the latter approached the FIA with plans to hold what was effectively a second race in France, much in the same way Imola hosted the San Marino Grand Prix in Italy. With the sport being highly popular in France and Dijon-Prenois being a popular track with good facilities a deal was struck. Switzerland had banned motorsport within its' borders after the 1955 Le Mans crash, but the Swiss Automobile Club had been involved in various events in nearby European countries, and here came onboard to work with the Dijon organisers. A similar Swiss Grand Prix had been held at the circuit in 1973, albeit one of non-championship status, as the then-customary prelude to the track holding a full championship race in 1974, so the idea was not completely without precedence.


Entry Notes

Ferrari continued to run a sole entry for Patrick Tambay, with Didier Pironi still recovering - while the championship leader was mending at a faster rate than many expected, he was unlikely to be fit enough until at least midway through 1983. Enzo Ferrari had already announced he would enter a third car alongside the retained Tambay and new signing Rene Arnoux as soon as Pironi was well enough.

Arrows arrived with the new A5 design, once more powered by a Cosworth DFV, which was primarily intended for the 1983 season. Marc Surer would get the sole new chassis for what was effectively his home race, with Mauro Baldi continuing in the A4. Aside from that, the entry was unchanged from the Austrian Grand Prix.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

While Dijon was a fast track, it rewarded good handling as much as outright speed. Brabham struggled to find a good setup, and didn't show the speed they had in recent meetings. Patrese started 3rd, but nearly a second behind Arnoux ahead of him, and 1.3s slower than fastest man Prost. The Renaults were so happy with their work on Friday they opted out of being timed on Saturday, instead concentrating on race setup. In 4th was Niki Lauda in a McLaren that was really working on Dijon's curves. Behind him came de Cesaris in the Alfa Romeo, ahead of Piquet, while the Williams cars took row 4, Daly ahead of Rosberg. Rounding out the top 10 were Giacomelli and Tambay.

The Ferrari driver was in pain from a trapped nerve in his right shoulder, picked up in Austria, and would eventually elect not to race in order to be fully recovered for the team's home race, but again Ferrari decided not to officially withdraw the car, leaving 9th place empty. Watson was back in 11th, while Surer had done well to qualify the new Arrows in 14th.

Further back, the Tolemans weren't showing the form of their past few outings, only managing 21st (Warwick) and 23rd (Fabi), while Mansell was 26th and last after colliding with Henton on Friday (the Lotus driver accused the Tyrell driver of blocking him, at which point Henton threatened to punch Mansell). Both March cars and both ATS cars made the cut, but less lucky were Serra, Byrne and Baldi in the old Arrows, who all missed the grid.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

Once more a race was blessed with clear, warm weather and a large, enthusiastic crowd - though the large number of waving tricolours and Renault flags suggested that the Swiss hadn't made it in particularly large numbers. After a long wait while the lights went out (again, not for the first time this season), the field made it away largely without incident, largely retaining their grid order. Arnoux did lead Prost around for the first lap after getting the better line away from the grid, but was passed on the outside at the first corner of the second without putting up too much of a fight.

All eyes were on the Brabhams. Piquet was planning to stop, but Patrese wasn't - the reasoning was that a pitstop at the short Dijon circuit effectively cost three-quarters of a lap, allowing a lot of traffic to get in the way of the car, and Patrese reasoned that the calculations were too marginal. The Italian put up a surprisingly robust defence when his team-mate came up to pass him, but Piquet made it through after a couple of laps before setting off after the Renaults, which had pulled out at a decent, if not shattering, pace.

Behind Patrese, the DFV cars were keeping up surprisingly well, with Lauda, Rosberg, Daly and a charging Watson all jockeying around behind the full tank Brabham. Piquet in the lighter car was making the usual progress and was soon onto the back of Arnoux, only to run wide and drop back to just in front of Patrese and have to catch the Renault all over again. This time he did it right, going around the outside of the first turn after getting in Arnoux's slipstream, and set off after Prost. Soon after Watson disappeared into the pits for a long stop to repair a skirt loosened by his early charge.

However, the Brabham just wasn't working as well as it had recently, or the Renault was going better, and by mid-distance Prost still led by 3.5s. The Brabham was then obliged to make its' pit stop, and despite the Brabham mechanics doing another excellent job, he dropped to 4th, 36 seconds back from the race leader - not an insurmountable distance, but not a given based on his early race pace. Between him and the Renaults were Rosberg and Lauda scrapping over third and keeping within a respectable 11-12 seconds of Arnoux.

As the second half of the race went on, Rosberg and not Piquet was the man to watch. The Brabham just didn't really get going after its' stop thanks to the team's setup problems, and Piquet wasn't much of a factor in the remainder of the race. Instead, the Finn had, thanks to some excellent setup work and restrained driving early on (such as not putting up a futile struggle when Piquet came at him in the opening laps) saved the best of his tyres and brakes for the closing stages of the race when everyone else was wilting.

He soon left Lauda behind and began closing on Arnoux, who was losing a little top end power but still running pretty strongly. The pair of them, however, were closing on Prost, who had a loose skirt and was struggling with a lack of downforce. Rosberg's pursuit was checked only by de Cesaris, who was being lapped by the pair and making minimal use of his mirrors. At first he seemed to be doing the Williams a favour by holding up Arnoux badly, but then he cost Rosberg even more.

But Rosberg wasn't going to be denied. He had the gap to Arnoux back down to three seconds and closing when the Renault slowed and headed into the pits. The engine was cutting out, and so bereft of any other ideas the pit crew topped up the fuel tanks and sent him straight back out in 4th, only for the car to grind to a halt a quarter of the way round the lap as the fuel injection was the problem. Rosberg was now chucking his car around with glorious abandon.

By lap 78 the gap was down to two seconds. By halfway around the lap, on the approach to Parabolique, Rosberg was through, his beautifully handling car simply taking a much tighter line than the Renault. Prost's frustration was tangible, and with his Michelins fading and not helping his grip problems he had no answer to Rosberg, eventually finishing some four and a half seconds behind.

Rosberg's biggest problem was that the organisers, having hovered around the line with the chequered flag on laps 77 and 78, then weren't paying attention when went past at the end of lap 80, despite the Williams pit crew hanging over the wall cheering. They did catch on after sending Rosberg around again, and even then both car and driver looked like they could have managed another 20 laps. Prost, on the other hand, looked like he couldn't have done another lap in the Renault if Arnoux was chasing him around in a jet fighter.

Third went to Lauda, who had also driven sensibly but just didn't have a good enough car under him to perform the same heroics as Rosberg. He was the only other driver on the lead lap. Next up were Piquet and Patrese, who had been anonymous in the second half of the race, with de Angelis taking the final point after a trouble-free run, ahead of Alboreto. Mansell was 8th after a sturdy drive through from last on the grid, with a disappointing Daly and de Cesaris rounding out the top 10. The race actually managed to have 15 finishers, while Arnoux had done enough laps to be classified and Cheever was still circulating to boot.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
80
1h 32m 41.087s
8
2
Alain Prost Renault
80
+ 4.442s
1
3
Niki Lauda McLaren-Cosworth
80
+ 1m 00.343s
4
4
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
79
+ 1 lap
6
5
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW
79
+ 1 lap
3
6
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth
79
+ 1 lap
15
7
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth
79
+ 1 lap
12
8
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth
79
+ 1 lap
26
9
Derek Daly Williams-Cosworth
79
+ 1 lap
7
10
Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo
78
+ 2 laps
5
11
Brian Henton Tyrrell-Cosworth
78
+ 2 laps
18
12
Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo
78
+ 2 laps
9
13
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth
77
+ 3 laps
11
14
Eliseo Salazar ATS-Cosworth
77
+ 3 laps
25
15
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
76
+ 4 laps
14
16
Rene Arnoux Renault
75
+ 5 laps/Fuel injection
2
NC
Eddie Cheever Ligier-Matra
70
+ 10 laps/Not classified
16
R
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-Cosworth
55
Engine mount
20
R
Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Cosworth
44
Engine
17
R
Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra
33
Handling
13
R
Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart
31
Overheating
23
R
Raul Boesel March-Cosworth
31
Gearbox
24
R
Rupert Keegan March-Cosworth
25
Spin
22
R
Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart
24
Engine
21
R
Roberto Guerrero Ensign-Cosworth
4
Engine
19
DNS
Patrick Tambay Ferrari
-
Injury
10

Fastest Lap: Alain Prost (Renault), 1m 07.477s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Keke Rosberg
42
2
Didier Pironi
39
3
Alain Prost
31
4=
John Watson
30
4=
Niki Lauda
30
6
Elio de Angelis
23
7
Riccardo Patrese
21
8
Nelson Piquet
20
9=
Rene Arnoux
19
9=
Patrick Tambay
19
11
Michele Alboreto
14
12
Eddie Cheever
10
13=
Nigel Mansell
7
13=
Derek Daly
7
15=
Carlos Reutemann
6
15=
Gilles Villeneuve
6
17=
Andrea de Cesaris
5
17=
Jacques Laffite
5
19=
Jean-Pierre Jarier
3
19=
Marc Surer
3
21=
Manfred Winkelhock
2
21=
Eliseo Salazar
2
21=
Bruno Giacomelli
2
21=
Mauro Baldi
2
25=
Chico Serra
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Ferrari
64
2
McLaren
60
3
Williams
53
4
Renault
50
5
Brabham
41
6
Lotus
31
7
Ligier
15
8
Tyrrell
14
9
Alfa Romeo
7
10
Arrows
5
11
ATS
4
12
Osella
3
13
Fittipaldi
1