Grand Prix Classic




Round 15 - Italian Grand Prix
Monza, 10-12 September, 1982

The Swiss Grand Prix had a strange effect on the battle for the championship - at the start of the weekend, it had looked much like anyone's title. At the end, it was difficult to see far past Keke Rosberg. The curious pattern was down to the turbo cars scoring better on the second half of the season's circuits, and finding some reliability, at least in relative terms. With Ferrari, Renault and (to a lesser extent) Brabham stealing points off each other but having generally given the Cosworth runners too much of a head start we were left with a situation which saw four drivers still within a mathematical chance of winning the title. Prost was 11 points back, with just six finishes from 15 races. The McLaren drivers were tied 12 points behind, but seemingly without the outright speed to bridge the gap.

Further complicating things was Monza. Almost as fast as the Osterreichring, the turbos would be setting the pace and probably untouchable, which would mean the McLaren drivers would be relying on attrition to get a good score. Prost, meanwhile, had a fast car that, for one reason or another, just wasn't finishing races - there was a chance he'd win and make serious inroads to Rosberg's lead, but a better chance he wouldn't score at all.


Entry Notes

After not even starting the Swiss Grand Prix, Ferrari would be fielding two cars to try and seal the constructors' title on home ground. While Tambay would return in one car, there was much speculation as to who was to drive the other. Eventually Mario Andretti managed to find a gap in his CART schedule to drive the car.

Arrows would once again have their new A5 on hand, this time being used by Mauro Baldi in deference to his sponsors at their home race. Another new car present was the long-gestated Toleman TG183, which as its' name suggested was meant to be the team's 1983 challenger and was effectively being tested at the meeting by Derek Warwick, in a grey/white/red colour scheme. Alfa Romeo would also have their first turbocharged car present, the 182T - as suggested by the name, this was a standard 182 with minimal modifications to take the new 1.5l V8. While de Cesaris would run the car in practice, there were no plans to race what was basically a testing hack.

In other changes, March had abandoned the aborted Avon tyres programme and purchased a contract from Michelin, as apparently they had exhausted the leftover stock (though many believed it was a simple competitive move and that the team were just trying to save face after buying the tyres in the first place), while the Tyrrells turned up in a new green livery courtesy of new sponsor Denim.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

To the joy of the Tifosi, Mario Andretti got up to the pace in the second session after a steady start and took a flying pole position from Nelson Piquet on his final set of tyres. Tambay had the other Ferrari in third, and the trio had been the only drivers to break through the 1:29 barrier. Fourth placed Patrese was a second back from Tambay, while the Renaults held row 3, Prost ahead of Arnoux, having opted again to work on race setup for the majority of the session.

Nearly two seconds separated Arnoux from 7th placed Rosberg, and the Finn was himself a second faster than the next DFV, Lauda in 10th. Between them were Giacomelli and de Cesaris, the latter somewhat nonplussed after the turbo car proved no quicker than the V12. Alboreto would start his home race 11th, ahead of Watson.

Further back, Jarier posted an excellent 15th best time, just ahead of Warwick in the new Toleman, which didn't seem much of an improvement on the old one and wasn't getting along with the latest Pirellis. Baldi could only manage 24th in the new Arrows, but this was better than either March, Winkelhock and Byrne, who all failed to qualify.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

The Italian fans turned up in the usual droves (an estimated 150,000 paying spectators and 50,000 non-paying), very happy with their prospects, with two Ferraris well in the reckoning for the first time since Brands Hatch, plus in a pinch 1983 Ferrari driver Arnoux in one of the Renaults. As long as neither of the Brabhams or Prost won...

Sadly for them, Andretti got too much wheelspin and got off the line badly, while both Renaults got away well. In fact, Prost got away a bit too well and had to put his left-hand wheels on the grass to avoid going through the back of the Ferrari, dropping right down the field. Though all of this it was Piquet who got to the chicane first, followed by Tambay and Arnoux. However, the Brabham slipped back almost immediately, Tambay and Arnoux moving past almost as one midway around. Then, going into Parabolica Arnoux tucked on the inside of the Ferrari, pulling right up as they went through the corner and simply out-dragging Tambay before they reached the line. Tambay tried to counterattack into the first chicane but Arnoux had too much speed, holding him off and then beginning to edge away.

Piquet's clutch had been playing up since the start, and he was dropping down the field like a stone, Andretti and de Cesaris both now getting by. Team-mate Patrese was in third, however, and now began to attack. He soon passed Tambay, and by lap 4 was less than a second behind Arnoux. For three laps he loomed in the Renault's mirrors, and had a look down the inside of the second chicane on lap 7. However, as he came through the Parabolica the Brabham was cruising with a broken clutch.

The only remaining hope of any serious excitement lay with Prost. The Frenchman didn't really do excitement normally, but had dropped to 12th at the start. By the end of lap 6 he was suddenly pushing Andretti for 4th as Patrese faded, and he would pass him before the next tour. Prost then began closing the 9 second gap to Tambay in second. By lap 19 he was with the Ferrari, but just couldn't find a way past. He was still behind the red car on lap 28 when he suddenly slowed, arm raised, and headed to the pits. The fuel injection system was playing up, as it had done for Arnoux at Dijon, and after repairs he was sent out again, lasting half a lap before trundling to a halt and parking up on the side of the track, his championship hopes finished and the partisan crowd delighted.

That basically signalled the end of the battle for the first three positions. Arnoux was maintaining a comfortable 15-second lead over Tambay, and was driving with a certain serenity and precision not really seen of him so far in 1982, while Andretti had spent the first ten laps with the Alfa Romeo cars fairly close behind before being able to pull away and lock down third despite throttle problems. The Alfas would both disappear when running in the points - de Cesaris pitting on lap 11 for a new ignition coil to cure a misfire, and Giacomelli on lap 32 when damage to a sidepod made the car impossible to drive.

John Watson would eventually take a distant 4th place. He had driven his best race for a while, moving past Lauda, Cheever, Alboreto, Rosberg and Giacomelli and commendably being the only non-turbo to finish on the lead lap. From his point of view Monza was always going to be about damage limitation, and he did what could reasonably be expected. Rosberg had ran well too, battling with Giacomelli for 5th until his rear wing fell off. Giacomelli repassed him, taking a second while alongside to point at the rear of Rosberg's car. The Williams driver pitted believing he had a puncture, and there was a confused scene in the pits. A new wing was fitted and Rosberg rejoined, albeit two laps down, and was unable to get any higher than 8th before the end of the race.

The other man still in the title race, Lauda, didn't stay that way for long. He moved to 10th early on before heading into the pits on lap 21 to retire with brake trouble. Daly in the second Williams paid the price for a lacklustre qualifying and poor start by getting caught up in an accident with backmarkers on the first lap - he was struck by Guerrero and had his suspension damaged, but didn't realise this until the Roggia chicane, when he braked and found the Williams snapping straight into the side of Henton, also eliminating Warwick in the new Toleman.

Neither Lotus particularly impressed, de Angelis retiring with a jamming throttle having made little progress, while Mansell slogged through to 7th. Jarier, tipped by many to get a result after some excellent times in Monza tests ahead of the race, had moved up to 12th in the early stages only to have a wheel fall off, and Laffite had never really been in the race after gearbox troubles. All of which left Alboreto, after another faultlessly smooth run, take 5th ahead of Eddie Cheever in 6th.

The Italian fans were happy, at least - next year's Ferrari drivers had finished first and second, and the legendary Andretti 3rd (the 26th driver to score points in 1982) - and they weren't going to let a trifling detail like a Renault winning the race stop a good old track invasion. And Watson's 4th place was enough to just about keep his championship hopes alive, though there was a certain pang of regret that it would once again be the soulless Caesar's Palace car park which saw a championship decider, rather than the history and hysteria of Monza. On the other hand, not many of those dodging out of the way of irritated Formula 1 cars at the end would have cared that much as neither contender had any connection to Ferrari anyway...


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Rene Arnoux Renault
52
1h 22m 25.734s
6
2
Patrick Tambay Ferrari
52
+ 14.064s
3
3
Mario Andretti Ferrari
52
+ 48.452s
1
4
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth
52
+ 1m 27.845s
12
5
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth
51
+ 1 lap
11
6
Eddie Cheever Ligier-Matra
51
+ 1 lap
14
7
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth
51
+ 1 lap
23
8
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
50
+ 2 laps
7
9
Eliseo Salazar ATS-Cosworth
50
+ 2 laps
25
10
Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo
50
+ 2 laps
9
11
Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth
49
+ 3 laps
26
12
Mauro Baldi Arrows-Cosworth
49
+ 3 laps
24
NC
Roberto Guerrero Ensign-Cosworth
40
+ 12 laps/Not classified
18
R
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth
33
Throttle
17
R
Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo
32
Sidepod
8
R
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
28
Ignition
19
R
Alain Prost Renault
27
Fuel injection
5
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-Cosworth
21
Handling
10
R
Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Cosworth
10
Suspension
15
R
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
7
Clutch
2
R
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW
6
Clutch
4
R
Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra
5
Gearbox
21
R
Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart
2
Engine
22
R
Derek Daly Williams-Cosworth
0
Accident/Henton
13
R
Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart
0
Accident/Henton
16
R
Brian Henton Tyrrell-Cosworth
0
Accident/Daly
20

Fastest Lap: Rene Arnoux (Renault), 1m 33.619s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Keke Rosberg
42
2
Didier Pironi
39
3
John Watson
33
4
Alain Prost
31
5
Niki Lauda
30
6
Rene Arnoux
28
7
Patrick Tambay
25
8
Elio de Angelis
23
9
Riccardo Patrese
21
10
Nelson Piquet
20
11
Michele Alboreto
16
12
Eddie Cheever
11
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
Mario Andretti
4
20=
Jean-Pierre Jarier
3
20=
Marc Surer
3
22=
Manfred Winkelhock
2
22=
Eliseo Salazar
2
22=
Bruno Giacomelli
2
22=
Mauro Baldi
2
26=
Chico Serra
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Ferrari
74
2
McLaren
63
3
Renault
59
4
Williams
53
5
Brabham
41
6
Lotus
31
7=
Ligier
16
7=
Tyrrell
16
9
Alfa Romeo
7
10
Arrows
5
11
ATS
4
12
Osella
3
13
Fittipaldi
1