Grand Prix Classic

Round 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix
Jacarepagua, 11-13 March, 1983
Team-by-Team Review

Williams FW08C-Cosworth
1. Keke Rosberg (Fin)
2. Jacques Laffite (Fr)

As in 1982, Rosberg excels at Jacarepagua. Takes pole with blistering lap, 1.5s faster than any other non-turbo. Decides to run with a pitstop due to speed gain of soft tyres, then makes a great getaway in the race. However, is caught and passed by Piquet on lap 6. Holds off several advances by Patrese and is still in solid 2nd on lap 28, 12s behind the Brabham. Makes disastrous 76-second pitstop where car briefly catches fire and stalls, and rejoins in 9th one lap down after push start. Tears back up through the field, passing Laffite, Surer, Warwick, Prost, Tambay and finally Lauda to regain 2nd place, only to be disqualified after the race thanks to push start in the pits. Returning Laffite struggles with the car in practice, and only qualifies 18th. Starts steadily and grows in confidence as the race goes on, really coming alive in the closing stages to pass Prost, Surer and Tambay to finish 4th, and then 3rd after Rosberg disqualification. Furious Williams team launches appeal after losing 2nd place in the Brazilian Grand Prix for the second year running.

Tyrrell 011-Cosworth
3. Michele Alboreto (It)
4. Danny Sullivan (USA)

In heavily redesigned Benetton-sponsored 011, Alboreto qualifies satisfied 11th despite engine trouble in practice, with Sullivan comfortably qualifying 21st for Grand Prix debut. Alboreto hit by Baldi at the start, and runs 25th laps 1-8 before pitting with a broken oil cooler caused by the collision. Sullivan runs ahead of Mansell in sensible, reliable drive, finishing a respectable 10th, one lap down.

Brabham BT52-BMW
5. Nelson Piquet (Brz)
6. Riccardo Patrese (It)

In stylish new BT52, Piquet and Patrese start 4th and 7th, both planning on mid-race fuel stops - Gordon Murray believed running non-stop would be faster, but the car's fuel tank was too small. Third and fourth at the start, both make short work of Prost. Piquet passes Rosberg for the lead, lap 6, and isn't headed for the rest of the race, winning by a comfortable 28s after flawless lap 40 pit stop to take victory for new car on its' debut. Patrese less lucky - unable to get past Rosberg, and drops back with a broken exhaust reducing power, eventually retiring in the pits on lap 20.

McLaren MP4/1C-Cosworth
7. John Watson (GB)
8. Niki Lauda (Aut)

Both drivers complain that Michelin qualifiers don't suit the car, with Lauda starting 9th (2nd fastest non-turbo) and Watson 16th. Both drive exceptional races, however. Watson up to 11th by the end of the first lap, then passes rivals at an excellent rate to sit 2nd when Rosberg pits, in with a shout of challenging Piquet when the Brabham made its' stop. However, engine fails on lap 35. Lauda takes up the charge after moving from 12th to 6th in the first half of the race, passing Prost and Tambay to take over 2nd. Has no answer to charging Rosberg, and finishes 3rd, but promoted to 2nd after Rosberg's exclusion.

9. Manfred Winkelhock (Ger)

Very disappointing, if not entirely unexpected, first turbo outing for ATS. All-new D6 handles badly throughout practice, leaving Winkelhock only 25th on the grid. The race is little better, though he plugs away to finish 16th, four laps behind, after a long pitstop to fix a fuel feed problem and continued massive understeer.

Lotus 93T-Renault
11. Elio de Angelis (It)
Lotus 92-Cosworth
12. Nigel Mansell (GB)

For first race since the death of Colin Chapman, team arrives with three different cars - new Renault powered 93T for de Angelis, active suspension utilising 92 for Mansell and a spare 91 updated to 92 spec, but without active suspension. None of them work, both drivers complaining that the Pirelli tyres break up too easily and cause huge handling problems. Mansell starts dispirited 22nd, de Angelis 13th - but forced to abandon Renault car and start in spare after a fire on one of the formation laps. Neither goes much better in the race stuck down with the backmarkers, with Mansell finishing 12th, two laps down, and de Angelis 13th, three laps behind after a tyre stop to try and remedy bad handling. Then de Angelis disqualified for switching from a Lotus-Renault to a Lotus-Cosworth, a violation of the rules. A disastrous meeting, in short.

Renault RE30C-Renault
15. Alain Prost (Fr)
16. Eddie Cheever (USA)

With new car not yet ready, team updates existing design to flat-bottom spec. Both qualify well - Prost 2nd and fastest turbo, Cheever 8th for Renault debut. However, car wears tyres badly in the race. Prost holds 2nd for first lap, but then down to second and passed gradually by numerous Cosworth runners, especially in the last half of the race when he begins to suffer heavy oversteer. In the closing stages Laffite and Surer move past, relegating him to a lapped 7th place. Cheever also has a tough time, pitting from 10th on lap 21 with blistered tyres. Then retires from 12th on lap 42 when a turbo burns out. 1981-based chassis no longer up to the job, and new RE40 desperately needed.

RAM March 01-Cosworth
17. Eliseo Salazar (Chi)

New Dave Kelly-designed chassis seems to be no great step forward - new driver Salazar bangs wheels with Cheever in practice and only gets onto the grid because of de Cesaris' exclusion. Then runs ahead of only Winkelhock in the race, making two stops for fresh tyres and cutting up Rosberg badly when being lapped on his way to 15th, four laps adrift.

Alfa Romeo 183T-Alfa Romeo
22. Andrea de Cesaris (It)
23. Mauro Baldi (It)

Not the best start to Euro Racing's running of the team as de Cesaris is excluded for missing a weight check on Saturday. New signing Mauro Baldi starts a respectable 10th and, despite first-lap contact with Alboreto, advances to 6th by lap 16. Passed by Lauda lap 23, but doesn't see follow Warwick and is shoved off, damaging suspension. Gets going with marshals' assistance, but retires in the pits and is then pointlessly disqualified for receiving a push start.

Ligier JS21-Cosworth
25. Jean-Pierre Jarier (Fr)
26. Raul Boesel (Brz)

New team leader Jarier very concerned about small radiators' ability to cool the car adequately in Brazilian heat, but qualifies a respectable 12th (4th fastest non-turbo), with Boesel starting his Ligier debut from a respectable 17th. Jarier runs in tight battle behind Arnoux duelling with Lauda until pitting from 11th on lap 22 with severe handling problem. Fresh tyres fail to help, and a second stop confirms a wheel bearing has broken, ending his race. Boesel reaches 12th place before retiring in the pits on lap 26 with an electrical fault.

Ferrari 126C2-Ferrari
27. Patrick Tambay (Fr)
28. Rene Arnoux (Fr)

New C3 chassis suffers from excessive wheelspin all weekend. Tambay starts 3rd, with Arnoux 6th on Maranello debut. In heavy ill-handling cars both are easy prey for lighter Brabhams and nimbler DFV cars. Tambay perseveres to end up 5th, just doing enough to keep ahead of Marc Surer. Arnoux loses rear wheel balance weights further degrading handling, and after being hassled by the Brazilian all race long loses out to Serra in the closing stages, finishing a lapped 10th.

Arrows A6-Cosworth
29. Marc Surer (Swz)
30. Chico Serra (Brz)

Near-sponsorless untested cars arrive, without the reported Alan Jones - though Jackie Oliver continues to negotiate with the Australian. In the meantime Chico Serra is signed on a race-by-race deal, and qualifies 23rd. Surer, stricken by food poisoning, starts disappointed 20th. Both much better in the race - Surer soon moves up to tag onto the midfield battle led by Arnoux and Cheever. Past Warwick and into 6th on lap 41; passed by Rosberg but gets by Prost on lap 58, and just fails in determined attempt to take 5th from Tambay on final lap. Serra spends most of the second half of the race being held up by Arnoux's gripless Ferrari, but gets by eventually to finish 9th, one lap down. Team delighted with instant results of hurriedly reworked car.

Osella FA1D-Cosworth
31. Corrado Fabi (It)
32. Piercarlo Ghinzani (It)

Revitalised team arrives with revamped 1982 cars (still awaiting definitive Alfa V12-powered 1983 car) and a bevy of new sponsors. Reigning F2 champion Corrado Fabi qualifies 24th for Grand Prix debut; returning Piercarlo Ghinzani misses the grid by 0.8s. Fabi circulates within reach of the Lotus cars until DFV blows on lap 18. Still lots of work to be done, clearly.

Theodore N183-Cosworth
33. Robert Guerrero (Col)
34. Johnny Cecotto (Ven)

First race of new look team is very promising. Guerrero qualifies fine 14th, with Cecotto making his debut from 19th on the grid. Both show well in early stages of the race, running 14th/15th in group behind Cheever before Guerrero pits with brake problems. After long stop problem traced to sticking rear brake callipers, and Guerrero circulates to the end, sadly 10 laps down and not classified. Cecotto pits with the same problem from 9th on lap 42; problem fixed a lot faster and he continues to 14th, three laps down. Mix of Teddy Yip's finance and enthusiasm, Mo Nunn's experience and organisation and two fine drivers promises to be one of the surprise packages of 1983, despite teething problems.

Toleman TG183B-Hart
35. Derek Warwick (GB)
36. Bruno Giacomelli (It)

Hugely successful testing has Warwick aiming for the front row, but engine failures for both cars sees him 'only' 5th and new recruit Giacomelli 15th. Warwick then runs well early on before Baldi closes the door on him, affecting the handling and causing a lot of understeer. With wearing Pirellis, a misfiring Hart and upset balance is unable to fend off Surer and Laffite, finishing a disappointed 8th, one lap down. Giacomelli spins out of 17th, lap 17. Team pleased with competitive TG183B, but unhappy with lack of crucial results.