Grand Prix Classic

Round 3 - French Grand Prix
Paul Ricard, 15-17 April, 1983
Team-by-Team Review

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

Team not expecting to be able to compete with the turbos, and Rosberg starts 16th, with Laffite 19th. Decide to make mid-race fuel so light cars can make up places Both make great starts, Rosberg to 9th and Laffite to 11th. Rosberg then passes Warwick, de Angelis and Arnoux to run 5th before his tyre stop, with Laffite 6th. The former has a slow stop, the latter a fast one (retaining the same tyres) so they swap positions, but Rosberg retakes 5th while Laffite's tyres warm up. Finish lapped 5th & 6th, satisfied to have scored on a turbo track.

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

Another team not expecting any miracles on Ricard straights. Unwell Alboreto qualifies 15th as third fastest Cosworth and runs 12th/13th in early stages. Elevated to 7th by pit-stops and others' problems, but unable to hold off Arnoux and finishes 8th, one lap down. Sullivan starts disappointed 24th, and retires in the pits with a broken clutch on lap 22, when 16th.

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

Despite a lot of mileage at the circuit in recent tyre tests, team have to resort to ballast to get any heat into front tyres. Patrese qualifies 3rd, Piquet 6th. Run 2nd/4th early on, before Patrese loses out to Cheever and Piquet. The Brazilian then passes Cheever, but is unable to challenge Prost, despite quick, efficient fuel and tyres stop, and finishes 2nd. Patrese out of 4th, lap 20, with overheating engine.

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

Michelin qualifiers much improved, and pair are fastest DFVs in practice, but only 12th and 14th overall on the grid. Watson runs into spinning Baldi at the start and pits for new nosecone. Doesn't get much further before throttle linkage breaks. Lauda battles away in midfield with de Angelis, Winkelhock and Alboreto but is only up to 7th shortly before he pulls off when a wheel bearing fails after 29 laps.

9. Manfred Winkelhock (Ger)

Much work on the car by Gustav Brunner - including new McLaren-inspired rear end aerodynamics - and smooth Paul Ricard surface solves many of the car's problems, and Winkelhock qualifies 10th. Then runs in midfield battle for first half of the race despite blistered tyre, reaching 9th before running over a kerb, damaging an exhaust and losing two places. Keeps going at a similar pace only to collide with Baldi when lapping the Italian, lap 30. Loses a lap undertaking repairs, and shortly after resuming has the suspension fail altogether, ending a promising showing.

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

Heavy active suspension system put on ice, and Mansell qualifies 18th, with de Angelis 5th in turbo car. Once again everything falls apart on race day - firstly, Mansell's foot is run over, breaking the toes on his left foot. Elects to start anyway, and holds 15th before retiring in pain. No joy for de Angelis either, who slides back on inadequate race rubber despite his best efforts and retires from 10th when the engine cuts out on lap 21.

Renault RE40-Renault
15. Alain Prost (Fr)
16. Eddie Cheever (USA)

Both drivers have new, much-tested RE40 cars. Prost takes pole by nearly two and a half seconds from Cheever, then leads comfortably from the start. Briefly loses the lead after slow pitstop, but resumes it when Piquet stops and pulls away even more in the later stages to secure his 6th Grand Prix victory, as per usual without any outward signs of great effort. Cheever 3rd laps 1-2, 2nd laps 3-18 then passed by Piquet. Makes excellent pitstop and stays in safe third until the flag for first Renault points.

RAM March 01-Cosworth
17. Eliseo Salazar (Chi)
18. Jean-Louis Schlesser (Fr)

Having driven at the Race of Champions (and previously tested for Williams), Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser (nephew of late Honda driver Jo) again rents the second car for his home race, but neither the 35-year old nor Eliseo Salazar are able to qualify their RAM March cars. Piquet is given dispensation to try the car in a free practice session and gives good feedback, receiving an old-fashioned look from Salazar as a result.

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

After making progress in Michelin tyre tests, de Cesaris is 2nd fastest on Friday, but has time scrubbed when checks find his onboard fire extinguisher to be empty. Starts 7th with Saturday time, just ahead of Baldi. Team were rumoured to be trying pitstops for the first time, but decide against it. Neither driver makes a good start, and Baldi spins and is hit from behind by Watson. Loses a lap getting back to the pits with a puncture, and is running 16th when he cuts across Winkelhock and is punted into the barriers and retirement after 28 laps. After dropping down to 14th de Cesaris makes good progress to 8th by lap 21, is forced to pit with a broken gear lever linkage. Long repairs drop him down to last, but he perseveres to finish 12th, four laps down.

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

Only 20th (Jarier) and 25th (Boesel) for crucial home race. Jarier makes a good start to run 16th, then keeps with Alboreto and Lauda in midfield battle. Keeps going without a pit stop to finish lapped 9th. Boesel runs near the tail of the field until his engine blows when 13th out of 14 runners on lap 48.

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

Big weight loss programme all for nothing as team has to run a lot of wing to generate downforce and heat tyres. Four engine failures in practice sessions see Arnoux 4th on the grid and Tambay 11th. The latter makes a good start to 6th, passes Arnoux on the second lap and then has lonely race, moving up a place when Patrese retires and making a faultless tyres/fuel stop on lap 29 on his way to full-distance 4th. Arnoux passed by Tambay and both Williams cars, and drops to 11th at his stop. Passes Jarier and Alboreto with ease, but can do no better than a lapped 7th by the end.

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

Lack of funds to pay salary sees Alan Jones step down (but affirming his plans to continue with the team if/when funds are found), with Serra again replacing him. After good start to the season, team back in more natural order on fast circuit, with Surer 21st and Serra 26th in qualifying, the latter surviving a big crash on Friday. Surer plugs away in midfield chasing after Jarier for the whole race on the way to a lapped 10th place. Serra up five places on the first lap but can't keep up the progress, and retires from 13th on lap 28 when the engine fails.

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

Piercarlo Ghinzani (having taken pole for Lancia at the Monza 1000kms the previous weekend) again fails to qualify. Fabi does so in a respectable 23rd, and is running 12th when his engine fails on lap 37.

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

Like Arrows, team has to deal with being in lower half of the field after early season heroics. Nevertheless, Cecotto starts a respectable 16th, with Guerrero 22nd. Run tandem in 17th/18th early on, but Cecotto forced to pit on lap 19 to replace flat-spotted tyres. Guerrero out of 12th on lap 24 with engine failure, but Cecotto carries on to finish 11th, two laps down.

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

Once more the Tolemans impress in practice (Warwick 9th, Giacomelli 13th) only to falter in the race with poor Pirelli rubber. After briefly being 8th, Warwick slips back and is in a fading 12th when engine blows on lap 15. Giacomelli has an unhappy race closer to the tail-enders, which ends when the transmission fails four laps from the end when 11th.