Grand Prix Classic




Round 10 - German Grand Prix
Hockenheim, 5 - 7 August, 1983

The championship battle was as intense as ever when the teams arrived in Germany. Prost, Tambay and Piquet were all equipped with powerful, reliable turbos and cars of generally similar characteristics, and only the tyre situation (Prost and Piquet using Michelins, Tambay using Goodyears) was a wild card - unlike 1982, it was unlikely the remainder of the season would produce any radical swings in form.

The Hockenheim circuit was another where anyone without a turbo was unlikely to be able to keep up with those who did, and for the likes of Williams and McLaren was very much an obligation to be filled while they awaited their turbocharged cars.


Entry Notes

There had been intermittent rumours that ATS would be running a second car, either signing Johnny Cecotto or one of numerous German drivers (such as Maurer F2 driver Stefan Bellof), but in the end they only entered Manfred Winkelhock, and the entry was unchanged.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

Patrick Tambay ended Rene Arnoux' run of pole positions, though his compatriot and team-mate would be alongside him on the grid. Behind them in third was de Cesaris in the Alfa Romeo, 1.5s slower and just ahead of Piquet and the Renaults of Prost and Cheever. All times were set on Friday, as Saturday was wet once again.

Seventh was Baldi, confirming Alfa Romeo's progress, with Patrese and the Tolemans of Warwick and Giacomelli filling out the top 10. Lotus suffered numerous technical problems after their impressive showing at Silverstone, with de Angelis down in 11th and Mansell only 17th in the old 93T, while Johansson was similarly troubled and had the Spirit 13th. Between the Swede and de Angelis was the fastest Cosworth runner, Rosberg, a staggering six seconds off pole position.

Down at the back to no great surprise to see Acheson and one of the Osellas (Fabi again, yet to start in the V12 car) fail to qualify, but more surprising was the absence of Winkelhock. The German had suffered technical problems throughout Friday's session, while Saturday's rain had left him no chance of making the grid - a disaster for driver and team at their home race.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

The weather was better by Sunday - still grey and gloomy, but dry at least. One of those watching the race was Didier Pironi, still on crutches after his accident at Hockenheim a year previously, but hoping to test a Ferrari before the end of the year. His ersatz team-mates led away from the start, followed by Piquet, de Cesaris, Prost and Cheever. Prost was past the Alfa before the end of the second lap, and Cheever would follow after something of a scuffle - de Cesaris (having incurred a $10,000 fine for hitting two security men with his road car on the way into the circuit, with a further $15,000 bail so he could race) seemed to put the Renault over on the grass, and Cheever responded by banging into the Italian when he did get past.

Tambay, wary of the tyre trouble suffered at Silverstone, was content to run at the pace of those behind the Ferraris, but Arnoux had other ideas and moved past and away on lap 3. Tambay would continue to run at a speed he was happy with, keeping handily ahead of Piquet, only for all his caution to be for nothing when the power dropped away on lap 11 and he pulled into the pits to see if anything could be done. The defective engine had been installed before the start, after a failure in the morning warm-up.

This left Arnoux with a sizeable lead over Piquet, who himself had an adequate cushion over Prost, Cheever, Patrese and de Cesaris. Next up were Warwick, Baldi and Johansson, but sadly the Spirit would soon disappear with a dropped valve. Tambay only did one more lap after his stop before calling it a day, while both the Lotus cars had exited with engine trouble and the Tolemans would disappear before mid-distance, again with engine problems. Rosberg, Lauda, Laffite and Watson were having a good little scrap for top Cosworth runner, but seeing as the battle was over 10th place it was hard to get too excited.

Arnoux's aggression seemed to have been well-placed, as in the cooler weather the Goodyears lasted well. He stopped on lap 24 for fuel and tyres, dropping to third, but was past Cheever immediately as the Renault stopped on lap 25, and Piquet on lap 31 when the Brazilian made his own stop. Prost was struggling with a dodgy gearbox - 1st gear had disappeared at the start, and while it wasn't slowing him down too much out on the circuit it meant he made a poor getaway after his stop, and more crucially the thing was jumping out of top gear all around the lap, greatly upsetting his rhythm. Things got worse when the gear broke altogether, reducing him to 4th gear on the straights.

Brabham had tried a new variation on the fuel stop strategy. Reasoning that their crack crew were capable of changing wheels in around 10 seconds and the limiting factor was the time it took the petrol to go in, Gordon Murray opted to have the small Brabham tanks as full as possible, rather than carefully measured for around half a race, so they could just be topped up for the last third or so of the race. While the stops were good, the tactic was not a clear success - Arnoux had such an overall lead over Piquet it seemed to make little difference despite Piquet staying out for more laps, while Patrese resumed in the 5th place he'd held before the stops started, only to be almost immediately passed by de Cesaris, as the Alfa had warm tyres and the Brabham didn't.

The pair of them passed the ailing Prost soon after, while Arnoux was confident enough to ease off in the lead and let Piquet catch up a bit while preserving his own tyres. On lap 39 Cheever disappeared from a fine 3rd with a defective throttle, while three laps later the back end of Piquet's Brabham caught fire as a split fuel line leaked on the engine and the Brazilian pulled off, exiting hurriedly as a marshal gamely tried to tame the blaze with what seemed to be an empty fire extinguisher.

This elevated de Cesaris to a 2nd place which was a little lucky, but a healthy reward for a generally competitive showing and maybe something to balance his early-season misfortune, and the same could be said for Patrese - also finally scoring some points, despite fading boost in the later stages. Arnoux was well over a minute clear of the pair, who also had 30 seconds between them, so everyone just reeled off the last few laps in a sensible fashion, with Prost even staying fourth and unlapped after another determined damage-limitation race.

From 5th back were the lapped Cosworth cars. Lauda initially seemed to be the winner of the unofficial second class, but ruined a decent drive by overshooting his box at his fuel stop, and reversing back into it - a serious offence, which was successfully protested by Williams. This left Watson to take the place, with Laffite 6th (having made a better tyre choice than Rosberg, who was well back in 10th thanks to a gearbox malady). Surer, Jarier, Boutsen, Cecotto and Sullivan all finished, each having driven their hearts out for little reward with obsolete Cosworth engines. However, the real interest was in the championship table - with Tambay and Piquet retiring, and Prost only scoring three points, Arnoux seemed set to join the battle if his recent improved form continued.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Rene Arnoux Ferrari
45
1h 27m 10.319s
2
2
Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo
45
+ 1m 10.652s
3
3
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW
45
+ 1m 43.093s
8
4
Alain Prost Renault
45
+ 2m 01.430s
5
DQ
Niki Lauda McLaren-Cosworth
44
+ 1 lap/Reversed in pits
18
5
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth
44
+ 1 lap
23
6
Jacques Laffite Williams-Cosworth
44
+ 1 lap
15
7
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
44
+ 1 lap
20
8
Jean-Pierre Jarier Ligier-Cosworth
44
+ 1 lap
19
9
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-Cosworth
44
+ 1 lap
14
10
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
44
+ 1 lap
12
11
Johnny Cecotto Theodore-Cosworth
44
+ 1 lap
22
12
Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Cosworth
43
+ 2 laps
21
13
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
42
+ 3 laps/Petrol leak
4
R
Eddie Cheever Renault
38
Fuel injection
6
R
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
34
Engine
26
R
Raul Boesel Ligier-Cosworth
27
Engine
25
R
Mauro Baldi Alfa Romeo
24
Engine
7
R
Bruno Giacomelli Toleman-Hart
19
Turbo
10
R
Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart
17
Engine
9
R
Stefan Johansson Spirit-Honda
11
Engine
13
R
Patrick Tambay Ferrari
11
Engine
1
R
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
10
Overheating
11
R
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth
5
Fuel pump
16
R
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault
1
Engine
17
R
Roberto Guerrero Theodore-Cosworth
0
Engine
24

Fastest Lap: Rene Arnoux (Ferrari), 1:53.938s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
41
2
Nelson Piquet
33
3
Patrick Tambay
31
4
Rene Arnoux
28
5
Keke Rosberg
25
6
John Watson
18
7
Eddie Cheever
14
8=
Niki Lauda
11
8=
Jacques Laffite
11
10
Michele Alboreto
9
11
Andrea de Cesaris
6
12=
Marc Surer
4
12=
Nigel Mansell
4
12=
Riccardo Patrese
4
15
Danny Sullivan
2
16=
Johnny Cecotto
1
16=
Mauro Baldi
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Ferrari
59
2
Renault
56
3
Brabham
37
4
Williams
36
5
McLaren
29
6
Tyrrell
11
7
Alfa Romeo
7
8=
Arrows
4
8=
Lotus
4
10
Theodore
1