Grand Prix Classic




Round 11 - Austrian Grand Prix
Osterreichring, 12 - 14 August, 1983

Again taking place just a week after the German Grand Prix, the Austrian Grand Prix saw the title battle intensify. While Piquet and Tambay had failed to score, Prost had been limited to 4th, meaning that while he extended his lead neither of his closest rivals had cause to despair, while Arnoux's victory at Hockenheim moved him into contention as well.

The fast, majestic Osterreichring was another where Cosworth cars would do well to finish in the points. Indeed, they would most likely struggle to make it into the top half of the grid, with the likes of Lotus, Toleman, Alfa Romeo, ATS and Spirit now beginning to form a second division of turbocharged cars more likely to clean up any scraps left by the big three 'factory' teams - as long as they finished.


Entry Notes

As in Germany there were rumours of changes, not least when excitable local media sources announced Austrian F2 driver Jo Gartner would be driving a second ATS (he wouldn't), and that Niki Lauda's home race would see him given a McLaren-TAG turbo car (he wasn't, but apparently both drivers would have the cars at Zandvoort).

In the event, the only change was the arrival of the Tyrrell 012 designed by Maurice Philippe with a striking forward-swept rear wing - apparently the car had provision to mount a turbo engine as soon as Ken Tyrrell could find a manufacturer who he hadn't accused of cheating in the recent past, but for now it still had Cosworth power. Williams' two-year deal with Honda was also formally announced, with a new car expected to run at the European Grand Prix.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

While it had rained overnight and Saturday's session was cooler, both sessions were still competitive. Once again Ferrari were the pacesetters, with Tambay once more shading his team-mate to deliver the team's fifth successive pole, and fourth successive 1-2 on the grid.

Behind them was more of a surprise, though, with 3rd place being taken by Mansell's Lotus-Renault, running beautifully and ahead of Piquet, Prost and Patrese. In 7th was Bruno Giacomelli's Toleman, with Cheever and Baldi between the Italian and team-mate Warwick in 10th.

1982 winner de Angelis was only 12th in the second Lotus, having crashed his 94T and having to set a time in the hated 93T spare. Lauda was the fastest Cosworth runner, four and a half seconds off pole but ahead of Johansson, who had again qualified in the old testing hack. On the back row, for the first time in 1983 both Osellas qualified, at the expense of Boesel, Cecotto and Acheson.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

Fittingly for the gorgeous Osterreichring, race day was clear and sunny, with 150,000 spectators descending on the sweeping circuit. There was slight confusion at the end of the parade lap when Alain Prost nearly took the wrong grid-slot - the Frenchman realised his error in time to move to the correct one, but was left pointing at a slightly deranged angle. This year everyone got off the line safely, led by Tambay and Arnoux, and it was at the chicane that things got chaotic.

Firstly, Giacomelli had got off the line badly (not for the first time) and found de Angelis ahead of him. The problem was that the Lotus driver was pointing sideways, and Giacomelli was unable to avoid running into him - de Angelis was out on the spot, while the Toleman would stagger around for a lap before withdrawing with one of its' nose-mounted radiators smashed. In a separate incident Laffite was tagged at the chicane by Ghinzani. The Williams bounced into the air briefly and clobbered Surer, who in turn hit Sullivan - the latter two retiring on the spot. Watson also damaged his front wing somewhere in the fracas, and pitted for a replacement.

None of the real contenders were troubled, though, as soon the first seven began to break away in a high-speed snake - Tambay leading Arnoux, with Piquet, Prost, Patrese, Mansell and Cheever all in close attendance, with de Cesaris and Baldi gradually losing ground, and Winkelhock a short distance behind, followed by Johansson then leading Lauda and Alboreto.

Nothing really changed until the tenth lap, when Lauda got past the Spirit. Alboreto tried to follow but understeered into Johansson, sending the pair of them into the barriers. The Tyrrell was out then and there, ending the team's weekend, but Johansson inspected the car, managed to get it rolling down the hill, bump-started and limped around to the pits for repairs to the car. Over the next few laps the four title contenders began to pull away, with the next three unable to match their pace. Baldi dropped out with an engine failure, while Cheever and de Cesaris would soon pass Mansell, struggling on awful Pirelli race tyres once again. The leaders were now carving through the backmarkers, and the race would soon change complexion.

In 12th place and next to be lapped was Jean-Pierre Jarier, and typically of recent form he was difficult about it - very difficult. He had borne a mild grudge against Tambay when his compatriot got the full-time job of replacing Jean-Pierre Jabouille at Ligier, and seemed to particularly baulk Tambay by getting right in the way along the top straight and through the entry to the Bosch Kurve. Tambay then switched to the outside to power past the Ligier, only to find Jarier moving to the outside as well and Arnoux on the inside line, forcing Tambay to lift, allowing his team-mate past. Piquet got by as well, and a furious Tambay shook his fist when he finally got past Jarier, having dropped from first to third entirely through the latter's intervention.

Prost was next, but dived into the pits, while Tambay soon closed up to Arnoux and Piquet again, but with a few noticeable puffs of smoke coming from the back of his Ferrari. Arnoux pitted on lap 28 leaving his team-mate to catch and pass Piquet, only to pull in half a lap later, cruising with the oil pressure in his engine having dropped off, and Patrese disappeared almost simultaneously with engine trouble. Once the stops had shaken out, Piquet led from Arnoux (the Brabham having finished its' stop as the Ferrari passed the pits, with Piquet fending the Ferrari off on his cold tyres) and Prost, the three still fairly close on the track.

Cheever and Patrese weren't close enough to challenge, while Mansell was finding his Lotus a real handful, with even the new tyres taken on at his pitstop going off very quickly. The remaining Alfa of de Cesaris disappeared with fuel starvation, and the Cosworth cars were all at least a lap down - Lauda continuing to lead, with Rosberg struggling for grip and under attack from Jarier, and the rest nowhere.

All was not well for Piquet, though, as the edge had gone off his BMW engine costing him top-end power, and Arnoux and Prost were soon on the Brabham, and on lap 37 both slipped by the helpless Brazilian at the chicane. Prost's move was especially gritty, and rather than thinking about six points and the championship he kept after his bitter rival's Ferrari with atypical aggression. It didn't mean he left his brain behind, however, and he kept on the rear wing of Arnoux until lap 48, picking the time to sweep by into the lead. Arnoux, with fourth gear gone, had no choice but to watch him go.

Piquet just about held off a charging Cheever to take third by a matter of a few lengths, while a demoralised Mansell came home a lapped 5th having had hopes of victory dashed by his Pirellis. Lauda's hard drive at the head of the DFV runners was rewarded with a single point, ahead of Jarier, Rosberg and Watson. Further down there were some other encouraging results too - that both Osellas finished (Fabi in 10th, Ghinzani in 11th) was a popular result as the little Italian team are well-regarded and their drivers were well-mannered on the many occasions they were lapped, while despite his long delay Johansson finished 12th in the Spirit-Honda. It had been a good race on the whole, and Prost's majestic win seemed to give him one hand on the championship trophy.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Alain Prost Renault
53
1h 24m 32.745s
5
2
Rene Arnoux Ferrari
53
+ 7.785s
2
3
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
53
+ 27.659s
4
4
Eddie Cheever Renault
53
+ 28.295s
8
5
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault
52
+ 1 lap
3
6
Niki Lauda McLaren-Cosworth
51
+ 2 laps
14
7
Jean-Pierre Jarier Ligier-Cosworth
51
+ 2 laps
20
8
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
51
+ 2 laps
15
9
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth
51
+ 2 laps
17
10
Corrado Fabi Osella-Alfa Romeo
50
+ 3 laps
26
11
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
49
+ 4 laps
25
12
Stefan Johansson Spirit-Honda
48
+ 5 laps
16
13
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-Cosworth
48
+ 5 laps
19
R
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW
33
Overheating
13
R
Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo
31
Out of fuel
11
R
Patrick Tambay Ferrari
29
Oil union
1
R
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW
28
Overheating
6
R
Roberto Guerrero Theodore-Cosworth
25
Gearbox
21
R
Jacques Laffite Williams-Cosworth
21
Handling
24
R
Mauro Baldi Alfa Romeo
13
Engine
9
R
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth
8
Accident/Johansson
18
R
Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart
2
Turbo
10
R
Bruno Giacomelli Toleman-Hart
1
Accident damage
7
R
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
0
Accident/Giacomelli
23
R
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
0
Accident/Sullivan
22
R
Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Cosworth
0
Accident/Surer
12

Fastest Lap: Alain Prost (Renault), 1:33.961s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
51
2
Nelson Piquet
37
3
Rene Arnoux
34
4
Patrick Tambay
31
5
Keke Rosberg
25
6
John Watson
18
7
Eddie Cheever
17
8
Niki Lauda
12
9
Jacques Laffite
11
10
Michele Alboreto
9
11=
Andrea de Cesaris
6
11=
Nigel Mansell
6
13=
Marc Surer
4
13=
Riccardo Patrese
4
15
Danny Sullivan
2
16=
Johnny Cecotto
1
16=
Mauro Baldi
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Renault
68
2
Ferrari
65
3
Brabham
41
4
Williams
36
5
McLaren
30
6
Tyrrell
11
7
Alfa Romeo
7
8
Lotus
6
9
Arrows
4
10
Theodore
1