Grand Prix Classic




Round 12 - Dutch Grand Prix
Zandvoort, 26 - 28 August, 1983

As the drivers headed to Zandvoort - now returned to its' usual late summer slot after being dropped and then reinstated in place of Jarama in 1982 - it seemed that the championship battle had rapidly turned from a four-corner battle to a one man race. Whereas Prost had been winning when the Renault was on form and scoring consistently when it wasn't, Piquet and Tambay had both suffered mechanical problems, while defeat in Austria seemed to have checked the momentum of Arnoux.

While Prost wasn't home and dry, he had points in the bank - however, Piquet had given BMW their first Grand Prix victory at Zandvoort in 1982, and was looking to add another in 1983.


Entry Notes

The big news was the arrival of McLaren's Porsche V6 turbo for the first time. Officially named the TAG in deference to the Saudi Arabian company who funded its' manufacture, the engine was present in the nominally new McLaren MP4/1E - basically an MP4/1C adapted to take the new motor. One was on hand for Niki Lauda, and all concerned were aiming for reliability rather than outright speed.

Fellow turbo pioneers Spirit repainted Johansson's car in Honda's official red, white and blue livery, and announced they would have their first purpose-built F1 car (rather than adapted F2 design) at the Italian Grand Prix.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

As in Austria, Lotus fully joined the battle for the front row of the grid in Holland. Elio de Angelis had been fastest on Friday, but on Saturday failed to set a time after losing pressure on his first set of tyres, and apparently being blocked by Sullivan on his second (though Sullivan didn't know much about it). Instead he was 3rd, behind Piquet (finally breaking Ferrari's string of pole positions) and Tambay, with Prost 4th and team-mate Mansell 5th, ahead of Patrese.

Next was Warwick - with a change to Holsett turbochargers greatly improving the Toleman's reliability - then de Cesaris (who brake-tested Patrese after being allegedly blocked, and further remonstrated with the Brabham driver in the pits afterwards), Winkelhock and Arnoux. The latter had suffered a string of mechanical problems throughout practice. Cheever only had the second Renault in 11th, while Johansson was in 16th in the Spirit, and Lauda a disappointing 19th in the McLaren-TAG, plagued by poor throttle response.

Surer impressed in the Arrows, taking the fastest three litre time with 15th on the grid. Down at the back, Fabi made the cut again, but team-mate Ghinzani didn't, and would sit out the race along with Cecotto and Acheson.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

The scheduling had worked out for Zandvoort, and Sunday saw 110,000 spectators, despite the overcast weather. The race was a little chaotic before the grid had even assembled, as Manfred Winkelhock had been forced to switch to the spare ATS at the last minute, but instead of starting from the pitlane he instead headed out on the parade lap, weaving past other cars and taking up his 9th place on the grid. When the race did get underway, Tambay didn't, slipping his clutch and rolling forwards slowly, most of the field swamping him. Piquet took full advantage and had a few lengths lead before the first corner, followed by Cheever - who had made a barnstorming start from 12th on the grid - Prost, Patrese, de Cesaris and de Angelis. Tambay was down in 21st, his title hopes in tatters.

After four laps Prost crisply outbraked Cheever at the first corner, and set off after Piquet. Patrese would soon get by Cheever at the same place, while de Cesaris had already disappeared with smoke coming from his Alfa Romeo. The Lotus cars once again were going backwards on race tyres, and de Angelis would drop out of 7th when electrical trouble caused his engine to cut out. Arnoux was now moving up nicely, passing both Cheever and Patrese, but was unable to catch the leading pair.

Piquet was struggling a little with worn rear tyres, and Prost soon moved up to the back of him, but the Brabham still had enough to keep just ahead of the Renault, with Prost not quite having enough of an advantage to make a move. Arnoux seemed to have reached the limit of his speed and wasn't gaining on the front duo, while Warwick was in 6th, but being caught by Mansell. The Lotus driver had dropped to 10th but was pushing now, only to get his braking for the first corner completely wrong at the start of lap 27 when he got inside the Toleman. He passed Warwick but kept on going into the sand trap, and after briefly trying to floor the accelerator in order to escape was forced to retire.

Lauda had exited by now from 12th in the McLaren-TAG with brake trouble, but his team-mate Watson was putting in a good show with the DFY car, having passed Rosberg, Laffite, Alboreto, Baldi and Johansson to take over 7th when Mansell span out. This became 6th when Warwick made his scheduled stop. Further up Cheever repassed Patrese before both of them pitted, but the American's race was soon over. With his engine cutting out as soon as he resumed, Cheever tried to pit, but the team were awaiting Prost and send him on his way, and he didn't finish the next lap before pulling up on the grass.

Renault needn't have bothered. Prost was getting visibly frustrated behind Piquet, and both had their pitstops coming up soon. They were due in on the same lap, but the Renault box was closer to the pitlane exit than the Brabham one - Prost would therefore be following Piquet into the pits, and would lose time as the Brazilian pulled in to stop.

Prost resolved to pass his rival before the stop, but got it all wrong - on lap 42, he made the same mistake as Mansell, getting on the inside and braking too late, rocketing down the inside of Piquet and totally losing the rear end. Piquet tried to give him space, but Prost was going too fast and slammed into Piquet's right-hand side. The Brabham was pushed into the tyre barrier and out of the race. Prost limped around for a couple of corners, but he had damaged his front wing, and understeered into a barrier.

This left Arnoux a rather surprised leader, 46 seconds clear of Patrese and very secure. Behind him was Tambay, who had driven a smooth, clinical race through the field, and Watson, who was running beautifully in the Cosworth-engined McLaren and fending off Warwick nicely. The only other real battle left was that between Patrese and a flying Tambay, but the Italian seemed to have things well in hand, resisting the pressure coolly as Tambay tried every trick he knew.

However, it was all to be for nothing - five laps from the end the BMW's turbo broke, and Patrese was reduced to crawling around. Tambay passed him, then Watson and Warwick did on the same lap, then Baldi went by, then Alboreto, then Surer, and then Johansson. Patrese ended up 9th, utterly distraught as another good result was snatched away, and with his tiny chance of staying with Brabham in 1984 all but gone.

However, there were some happy drivers at Zandvoort. Both of Ferrari's drivers had looked out of title contention by the end of the first lap, so a 1-2 was much appreciated and brought them back into the reckoning with the team's home race next on the calendar. Suddenly Prost's championship lead didn't seem so secure.

Watson, having been all but ignored by his team in favour of Lauda all weekend, came through with a typically gritty drive to get on the podium for the first time since Long Beach. Toleman reacted to Warwick's 4th place - the ever first points for driver or team - as if they'd won the world championship, and everyone was pleased for them. Baldi's 5th place gave him a fillip after a difficult mid-season, while 6th place for Alboreto gave Tyrrell their first score since his win in Detroit, and Johansson was happy to finish again, with 7th for Spirit after passing Surer on the last lap.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Rene Arnoux Ferrari
72
1h 38m 41.950s
10
2
Patrick Tambay Ferrari
72
+ 20.849s
2
3
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth
72
+ 43.741s
15
4
Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart
72
+ 1m 16.849s
7
5
Mauro Baldi Alfa Romeo
72
+ 1m 24.292s
12
6
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth
71
+ 1 lap
18
7
Stefan Johansson Spirit-Honda
70
+ 2 laps
16
8
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
70
+ 2 laps
14
9
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW
70
+ 2 laps
6
10
Raul Boesel Ligier-Cosworth
70
+ 2 laps
24
11
Corrado Fabi Osella-Alfa Romeo
68
+ 4 laps/engine
25
12
Roberto Guerrero Theodore-Cosworth
68
+ 4 laps
20
13
Bruno Giacomelli Toleman-Hart
68
+ 4 laps
13
14
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-Cosworth
66
+ 6 laps/engine
21
R
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
53
Misfire
23
DQ
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW
49
Violation of starting procedure
9
R
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
41
Accident/Prost
1
R
Alain Prost Renault
41
Accident damage
4
R
Eddie Cheever Renault
39
Ignition
11
R
Jacques Laffite Williams-Cosworth
37
Handling
17
R
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault
26
Spin
5
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
25
Brakes
19
R
Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Cosworth
20
Engine
26
R
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
12
Engine
3
R
Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo
5
Turbo
8
R
Jean-Pierre Jarier Ligier-Cosworth
3
Accident damage
22

Fastest Lap: Rene Arnoux (Ferrari), 1:19.863s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
51
2
Rene Arnoux
43
3
Nelson Piquet
37
4
Patrick Tambay
37
5
Keke Rosberg
25
6
John Watson
22
7
Eddie Cheever
17
8
Niki Lauda
12
9
Jacques Laffite
11
10
Michele Alboreto
10
11=
Andrea de Cesaris
6
11=
Nigel Mansell
6
13=
Marc Surer
4
13=
Riccardo Patrese
4
15=
Derek Warwick
3
15=
Mauro Baldi
3
17
Danny Sullivan
2
18
Johnny Cecotto
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Ferrari
80
2
Renault
68
3
Brabham
41
4
Williams
36
5
McLaren
34
6
Tyrrell
12
7
Alfa Romeo
9
8
Lotus
6
9
Arrows
4
10
Toleman
3
11
Theodore
1