Grand Prix Classic

Round 15 - South African Grand Prix
Kyalami, 13 - 15 October, 1983
Team-by-Team Review

Williams FW09-Honda
1. Keke Rosberg (Fin)
2. Jacques Laffite (Fr)

New FW09 with Honda power runs with surprisingly few problems over debut weekend, allowing Rosberg to qualify 6th and Laffite (who Williams reaffirm will be driving for them in 1984, contrary to press rumours) 10th. Laffite spins out on the second lap after territorial debate with Cheever. Rosberg, despite ongoing liver complaint and engine change after failure in the warm-up, overcomes overheating (caused by rubbish in air intakes) to finish lapped 5th to score points on the Williams-Honda's debut - and his first points since Canadian Grand Prix. Roll on 1984.

Tyrrell 012-Cosworth
3. Michele Alboreto (It)
4. Danny Sullivan (USA)

Alboreto qualifies 18th (fastest Cosworth runner, but over 2s slower than 17th placed Baldi) for his last Tyrrell race before joining Ferrari in 1984. Sullivan starts 19th. Pair race in tandem after Sullivan makes a poor start (losing four places, but regaining them by lap 10) until Alboreto's engine fails when 8th, lap 61. Sullivan takes over and makes a late fuel top-up stop on lap 75, and finishes 7th, two laps down. Team still has no turbo deal for 1984.

Brabham BT52B-BMW
5. Nelson Piquet (Brz)
6. Riccardo Patrese (It)

Team in confident form all weekend, Piquet qualifying 2nd and Patrese 3rd with improved fuel. Both pass Tambay at the start, and Piquet builds massive lead while Patrese fends off de Cesaris, Prost and Lauda. Both retain places at efficient pitstops, before Piquet backs off after Prost retires. Patrese takes lead on lap 60 and holds it to the end for second Grand Prix victory, though future is still very much in the balance. Piquet passed by Lauda, but back up to 2nd when the McLaren retires. Lets de Cesaris by and finishes 3rd to secure second World Championship for overjoyed team.

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

Lauda qualifies 12th, with Watson 15th - but Lauda is fastest in warm-up. Watson stalls on formation grid, but catches the field and is up to 12th before being disqualified for not starting from the pitlane after completing 18 laps in what seems likely to be his final race for the team. Lauda has best race of the season, however - passes de Angelis, Arnoux, Rosberg, Tambay, de Cesaris and Prost to run 3rd laps 19-33. Unable to pass Patrese and pits - long stop due to jammed wheel nut, but is still in 3rd after others stop. Begins catching Patrese again, but gets stuck behind cruising Piquet for eight laps. Finally gets by lap 69 only for engine to shut down three laps later. Despite disappointment of retirement, hugely promising TAG Porsche gives encouragement for 1984.

9. Manfred Winkelhock (Ger)

Winkelhock desperate to score points, and qualifies in fine 8th place. However, only lasts one lap before a turbo breaks on the BMW engine, ending a promising but ultimately fruitless 1983 season for team and driver.

Lotus 94T-Renault
11. Elio de Angelis (It)
12. Nigel Mansell (GB)

Mansell, still unconfirmed for 1984, starts 7th, with de Angelis 11th. Contrasting starts - de Angelis up to 8th, Mansell down to 14th. After only a couple of laps de Angelis' engine develops a misfire; three pitstops fail to race problem and he retires after 20 laps. Mansell troubled by gear linkage problem, and makes lap 13 stop to fix problem, dropping to 20th. Stops for fuel and tyres on lap 28, and again for more tyres on lap 57. Soldiers on to finish, but being 9 laps behind is not classified.

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

Prost qualifies 5th, with Cheever 14th after numerous problems as team finds special qualifying engines are no more powerful than race version at Kyalami's altitude. With cars going 5mph slower than the Brabhams neither is a significant factor on race day. Prost, with throttle lag, struggles to pass de Cesaris for 3rd early on, and is passed by Lauda shortly after anyway. Into the pits on lap 36 to retire with a broken turbo, his title hopes over. Cheever up to 8th by lap 10, but passed by Warwick. Pits from 6th on lap 38, and resumes 8th. Battles with Rosberg in closing stages but loses out and has to settle for a single point for 6th. Huge disappointment for all concerned.

RAM March 01-Cosworth
17. Kenny Acheson (GB)

Reduced field sees Acheson guaranteed a start, and he promptly qualifies 24th, despite transmission problems causing him to miss Friday afternoon's session. Then drives slow but sensible race to finish 12th, six laps down.

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

Good end to the season - de Cesaris starts 9th, Baldi 17th. Great start sees de Cesaris up to 4th by the end of the first lap, and past Tambay to run 3rd laps 2-8. Baldi zaps up to 10th by lap 5, only for engine to fail. After being passed by Prost and Lauda, de Cesaris pits from 5th on lap 42. Resumes 4th and fends off challenge from Tambay. Advances to 3rd when Lauda retires, and is let past by Piquet two laps from the end to finish excellent 2nd.

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

Jarier, now looking far from certain to be driving for the team in 1984, starts 21st with Boesel, even less likely to be retained, in 23rd. Similarly underwhelming in the race - Boesel, troubled by a misfire, finishes 11 laps behind and isn't classified. Jarier circulates to 10th, four laps down. Team fails to score a single point in a season for the first time in its' history, and are already working on Renault-engined JS23 for 1984 - as well as reportedly talking to Alan Jones about driving it.

Ferrari 126C3-Ferrari
27. Patrick Tambay (Fr)
28. Rene Arnoux (Fr)

Tambay, who finds out he will not be retained via the press in the week ahead of the race, takes pole in final Ferrari drive. Arnoux 4th. Both struggle on uncompetitive Goodyear race tyres, though. Tambay down to 5th by lap 3, Arnoux in 7th. Arnoux out of 8th on lap 10 when the engine fails. Tambay runs 6th until his pitstop, and resumes in same position. Attacks de Cesaris for 4th, but drops back with overheating engine. Tries to finish, but unit expires lap 57. Team wins second successive Constructors' Cup despite lack of points in South Africa.

Arrows A6-Cosworth
29. Marc Surer (Swz)
30. Thierry Boutsen (Bel)

Like all Cosworth teams, Arrows suffer from a lack of power at Kyalami, with Boutsen qualifying 20th and Surer 22nd. Both then drive usual sensible, competent races despite lack of straight-line speed to finish 8th (Surer, 2 laps down) and 9th (Boutsen, 3 laps behind). Jackie Oliver hopes to retain both drivers again for 1984, hopefully with BMW turbo engines.

Osella FA1E-Alfa Romeo
31. Corrado Fabi (It)
32. Piercarlo Ghinzani (It)

Heavy atmospheric V12 penalises team twice over at Kyalami. Firstly, heavy unit makes Osellas slowest cars in a straight line. Secondly, lack of spares for the motors lead to limited running. Fabi 25th and Ghinzani 26th fastest, both outside 110% of pole. Allowed to start on appeal, but after making up four places on lap 1 Ghinzani's engine expires on lap 2. Fabi tussles with Acheson before retiring from 16th on lap 29, again with an engine failure.

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

Warwick starts 13th, with Giacomelli 16th. Warwick progresses to 8th by lap 16, and after lap 32 stop runs at a decent pace, moving up to 4th thanks to retirement for his (and team's) fourth successive points haul to finish off a fine season for both. Giacomelli up to 10th by lap 14. Lap 45 pitstop drops him to 14th. Repasses Boutsen, only to retire on lap 57 when engine fails spectacularly.