European GP 1983
SEPTEMBER 25, 1983
European GP, 1983
The cancellation of the New York Grand Prix gave Brands Hatch the chance to host a European GP and there was much excitement as Alain Prost, Rene Arnoux and Nelson Piquet disputed the World Championship. Williams decided not to run the new Honda-engined cars at Brands Hatch but entered a third car for test driver Jonathan Palmer. Theodore was struggling and with Mo Nunn having departed, the team dropped to one car with Johnny Cecotto ending up a spectator. The big news was that Patrick Tambay would be dropped by Ferrari in 1984 and replaced by Michele Alboreto while there were hints that Tambay might end up at Renault as Eddie Cheever was rumored to be leaving.
Qualifying produced a surprise with Elio de Angelis on pole in his Lotus-Renault with Riccardo Patrese second in his Brabham-BMW and Nigel Mansell third in his Lotus-Renault. Piquet was fourth ahead of Arnoux and Tambay with Cheever, Prost, Manfred Winkelhock (ATS-BMW) and John Watson (McLaren-TAG) completing the top 10. The dwindling group of Cosworth cars were headed as usual by Keke Rosberg but he was 16th in his Williams.
In the race Patrese took the lead from de Angelis at the start with Mansell third, Piquet fourth and Cheever fifth. Within a lap however Piquet was ahead of Mansell. Prost was charging and passed Cheever on the ninth lap. On lap 12 de Angelis challenged Patrese for the lead and both men spun. Piquet went through into the lead while Patrese rejoined before Prost arrived. De Angelis also rejoined but he had damaged the engine and retired soon afterwards.
The order at the front remained unchanged all the way to the flag with Piquet leading home Prost. Patrese faded through the field and after the pit stops it was Tambay in third place but near the end of the race he lost all his brake fluid and dropped behind Mansell. The Frenchman then spun out of the race. Mansell duly claimed third place ahead of de Cesaris, Derek Warwick (Toleman-Hart) and his team mate Bruno Giacomelli.
As the F1 circus headed off to South Africa, Prost was still ahead in the World Championship but Piquet was only two points behind. Arnoux could still win the title, but it looked likely as he was eight points behind Prost.