French GP 1983
APRIL 17, 1983
French GP, 1983
Before the French GP, held much earlier in the year than usual, several of the F1 teams took part in a non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch where Keke Rosberg held off a determined Danny Sullivan (Tyrrell) after Rene Arnoux retired the single Ferrari.
Then it was on to the French GP where Alan Jones was missing, having decided to think a little more about his F1 comeback. Chico Serra was back in the second Arrows. The field was boosted by the appearance of a second RAM for Jean-Louis Schlesser but he failed to qualify as did his teammate Eliseo Salazar. The only other major change was that Mauro Baldi now had one of the new Alfa Romeo 183T chassis rather than the older car.
In qualifying it was no big surprise to see Alain Prost on pole from his Renault team mate Eddie Cheever. Then came Rene Arnoux (Ferrari), Riccardo Patrese (Brabham-BMW), Elio de Angelis (Lotus-Renault), Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW), Andrea de Cesaris and Baldi in the Alfas, Derek Warwick (Toleman-Hart) and Manfred Winkelhock in the ATS-BMW. It was a turbocharged top 10, the first normally-aspirated runner being 12th placed Niki Lauda.
In the race Prost took the lead from Patrese, Cheever, Piquet, Arnoux, a fast-starting Patrick Tambay (up from 11th on the grid) and de Angelis. On the third lap Cheever moved back up to second, while behind them Piquet overtook Patrese to run third although the Italian went out with engine failure after 19 laps, promoting Tambay to fourth. On lap 18 Piquet breezed ahead of Cheever. The mid-race pit stops changed nothing and so Prost won with Piquet second and Cheever third. Tambay took fourth with the two Williams's of Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite finishing fifth and sixth.