South African GP 1982

JANUARY 23, 1982

South African GP, 1982

The new season began early and in problematic fashion with the drivers going on strike because of a form which they had to sign in order to get a superlicence. This led to an unpleasant weekend of controversy.

The winter months had seen several important changes. Brabham had continued the development of the new BMW turbocharged engine and this appeared in the two new BT50 chassis. Nelson Piquet was joined in the team by Riccardo Patrese. With Siegfried Stohr having quit F1 Arrows had hired Marc Surer and Mauro Baldi but in pre-season testing in Kyalami Surer had a big accident at Leeukop corner and broken both feet and so the team hired Brian Henton.

Williams had lost Alan Jones but had hired Keke Rosberg from Fittipaldi to be Carlos Reutemann's teammate and the pair continued to race with FW07-based cars. Fittipaldi was struggling and ran only one car for Chico Serra.

McLaren had an updated version of the MP4/1 for John Watson and Niki Lauda, back from retirement after two years away. Andrea de Cesaris had moved across to Alfa Romeo to partner Bruno Giacomelli, replacing Mario Andretti, who had returned to American racing. Renault retained Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux while Ferrari continued with Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi although Harvey Postlethwaite had designed the new 126 C2 for the pair.

The Talbot Ligier team continued with the old Matra V12 engines and hired Eddie Cheever to partner Jacques Laffite. Lotus continued with Elio de Angelis and Nigel Mansell in B-versions of the Lotus 87 while Tyrrell replaced Cheever with Slim Borgudd as Michele Alboreto's partner. Ensign battled on with new signing Roberto Guerrero and Theodore hired Derek Daly while Toleman had developed the old car but retained Derek Warwick, who was partnered by Italian Teo Fabi. ATS had a new D6 chassis and Manfred Winkelhock and Eliseo Salazar was hired to drive. Osella retained Jean-Pierre Jarier and took on a young Italian called Riccardo Paletti.

In addition March returned to F1 with a new team with Rothmans sponsorship and Robin Herd-designed 821s for Jochen Mass and new boy Raul Boesel.

On the tire front Ferrari had switched to Goodyear.

Because of the drivers' strike practice was confined to one day and so the grid was rather hit-and-miss. Arnoux was on pole with Piquet second and Villeneuve third. Then came Patrese, Prost and Pironi, making it six turbocharged cars in the first six places. The best of the rest were the two Williams's with Rosberg quicker than Reutemann. They were followed by Watson, Alboreto and Laffite.

In the race Arnoux took the lead but Prost made a good start to power his way to second place by the end of the first lap. Then came the two Ferraris with Villeneuve ahead of Pironi. Then came Rosberg under pressure from Patrese, Laffite, Alboreto and the rest. Piquet had made a bad start and was down in 13th position.

Early on Piquet went off because of fading brakes and retired. Soon afterwards Rosberg dropped behind Patrese. Not long afterwards Villeneuve went out with an engine failure and while Rosberg hoped all the turbos would follow things began to go wrong for him. His gear lever fell apart and he soon slipped behind Reutemann. Things changed at the front when Arnoux came upon backmarkers on lap 14 and had to lift. In a flash Prost was ahead. Pironi was third with Patrese fourth followed by Reutemann and Rosberg. On lap 18 Patrese disappeared with an engine failure and six laps later Pironi pitted for new tires and dropped out of the action. This meant that Watson and Lauda were fifth and sixth. That ordered remained unchanged until Pironi came charging back and overtook Lauda. On lap 41 Prost stopped for tires, leaving Arnoux in the lead but the little Frenchman's recovery drive was even more impressive than Pironi and so he took second place a lap after the Ferrari driver had got ahead of Rosberg. Alain then chased after Arnoux and took the lead with 10 laps to go. Pironi's race ended early with engine trouble and then four laps from the finish Arnoux slipped behind Reutemann. Lauda finished fourth having overtaken Watson and Rosberg

15 Alain Prost Renault  77 1h32m08.401s  
Carlos Reutemann Williams-Cosworth  77 1h32m23.347s  
16 Rene Arnoux Renault  77 1h32m36.301s  
Niki Lauda McLaren-Cosworth  77 1h32m40.514s  13 
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth  77 1h32m54.540s  
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  77 1h32m59.394s  
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth  76  10 
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth  76  15 
10 Eliseo Salazar ATS-Cosworth  75  12 
10 Manfred Winkelhock ATS-Cosworth  75  20 
11 23 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo  74  19 
12 17 Jochen Mass March-Cosworth  74  22 
13 22 Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo  73  16 
14 33 Derek Daly Theodore-Cosworth  73  24 
15 18 Raul Boesel March-Cosworth  72  21 
16 Slim Borgudd Tyrrell-Cosworth  72  23 
17 20 Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth  72  25 
18 28 Didier Pironi Ferrari  71  
26 Jacques Laffite Talbot Ligier-Matra  54 Fuel Vaporisation 11 
35 Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart  43 Accident 14 
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW  18 Turbo Bearing 
25 Eddie Cheever Talbot Ligier-Matra  11 Fuel Vaporisation 17 
27 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  Turbo 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW  Accident 
12 Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth  Electrics 18 
31 Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Cosworth  Accident 26 
nq 30 Mauro Baldi Arrows-Cosworth    27 
nq 32 Riccardo Paletti Osella-Cosworth    28 
nq 29 Brian Henton Arrows-Cosworth    29 
nq 36 Teo Fabi Toleman-Hart    30