On this day in F1 March 6th, is brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: Samora Machel
– 1983: Double Whammy For Rosberg
– 1999: Tales of “…a football team with different shirts.
1983: Double Whammy For Rosberg
Rio di Janeiro. The Jacarepagua Circuit welcomes the throngs of F1 enthusiasts to the first race of the season, the first of fifteen. 1982 had been a good year for Keke Rosberg (yes, we are talking about the German Nico Rosberg’s Swedish born, Finnish father), having won his first Drivers’ championship in only his fourth year in the sport, first year with Williams.
Having only managed it once in his championship-winning year, Rosberg’s Q1 lap time on this dry, sunny afternoon unequivocally states that he intends to be on pole. Unsurprisingly, this Q1 time proves good enough for him to claim pole, joined by Alain Prost’s Renault on the first row.
On the second row is Patrick Tambay for Ferrari and the home favorite, Nelson Piquet, in fourth. His pole time is over a tenth faster than his closest challenger. This is especially impressive since all the other cars around his Williams FW08c (the Renault, Ferrari and Brabham) are running turbocharged V6 power units. Williams, however, run a Cosworth V8 that’s naturally aspirated (grounds to compare 2014 and the present? No? Okay).
When the chequered flag goes down (we weren’t using lights yet) to signal the start, Rosberg’s tires prove to have a better union with the tarmac as he translates his pole sitting advantage into a race lead. At least for the first seven laps, before Piquet does to him what he had done to Prost five laps earlier: make sure that what he stares at ahead of him is the Brabham’s ‘FILA’ logo. At least until it’s out of sight.
So out of sight does it get, that Piquet has the time to pit for fuel and tires on the fortieth lap, and still remains ahead of Rosberg and Prost. This was partly occasioned by Rosberg’s earlier fuel-stop going wrong, since the Finn’s car catches fire and he literally jumps out of the cockpit till it’s put out. He then rejoins the race and has to work his way through the pack, to eventually finish an amazing second.
Just like the Brazilian Grand Prix of ’82, Piquet leads the way to the finish, coming in first. Just like the Brazilian Grand Prix of ’82, Rosberg comes in second. Not a repeat he was looking for however, Rosberg is disqualified from this race. Just like the Brazilian Grand Prix of ’82.
However, this time the penalty is for the push-start after the fire incident in the pits, and not for and underweight car as had been the case the previous year. Unlike the previous year again, Piquet was not disqualified this time, and points for second place weren’t awarded to the third placed driver. Sad.
Two disqualifications in two years, sadder.
1999: Tales of “…a football team with different shirts.”
“Pride and a sense of accomplishment.” The very words used by the Managing Director of British American Racing, Craig Pollock as the team made their long awaited debut. British American Tobacco had purchased the Tyrell Formula One Team in December of 1997, but still raced as Tyrell in the following year. This was therefore the team’s maiden season.
The wraps were drawn over the team’s first ever challenger, the BAR-Supertec 01. The venue, their new state-of-the-art facility near Brackley, Northamptonshire (sound familiar?).
However, one would be forgiven for thinking this is a launch by two teams, since as soon as the veil is lifted to reveal the red and white bulls-eye color scheme of Lucky Strike, the second unwrapping has under it the blue-and-yellow-planets motif of State Express 555. This also extends to the team drivers’ overalls (and probably their half of the garage): The recently-poached-from-Williams Jacques Villeneuve will drive the Lucky Strike-Supertec machine while his teammate, rookie Ricardo Zonta, will be at the wheel of the 555-Supertec entry.
The FIA though, they come in and ruin this party. They don’t share the team’s view that “in formula one circles…It certainly doesn’t detract from the overall show…It enhances it”. The FIA considers the dual liveries of the team a breach of the FIA Regulations, which state that a team’s cars must carry largely identical liveries (1999 FIA F1 Regulations, Article 19, 19.1.).
BAR lodges a few complaints (some that don’t make the FIA altogether happy), but after some negotiations Pollock agrees to abide by F1’s arbitration process. A potential fine/suspension/ban is therefore averted, the FIA merely giving BAR a slap on the wrist.