#F1 History: The story of the 1982 World Championship – Part II

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler BlackJack’sBriefs

1982… and all that…! Part II

At Monaco Prost soon took the lead in the race and built up a massive lead, apparently trying to get the race over as rain clouds advanced… but… on an increasingly wet track Patrese (Brabham) was able to catch Prost and pressured him into a mistake…. and… well… hitches there were a-plenty. Patrese led for just one lap but, on the penultimate lap, he spun… and stalled the engine. Pironi raced past but… on the final lap ran out of fuel in the tunnel, just shouting distance from the chequered flag. De Cesaris (Alfa Romeo) had also flashed past Patrese but… he also ran out of fuel, before he managed to pass Pironi and take the lead… The next man down the line was Derek Daly (Williams), who was already running without front and back wings (after an earlier incident…), and a damaged gearbox… which finally seized before he could start the final lap… As all eyes were looking back down the track, just to see who (if anyone) might make it to the line…

James Hunt commented: “Well, we’ve got this ridiculous situation where we’re all sitting by the start/finish line waiting for a winner to come past and we don’t seem to be getting one!” and they were all amazed to see Patrese reappear, having bump-started his car by rolling down hill… to take his first win – the only driver to complete the full distance. Pironi and de Cesaris were given second and third, Mansell and de Angelis (Lotus) took fourth and fifth, one lap down, while Daly and Prost took sixth and seventh. All the other top runners had retired long before the rains.


‘Went off without a hitch’…? What can I say…?

As the teams returned across the pond to Detroit just five points separated the first five drivers, with Rosberg fourth. On this occasion the organisation caused the first problems – the street circuit wasn’t ready for an extra Thursday practice, and the pre-qualifying session on Friday had to be cancelled, so the teams went into Saturday’s qualifying after just one hour of practice. On Saturday rain was imminent and the drivers had to scrabble for a decent time during the morning pre-qualifying. The afternoon session was a literal washout and, as a result, reigning champion Piquet, who also had engine problems, failed to qualify. Ferrari continued to leave Villeneuve’s seat vacant.

On lap seven of the race, with two cars in the tyre wall, one of which was on fire, the race was red-flagged. Numerous cars were worked on during the hour long hiatus (but none were disqualified) and the times of the two races were added together to give the results. Watson was seventeenth on the original grid but forced his McLaren to the front, past Rosberg, who had led since Prost dropped out, but Keke was having numerous problems and eventually dropped to fourth, on aggregate. The race had been even slower than Monaco and had reached the required two hours after just 62 of the intended 76 laps.


Apart from Piquet’s frustration (and the unfortunate red flag) the race relatively ‘Went off without a hitch’…

Slipping across the border the circus arrived in Montreal where the Canadian crowd was naturally in a very sombre mood. But… even here, things were not allowed to run smoothly. Pironi took pole but stalled on the grid after the red lights had been held for longer than normal. Raul Boesel clipped Pironi’s rear, and spun in front of Eliseo Salazar and Jochen Mass. All three suffered minor damage but were able to continue. Everyone else got by until Riccardo Paletti (Osella) arrived from the back of the grid and slammed into the stationary Ferrari, which was hurled into Geoff Lees. With the steering wheel wedged against Paletti’s chest, and Sid Watkins clambering over the wreckage, fighting to stabilize him, the car caught fire. Paletti lost his life. At 23, it was his first F1 race start, having consistently failed to qualify his Osella, until the preceding USGPwest… but during the warm-up there he lost a wheel and the mechanics worked feverishly to repair the car, before bringing out the spare. Meanwhile teammate Jean-Pierre Jarier’s extinguisher had gone off… and he took the spare car. However… as the work was finished, and Paletti was about to join the grid, Jarier put the spare car into the wall and limped back… to inherit Paletti’s car. It was almost as if Paletti was not supposed to race – at that time.

It seems unnecessary to mention it now but, during practice, Chico Serra and Raul Boesel were involved in an incident, and Serra approached Boesel in the pits. The two had a heated argument which led to a fistfight… while Nelson Piquet took the victory, although it almost didn’t seem to matter.


‘Went off without a hitch’…? Definitely not…!

After eight of the sixteen races so far this dreadful year it started to seem that not a single race would take place without unwelcome incident, but the Dutch GP did just that. At the half way point Watson was easing ahead in the championship, and Keke had dropped to fifth, but Watson failed to score at Zandvoort as Pironi took his Ferrari to a much needed win – his third – and last. Patrick Tambay (after three and a half dreadful years, during which he scored just one point) had been snatched from the doldrums and drafted in to partner Pironi and they started 4th and 6th. The Renaults were still the faster cars but their finishing record left a lot to be desired.


‘Went off without a hitch’…

And so to Brands Hatch – for me the best race track in the world… 😉 where the Renaults were no longer fastest. Keke was on pole, ahead of the Brabhams of Patrese and Piquet, but all three, plus Watson, retired from the race, which was won by Lauda, from Pironi, who moved ahead of Watson in the championship. Star of the race was Briton, Derek Warwick, who propelled his Toleman into second place, and was catching Lauda, until something broke… The organisers were later awarded the FIA Promotional Trophy for 1982… and Brian Henton, who enjoyed five seasons in F1, without scoring a single point, recorded the fastest lap in his Tyrrell… The only low point of the day was Mansell having to retire due to ill health…

Brands Hatch

‘Went off without a hitch’…

Paul Ricard was the site of the French GP, where the Renaults finally came good, front row of the grid and 1-2 in the race, followed by the two Ferraris, with Keke in fifth. There was a sour note in the Renault pit because, pre- race, there was an agreement (here we go again…) that if Prost ended behind Arnoux he would be allowed through owing to his better championship chances – Arnoux at that time had only three points. In the final analysis it didn’t make any difference to the outcome but… Arnoux didn’t give way… Four French drivers took the first four places at the French GP, the first two in French cars – not a common sight for les fans…

Unfortunately… on lap 10 Jochen Mass collided with Mauro Baldi and Mass’ car went through the catch-fencing into the tyre-walls, and was catapulted into the spectator area, upside down – and on fire. Amazingly, astonishingly, nobody was seriously hurt.

French GP

‘Went off without a hitch’…? I don’t think so.

Jochen Mass was able to walk away from the incident, but not from the dangers of F1. He had also been (blamelessly) involved in the accident that launched Villeneuve to his death and it now all seemed too much for him. Mass retired from F1 on the spot… and went on to have a very successful career in sports cars.

Part I

Part III follows…


5 responses to “#F1 History: The story of the 1982 World Championship – Part II

    • Hi CTP – throughout their history Brabham had a number of very smart looking cars – in 1982 they had a slightly irregular-looking nose which was cleverly hidden by the paint scheme.

  1. I’m loving this series.
    I’d be watching F1 for years, especially in Italy but remember different races on TV in the UK. But 1982 was special, it felt as if I had joined the circus because I’d actually been to a Grand Prix.
    The cars all looked sensational, they sounded amazing and the drivers were men, not little lads like today.
    Great memories twinged with sad chapters.

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