1983 Race of Champions

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United Kingdom  1983 Race of Champions
Race details[1]
Non-Championship race in the 1983 Formula One season
Brands Hatch.png
Date April 10, 1983 (1983-04-10)
Official name Marlboro Race of Champions
Location Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit, Fawkham, Kent, England
Course Permanent racing facility
4.206 km (2.6136 mi)
Distance 40 laps, 168.24 km (104.544 mi)
Weather Warm, dry
Pole position
Driver Finland Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
Time 1:15.766
Fastest lap
Driver France René Arnoux Ferrari
Time 1:17.826 on lap 18
Podium
First Finland Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
Second United States Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Cosworth
Third Australia Alan Jones Arrows-Cosworth

The 1983 Race of Champions was a non-championship Formula One race held at Brands Hatch on April 10, 1983. It was also the last non-championship F1 race to be held in the sport's history. It was won by the reigning world champion Keke Rosberg in the Williams FW08, who narrowly beat Danny Sullivan in his Tyrrell. Former world champion Alan Jones finished third in his last drive for Arrows.

Report[edit]

Entry[edit]

Only thirteen cars were entered for the event, compared with the maximum grid of 26 starters which took part in the World Championship Grands Prix of 1983. The teams who did not attend, or only sent one of their two cars, were at a scheduled Formula One tyre test at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France in preparation for the French Grand Prix which was held just one week later.

However, there were two drivers present who did not take part in that year's championship: Brian Henton, who drove a Theodore, and Hector Rebaque, who drove a Brabham. The Spirit team also made its F1 debut at the event with Stefan Johansson and Honda's first turbo-charged F1 engine, which BBC commentator Murray Walker claimed had completed thousands of miles of trouble free testing. Tyrrell fronted with only one driver. Michele Alboreto was scheduled to race, but it clashed with his drive for Lancia in the World Endurance Championship at Monza. Instead his rookie team mate, 32 year old American Danny Sullivan, was given the opportunity to get more miles under race conditions having only completed in the previous two Grands Prix in Brazil and Long Beach. McLaren fronted with a car for John Watson, fresh from his victory in Long Beach just two weeks earlier. Arrows fronted with two cars, one for 1980 World Champion Alan Jones in his second (and final) drive for the team after making a comeback to F1 at Long Beach, and team driver Chico Serra.

Eleven teams took part, but only Arrows and Theodore entered more than one car. Brabham elected not to use either of its regular drivers Nelson Piquet or Riccardo Patrese, hence Rebaque's presence (he had previously driven for the team in 1981). Like Alboreto, Patrese was driving for Lancia at Monza, while Piquet was advertised to be driving but was actually at the scheduled tyre test at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France, so Brabham fronted with Rebaque instead (which drew criticism from Murray Walker's co-commentator, 1976 World Champion James Hunt, who questioned why they couldn't have put an up-and-coming British driver in the car for what was a British domestic race). Lotus used the event as an opportunity to familiarise Nigel Mansell with the Lotus 93T and its turbocharged Renault engine it had so far limited to the team's lead driver Elio de Angelis. Of the thirteen cars, four were turbos including the Ferrari of René Arnoux, although with the Lotus-Renault still new, Brabham without a regular driver and the Spirit-Honda on debut, only Arnoux was rated a chance of victory among the turbos.

Qualifying[edit]

Williams driver Keke Rosberg took pole position, replicating the result at the previous year's British Grand Prix, also held at Brands Hatch. René Arnoux was less than one tenth of a second behind in his Ferrari, and Alan Jones took an encouraging third place in his continuing comeback from retirement with Arrows. Behind John Watson's McLaren, Sullivan qualified in fifth place despite suffering from jet lag, as he had only arrived in the United Kingdom from the United States the day before the track action began. The two Theodore drivers proved evenly matched in sixth and seventh, with Henton outpacing regular driver Roberto Guerrero. Mansell qualified eighth with his first taste of a turbo engine in competitive conditions; he was followed by Raul Boesel in the Ligier, Rebaque's Brabham and Chico Serra in the other Arrows. Johansson set the second-fastest time in untimed practice with a time that would have actually placed him 3rd on the grid, but suffered reliability problems in qualifying proper, restricting him to a single lap and 12th place on the grid in a difficult début for the Spirit team, but he still lined up ahead of Jean-Louis Schlesser, who failed to record a lap time for RAM March. The Spirit Honda again proved its speed in the race morning warm-up where Johansson reportedly was among the quickest on the circuit with times within one second of Arnoux's turbocharged Ferrari.

Race[edit]

Rosberg (driving the teams test car which was also serviced by Williams' testing crew as a reward for their work) and Arnoux held their grid positions off the line, but Sullivan rose to third place after being given a nudge under braking for the first corner, the extra momentum forcing him into overtaking Jones around the outside instead of hitting him. Arnoux used the estimated 650 bhp (485 kW; 659 PS) available from his Ferrari 126C2B to blast past Rosberg on the straight at Pilgrims Drop on the first lap, but tyre trouble prevented him from pulling away. Johansson was the first retirement after four laps, the new Honda engine failing on its F1 début. Johansson had made a good start and had passed four cars before the Honda engine started to smoke going into Dingle Dell on lap 4 while chasing Rebaque. After a quiet first start with turbo power, Nigel Mansell ended his race with handling difficulties two laps later.

On lap seven, Arnoux pitted for new tyres, his Ferrari wearing its rubber extremely quickly despite cool ambient temperatures (Arnoux also had major tyre troubles in practice and was lucky not to damage the car after blowing a rear tyre at speed on the run to Clearways). By lap 23 and two further stops, his team had no further sets of tyres and he was forced to retire with camshaft trouble, although he had set the fastest lap of the race as consolation, though his lap of 1:17.826 in the flat bottomed Ferrari was 5.458 seconds shy of Didier Pironi's lap record of 1:12.368 set at the 1980 British Grand Prix in a ground effects Ligier-Ford. Watson retired with a bad driveline vibration, while Rebaque retired with tyre and suspension failure in a car he wasn't totally comfortable with (in commentary, Murray Walker claimed that Rebaque looked at sea in the powerful Brabham-BMW, despite his recent experience in racing cars at the ultra-fast Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other oval speedways in the American based CART series). Serra's car broke its gear linkage also retired from the race.

At around half-distance of the forty-lap race, Rosberg also began to suffer from tyre wear, particularly blistering to his left-rear. Sullivan was using a softer-compound set of tyres, but had "scrubbed" them in the pre-race warm-up and had no such problems. For the final fifteen laps, he was right behind Rosberg, but never managed to overtake the Williams. Despite running side-by-side at places on the last lap, Rosberg held on to win from Sullivan, with Jones half a minute behind in third. Henton, Boesel, and the lapped Schlesser and Guerrero completed the finishers.

Rosberg would later add the championship Monaco Grand Prix to his victory haul in 1983, but the other finishers would not approach their results at this race in any other F1 Grand Prix in 1983. As the World Championship had become ever-more important in the scheme of Formula One, the 1983 Race of Champions remains the final non-championship race to have been held in the sport's history.

Classification[edit]

Entry list[edit]

No Driver Entrant Chassis Engine Tyres
1 Finland Keke Rosberg TAG Williams Team Williams FW08C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
4 United States Danny Sullivan Benetton Tyrrell Team Tyrrell 011 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
5 Mexico Hector Rebaque Fila Sport Brabham BT52 BMW M12/13 1.5 L4 (t/c) M
7 United Kingdom John Watson Marlboro McLaren International McLaren MP4/1C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell John Player Team Lotus Lotus 93T Renault EF1 1.5 V6 (t/c) P
17 France Jean-Louis Schlesser RAM Automotive Team March March-RAM 01 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 P
26 Brazil Raul Boesel Equipe Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS21 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
28 France René Arnoux Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 126C2B Ferrari 126C Tipo 021/3 1.5 V6 (t/c) G
29 Brazil Chico Serra Arrows Racing Team Arrows A6 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
30 Australia Alan Jones Arrows Racing Team Arrows A6 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
33 Colombia Roberto Guerrero Theodore Theodore N183 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
34 United Kingdom Brian Henton Theodore Theodore N183 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
40 Sweden Stefan Johansson Spirit Racing Spirit 201C Honda RA163-E 1.5 V6 (t/c) G

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Team Lap Gap
1 1 Finland Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 1:15.766
2 28 France René Arnoux Ferrari 1:15.839 +0.073
3 30 Australia Alan Jones Arrows-Cosworth 1:17.501 +1.735
4 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Cosworth 1:18.062 +2.296
5 4 United States Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Cosworth 1:18.446 +2.680
6 34 United Kingdom Brian Henton Theodore-Cosworth 1:18.549 +2.783
7 33 Colombia Roberto Guerrero Theodore-Cosworth 1:18.862 +3.096
8 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault 1:18.894 +3.128
9 26 Brazil Raul Boesel Ligier-Cosworth 1:19.236 +3.470
10 5 Mexico Hector Rebaque Brabham-BMW 1:19.592 +3.826
11 29 Brazil Chico Serra Arrows-Cosworth 1:22.402 +6.636
12 40 Sweden Stefan Johansson Spirit-Honda 1:35.500 +19.734
13 17 France Jean-Louis Schlesser RAM March-Cosworth no time

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired
1 1 Finland Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 40 53:15.253
2 4 United States Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Cosworth 40 53:15.743
3 30 Australia Alan Jones Arrows-Cosworth 40 53:43.895
4 34 United Kingdom Brian Henton Theodore-Cosworth 40 53:55.773
5 26 Brazil Raul Boesel Ligier-Cosworth 40 53:56.224
6 17 France Jean-Louis Schlesser RAM March-Cosworth 39 +1 lap
7 33 Colombia Roberto Guerrero Theodore-Cosworth 39 +1 lap
Ret 29 Brazil Chico Serra Arrows-Cosworth 30 Gear linkage
Ret 28 France René Arnoux Ferrari 23 Tyres/Camshaft
Ret 5 Mexico Hector Rebaque Brabham-BMW 14 Tyres/suspension damage
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Cosworth 8 Transmission
Ret 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault 6 Handling
Ret 40 Sweden Stefan Johansson Spirit-Honda 4 Engine

References[edit]

  • Fearnley, Paul (October 2008). "Ever Decreasing Circles – F1 Non-Championship Races Part Three: The '70s & '80s". Motor Sport 84 (10): 92. 
  • Hamilton, Maurice (ed.) (1983). AUTOCOURSE 1983-84. Hazleton Publishing. p. 246. ISBN 0-905138-25-2. 
  1. ^ Hamilton, Maurice (1983). "Non-championship Formula 1: Marlboro Race of Champions". Autocourse 1983-84. Hazleton Publishing. p. 246. ISBN 0-905138-25-2. 


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