1983 Race of Champions
|Non-Championship race in the 1983 Formula One season|
|Date||April 10, 1983|
|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)|
|Time||1:17.826 on lap 18|
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.
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 remaining runners chose to test at Paul Ricard in preparation for the upcoming French Grand Prix. 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. Over at the Tyrrell team, number one driver Michele Alboreto was scheduled to race, but it became apparent that he had a prior commitment to race for Lancia at Monza in the World Endurance Championship, so number two Danny Sullivan received a last-minute call-up to replace him.
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 and Riccardo Patrese), hence Rebaque's presence (he had driven for the team in 1981), whilst Lotus used the event as an opportunity to familiarise Nigel Mansell with the turbo-charged Renault engine it had so far limited to its other driver Elio de Angelis. Of the thirteen cars, four were turbos, although the more powerful engines were not expected to provide too much of an advantage due to the twisty nature of the circuit.
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, 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 to two seconds of Arnoux's turbocharged Ferrari.
Rosberg 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. Johansson was the first retirement after four laps, the new Honda engine failing on its F1 début, whilst 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. By lap 23 and two further stops, his team had no further sets of tyres and he was forced to retire, although he had set the fastest lap of the race as consolation. Watson, Rebaque and Serra also retired from the race.
At around half-distance of the forty-lap race, Rosberg also began to suffer from tyre wear, particularly 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.
|13||17||Jean-Louis Schlesser||RAM March-Cosworth||no time||—|
|6||17||Jean-Louis Schlesser||RAM March-Cosworth||39||+1 lap|
|7||33||Roberto Guerrero||Theodore-Cosworth||39||+1 lap|
|Ret||29||Chico Serra||Arrows-Cosworth||30||Gear linkage|
|Ret||5||Hector Rebaque||Brabham-BMW||14||Tyres/suspension damage|
- Fastest lap: René Arnoux, 1:17.826 (lap 18).
1981 South African Grand Prix
|Formula One Non-Championship races
1979 Race of Champions
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