The 1983 international racing season

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The calendar of the major events for 1983 was published in good time this year, but the dates of lesser International and non-championship events have yet to come. There are 17 races on the list of Formula One events, covered by eight months, which is an average of a race every alternate weekend, except that the world of Formula One is never as simple as that. We have Monaco and the Belgian GP on successive weekends, which could give a good motoring holiday with the journey from Monaco to Belgium taking in such places as the Biscaretti museum in Turin, the Schlumpf museum in Mulhouse near the Swiss frontier and some super motoring through the Jura mountains of Eastern France and northwards through Luxembourg and Southern Belgium, or a bit to the east through the Moselle valley and the Eifel mountains. There is still talk of holding the Belgian GP at Spa, on the new short circuit, though most people feel it will be at Zolder.

Good travel planning has put Detroit and Montreal on successive weekends, as last year, and Detroit has already planned to do away with the very tight bottom gear hairpin at the top of the town. As it was followed by a right-angle corner it was not at all popular and served little real purpose. In July the Swiss GP happens again on the Dijon-Prenois circuit and, unbelievably, everyone has to be at Silverstone by the following Wednesday, ready for practice on Thursday morning for the British GP due on Saturday July 16th. This doesn’t sound like a good idea. In August the German and Austrian races are on successive weekends, as in 1982, and this is not such a bad idea and has worked well in the past. The only trouble is that most of industrial Germany is on holiday during August so that visits to friends at Porsche, Daimler Benz and BMW on the way between races is prevented.

There are still hopes that Long Distance Endurance racing under the new Group C, which was aimed at attracting bona-fide manufacturers, will develop into something as serious as Formula One. Events are planned for Monza, Silverstone, Nürburging and Spa Francorchamps as well as the annual 24 hour grind round the Sarthe circuit at Le Mans. To give the series world-wide appeal the final events are at Fuji in Japan on October 2nd and Kyalami in South Africa, the week following the re-positioned South African GP, due on October 29th instead of its usual date early in the year.

England only has one Formula One race, France and Italy both having two events and the United States having four, but in return we have three Formula Two events, at Silverstone, Thruxton and Donington Park though somehow Formula Two events do not attract the following that Formula One has. You can meet detractors of Formula One in almost any pub these days and they all say “can’t think why people go to watch such boring stuff,” though how they know it’s boring when they don’t go, they never explain. In spite of these “dismal jimmies” there is never a shortage of spectators at Brands Hatch or Silverstone for the Grand Prix. If there was another British GP a month later, I wonder what sort of crowd it would attract?

The Formula Three Championship events cover the whole of Europe and use quite a lot of the Formula One circuits, plus Monaco, which is an event that stands on its own outside of the Championship series. — D.S.J.