1982 San Marino strike
The week before the race the FIA decreed that running cars under the 580kg limit was not acceptable. In consequence, Frank Williams withdrew as did Bernard Ecclestone and Colin Chapman, and the McLaren team. Others among the Cosworth powered ‘special builders’ who have to toe the line in the Ecclestone-Mosley FOCA grouip also withdrew.
Why some of the FOCA teams went on strike was not quite clear, but whatever the reason they certainly let down their drivers and their sponsors.
Of all the drivers deceived by their team owners only Niki Lauda was seen in the paddock, making it very clear whose fault it was that he was not going to be seen in action.
There was no point in weeping tears for the strikers, the San Marino GP was about to happen and 14 entries were ready. The fight between Ferrari and Renault provided more than enough interest. Much to the chagrin of the ‘strikers’, an enormous crowd turned up. They would not have come to see a Williams versus Brabham battle, unless Villeneuve and Lauda had been driving the English cars. — DSJ
Death of a hero
The whole racing world must have been very sad at the death of Gilles Villeneuve, especially those who knew him. He brought a breath of fresh air into Formula One, not only by his driving but by his simple philosophy: he just loved racing. Those of us who watched him race will remember him more for the races he didn’t win than those he did, when he battled against impossible odds. To my mind, Alan Jones paid him the greatest compliment when he said to a group of us chatting after dinner, “Jeez that guy just won’t give up.” — DSJ
Historic Renault victory
It was fitting that Renault should win the French GP, because they won the first grand prix, in 1906 at Le Mans. It took Jean-Pierre Jabouille 95 min to win his race; 73 years ago Ferenc Szisz battled for two days and 770 miles.
But if turbo engines become the norm in F1, costs will soar and entries diminish, as whn Delage dominated in 1927. One expects, however, that rather than drop out, FOCA members will give up some of their jet-setting in order to buy engines… — WB