Notes on the cars at Zandvoort

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Williams: The official announcement in Austria that Frank Williams had concluded a deal with the Honda Motor Company of Tokyo to use their engines for 1984, with an experimental probe into the realms of turbo-charged power for the remainder of this season, was welcomed by everyone. It was just over a year ago that Frank Williams disappeared on the Saturday afternoon of the Dutch Grand Prix and was seen boarding an air-liner to Japan! Now that the open secret has become fact no further development is being done on the well-used FW08C cars with their John Judd tuned Cosworth V8 engines, and Rosberg and Laffite were merely “going through the motions” with the usual three cars, numbers 7, 8 and 9, the Finn racing 7, the Frenchman 8 and the spare was 9. Both drivers are staying with the team for 1984, Rosberg having signed again, and Laffite honouring the second year of the two-year contract he made last winter. With the Williams-Honda V6 turbo-charged cars appearing before the end of the year, both drivers can look to the future with some excitement, and who knows, the current 80-degree 4 camshaft V6 engine may be obsolete by the end of the year and it is anyone’s guess as to what the next Formula One engine from Tokyo will be.

Tyrrell: The car that Alboreto crashed at Osterreichring turned out to be more severely damaged than it seemed at first sight. This was 011/4 and the monocoque was so badly damaged that it was scrapped. After some more sorting out the new 012 car was used in all seriousness by Alboreto for the Dutch race, though without the complex reversed-delta rear aerofoil, a conventional one similar to that on the 011 model being used. Sullivan soldiered on with an 011 model (5) and there was another 011 as spare (6).

Brabham: The mid-season revision of the incredibly sleek BT52 into the B-specification has seen Gordon Murray’s brain-child more than able to hold its own with any opposition and Paul Rosche and the BMW engines never stop development work on the 4-cylinder M-Power unit. The spare car at Zandvoort (BT52B/1 masquarading as BT52B/4 to ease the paper-work!) was fitted with a BMW engine having a different exhaust system and a different boost-control valve (waste-gate in paddock jargon). This valve was supplied by Brian Hart, made in his own factory, and gives better mid-range response than the BMW unit. It was easily distinguishable by being mounted vertically above the exhaust pipe junction to the turbo-charger, whereas the BMW unit hangs down under the exhaust system. Piquet and Patrese were driving their usual cars, BT52B/5 and BT52B/6, respectively, but both used the T-car on Saturday afternoon to claim their grid positions. All three cars were using a water spray onto the intercooling radiator on the left-hand side. This comprised a small aluminium tube with peripheral holes, lying along the bottom of the radiator and fed by pump from a vertical tubular container mounted alongside the inter-cooler. The spray was carried though the intercooler by the air flow. Not water injection, but water cooling — or was it a “mickey-take”? Murray and Piquet work so well together that it would be a great pity if they were to split up, but happily that seems very unlikely. Piquet is so well-liked and appreciated by his mechanics that two of them have started a “Piquet Fan Club” and the writer is one of its early members (see note at the end of this article).

McLaren: Whether we call this multinational combine McLaren, Marlboro, TAG or Porsche is a matter of personal opinion, but the pit of car number 8T had all the big wheels of Porsche Engineering in attendance. McLaren International of Woking, Surrey, built the car, with finance from Marlboro cigarettes, and Porsche Engineering of Weissach in Germany built the engine, with finance from Techniques d’ Avant Garde, the Saudi Arabian firm based in Paris. Depending on who was leaning on you the new car was a McLaren, a McLaren-Porsche, a Porsche, a Marlboro-McLaren, a Marlboro-TAG, a TAG-Porsche etc. — the possibilities were endless. For my part it was a McLaren-Porsche, the McLaren part designed by John Barnard and built by Ron Dennis from McLaren-International and the Porsche engine designed by Hans Meager and the Weissach engineers under the direction of Helmut Butt, with Peter Schutz in overall command of the Porsche empire and Peter Falk in charge of the Porsche Racing Department, and all four were standing back proudly watching the debut of their new Formula One engine, designed and built from scratch in just over 12 months. The first of these 80-degree V6 engines was mounted in a mock-up test car built using the bones of MP4/1C/1 and it became MP4/1D/1, and running tests at Weissach and Silverstone. A new car was constructed out of the bones of MP4/1C/6, thus becoming MP4/1E/6 and it was this car that was destined for Niki Lauda to use in Holland, being labelled 8T. While it was being made ready for practice Lauda used MP4/1C/7 still with Cosworth DFY power, but he qualified and raced the Porsche-powered car. In the transporter, but not completely finished was MP4/1E/5, a second Porsche-powered car, brought along in case of emergency. The installation of the V6 Porsche engine, itself a neat and tidy unit, into the MP4 chassis was a beautiful piece of work, especially in details and the whole car had the appearance of having come from the drawing board of a single designer. Throughout the planning of this intriguing project Barnard and Mezger have worked very closely and the end result indicated a pleasing rapport between the two engineers.

On each side of the compact V6 engine is a surprisingly small KKK turbo-charger, exhausting into a really man-sized exhaust pipe, and ahead of the turbo-chargers, built into the side-pods are three radiators on each side, the front one cooling the oil, the centre one the engine cooling water and the rear one cooling the ingoing compressed air from the compressor to the engine. At the front of the side-pod the rectangular opening is divided into three horizontal rectangular openings, the top one feeding air to the oil cooler, the centre one to the water radiator and the bottom one to the intercooler. Mounted on top of the upper duct is the Bosch Motronic engine management electronic system and individual throttle valves in each inlet tract into the cylinder heads control the engine action. There is a set of radiators and Motronic system on each side, for each bank of three cylinders, and each bank has its own turbo system and control system so that the whole layout can be viewed as two 750 cc three-cylinder engines operating on a common crankshaft, the two sides coupled by a balance-pipe system, but more interestingly coupled together electronically. While each Motronic box looks after its own side of the engine, they are coupled together so as to compare notes on what is happening and what is needed. Requirements for the fuel-injection, the ignition, the boost pressure, intake temperatures and so on are fed into the management system and the two sides communicate with each other to make any necessary compensations. A conservative 600 bhp at 11,700 rpm is claimed, but no details of boost-pressures or engine dimensions have yet been released.

Almost unnoticed alongside the inter­esting new McLaren-Porsche, were two Cosworth-powered MP4/1C cars, tidy as ever, and being used by John Watson, chassis number 2 to race and chassis number 4 as a spare. 

ATS: The little one-man German-owned team, based in England seems to have more then its fair share of trouble. Manfred Winkelhock used both cars during testing and qualifying and wound up in ninth place on the grid with the first of the BMW turbo powered carbon-fibre monocoque cars, but then everything went wrong. When the field left the dummy-grid to go off on the parade-lap, 06-02 was reluctant to start and the other 25 cars were long out of sight by the time the BMW engine fired up. Now the rules are quite simple and straightforward, if you have trouble on the parade-lap you must not regain your grid position if you get going again, but must start from behind the back row of the grid. In his excitement Winkelhock forgot this rule and streaked round the circuit to catch the slow-moving parade and then threaded his way through the cars back into his ninth place. The start was given at 14.30 hrs and at 15.25 hrs the stewards of the meeting issued a notice to “the team-manager of the ATS-team” announcing that car number 9 (Winkelhock) was excluded from the race for infringement of Article 13c 3(d) of the World Championship rules and it was some minutes later that car number 9 was shown the black-flag and withdrawn from the race, having covered 50 laps. Unfortunately, during that time Winkelhock had made his routine pit stop for petrol and tyres and as he was about to rejoin the race Eddie Cheever left the Renault pit and headed down the pit lane past the stationary ATS. Winkelhock saw him coming in his rear-view mirror and hesitated and the ATS designer, Gustav Brunner ran round the back of the ATS, not seeing the approaching Renault and got knocked over and suffered a broken ankle and leg. The whole sorry affair was all the more unfortunate for had the stewards issued their findings earlier the ATS would not have been making the pit-stop, and Cheever’s Renault was in trouble and expired a few corners after leaving the pits. Cheever’s engine trouble had brought him in just as Prost was expected in for petrol and tyres and the Renault pit staff had waved him away to do another lap while they attended to Prost. But Prost never came, for at that very moment he was crashing into the barriers and out of the race. The whole affair was a sad chapter of events and the ATS team-owner Gunther Schmidt had every reason to be highly incensed and very angry.

Lotus: The pace of the work at Ketteringham Hall where Team Lotus live does not ease up and a new Type 94T appeared in Holland. This was 94T/3 and was given to de Angelis, while his original car that made its debut at the British Grand Prix became the spare car, Mansell retaining 94T/2. The Lotus team haven’t looked so good for a long time, with three Renault turbopowered cars and between fits of temperament and minor trouble both drivers showed just what the 94T cars could do, ending up third and fifth on the grid. The huge rear aerofoil with four horizontal blades was in use again, and this time really seemed to be working well without any dramatic loss of speed. Described in one magazine as having three blades and in another as being a “quadri-plane wing” this aerofoil appears to present a huge frontal area to the wind but clearly has a low drag-co-efficient while giving good down­force. 

Renault: The French team were using their usual three cars, the only visible change being that the T-car (RE40/03) was fitted a with the controversial, but now legal, underneath exhaust system. The Lotus 94 cars have always used this system but FOCA protesters have overlooked the fact as Lotus did not design or manufacture the system. The protesters have the same view on the Renault-Elf water injection system, only protesting the manufacturer of the system not the customer! Renault issued a detailed account of their Elf-inspired water-injection system, pointing out that the water is injected into the_compressed air as it passes through the intercooler, to help lower its temperature. A wet and soggy day would have the same effect as the wet air would be drawn from outside into the compressor. No petrol is involved in the system until just before the inlet valves, by which time the air has travelled a long way from the compressor entry, through the compressor and piping to the intercooler, up through long ducts to the plenum chambers above the engine, and eventually down through the inlet valves. At this point it is joined by petrol from the ignition nozzles, and by this time the injected water has long since done its job of lowering the temperature of the incoming air. In rainy conditions in which the air going in is very wet there is little point in using extra water-injection.

RAM-Marc;h: The plight of small one-man teams like John Macdonald’s becomes ever worse as the strength of the top teams expands, and it becomes increasingly obvious that “shoe-string” efforts have little real place in Grand Prix racing. With only one car available the slightest mistake by the driver that causes damage, or mechanical failure, means virtual elimination from any hope of scraping on to the 26 car grid. Car and material apart, Kenny Acheson has never really looked like qualifying for a Grand Prix and it is only a matter of time before someone decides to stop wasting their money attempting to get into the big time. 

Alfa Romeo: The Italian team continues to flatter only to deceive. There is little doubt that the compact turbo-charged V8 engine from Milan can produce horsepower to match its rivals, and there is little wrong with the car itself as observation on any circuit will reveal. In fact, on some circuits and types of corner the Alfa Romeos are visibly as fast, if not faster, than the best but the overall performance is inconsistent. Of the drivers, Andrea de Cesaris can be quite brilliant at times and at other times almost incompetent, so that the overall result progresses in fits and starts. Team-mate Mauro Baldi drives neatly and tidily, but is not in the top class on sheer ability. On the Zandvoort track the car did not seem properly at home and neither driver featured strongly, though Baldi brought his car through to the finish, but de Cesaris disappeared in a cloud of oil smoke from the right-hand turbo unit. Any enquiries around the Alfa Romeo garages about oil or oil smoke usually receives a blank look and the reply “Oil? what oil?” and holes in the crankcase are usually described as “electrical trouble”. 

Ligier: Unrepentent of his bad-manners on the track at the Osterreichring Jean-Pierre Jarier continues to do what he can with the ungainly-looking Ligier JS21, but Cosworth power is insufficient to keep the team in the picture. A rather depressed-looking Raul Boesel does what he can as number two with the totally uncompetitive car, and at least he finished the race in Holland while Jarier collided with Guerrero’s Theodore at the start and soon retired when the front suspension on his Ligier collapsed.

Ferrari: The Scuderia Ferrari had four cars in the paddock, three C3 models and a C2. This time the spare C3 (126C3/066) carried Arnoux’s racing number 28, while Tambay’s 27 was on the older C2 (126C2/06S). They both started off with the cars they had raced in Austria, Arnoux 068 and Tambay 067, but the former driver had continual mechanical trouble in practice and ended up by racing the spare car (066), while the latter had a trouble-free time taking second place on the starting grid and second place in the race with 067. Last year the AGIP petrol company explained their water-injection system as developed with the Ferrari engineers, whereby a globule of water is surrounded by a globule of petrol by a process in the petrol tank, the mechanism of which they were not prepared to explain. This globule within a globule passes through the injection nozzle into the combustion chamber and the combustion of the petrol turns the water to steam and the violent expansion disperses the surrounding petrol to give better atomization and burning. Since then nothing more has been heard about the Ferrari water-injection, other than suggestions that it can be turned on and off by a switch in the cockpit, which doesn’t really tie-in with the original AGIP explanation.

Arrows: As other teams give up using the Cosworth V8 engine those who are left appear to move up the list of the 3-litre normally aspirated engine users, and now the Arrows team can provide the fastest Cosworth-powered car, for what that is worth. Their drivers Marc Surer and Thierry Boutsen are two of the best non-works supported runners and both deserve some advancement, which can only come with the Arrows team if a more powerful engine can be found. The team had their usual trio of A6 type cars which still perform neatly and tidily and in a well-balanced manner, which at least allows the drivers to enjoy themselves at the back of the field.

Osella: After their brief enjoyment of having both cars qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, and even better, having them both run through the whole race without any trouble, the Osella team were back to their normal state of affairs with Corrado Fabi just scraping onto the grid and Ghinzani being left out. Fabi ran at the back of the field consistently, but just before the end the V12 Alfa Romeo engine cried “enough” and expired. It had run for something like 800 or 900 kilometres, having been in the car for testing at Monza, all four sessions at Zandvoort and the whole race. It broke as Fabi was entering the Tarzan corner at the end of the straight so he let the car run onto the sand on the outside of the corner, rather than come to rest on the track itself, and this caused many people to think he had made a mistake and spun off the track or broken the suspension!

Theodore: The situation in this small team as far as Grand Prix racing is concerned can be visualised by the fact that Morris Nunn was away in America involved with some sort of American racing and designer Nigel Bennett was back at base working on a new project for Indy-Car racing, leaving the two drivers to fend for themselves with the help of the mechanics. Roberto Guerrero qualified his car comfortably but at the start had his nose-fin assembly damaged by Jarier and had to stop for repairs. After that he ran smoothly and consistently through to the finish and like the two Arrows drivers this boy from Colombia deserves better material than the team are able to supply. Cecotto enjoyed fiddling about with his own car in practice, but failed to make it go quickly enough to qualify for the race.

Toleman-Hart: This combined effort by Ted Toleman’s racing team and Brian Hart’s engine firm continues to teeter on the brink between success and failure. Derek Warwick’s enthusiasm and driving ability is unquestionable and his seventh place on the starting grid among all the big team drivers was what could be expected. Both he and Giacomelli were using the latest Hart engine, with altered valve angles and different combustion chamber shapes, together with British built Holset turbo-charger units. Both drivers raced their regular cars and Warwick’s excellent fourth place raised the morale of everyone connected with this brave little team. Giacomelli would have been much higher placed at the finish had he not had a spin on the slippery surface towards the end of the race. He kept the engine going and carried on but his excursion over the kerbs had damaged the under-side of the car and upset the handling balance.

Spirit-Honda: With a completely new colour scheme of red, white and blue the two cars looked like a different team. Small niggling troubles still beset the Honda V6 turbo-charged engine during practice, but this time the newer of the two cars (201/C5) behaved itself and Johansson drove a good race to finish seventh. There was a slight panic during the planned pit-stop when petrol splashed from the filler hose and caught fire around the back of the car, but it was quickly under control and no damage was caused. — DSJ .

The Nelson Piquet Fan Club

Brazilian driver Piquet has a very big following in all countries and the amount of fan mail that arrives at the Brabham factory is prodigious. The inward-looking Piquet shuns the limelight once he leaves the racing circuit and only deals with correspondence carrying Brazilian postage stamps! Two of the Brabham mechanics have decided that Piquet’s followers should get some recognition and help and have arranged for a “Nelson Piquet Fan Club” to be formed. Write in the first instance to Nelson Piquet Fan Club, PO Box 22F, Chessington, Surrey KT9 1OJ and send an SAE for details. A mention of Motor Sport would help.

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