1982 Brazilian Grand Prix
- Sunday, March 21, 1982
- Grande Premio do Brasil
- F1 World Championship
Piquet’s victory at Rio came at the end of an absolutely splendid motor race, an event which thankfully eclipsed much of the political and technical controversy which is hampering the Formula One business these days. In South Africa we had the drivers’ strike and in Brazil we were faced with the problem of “disposable ballast”. In an attempt to get their normally aspirated cars back on terms with the very powerful V6 turbocharged machines from both Renault and Ferrari, the FOCA teams had decided on a very liberal interpretation of the rules concerning minimum weight. Most of them decided to adopt reservoirs (plastic bottles, actually) in which to store water for brake cooling purposes, topping these up after the race to bring the car back to the official 580kg minimum weight limit. Of course, once the race got under way this coolant quickly evaporated as it is blown into the brake cooling ducts with the result that most of the normally aspirated cars spent a large part of the race running under weight. As I say, it was a liberal interpretation of the regulations, although to talk to FOCA team managers you would think that it was a perfectly acceptable loophole in the rules which nobody in their right mind should question. Of course, neither the Ferrari nor Renault teams accepted this point of view and, from the start of practice, it was made very clear that the two major manufacturers would be lodging a formal protest in the event of a FOCA “featherweight” winning the race.
Practice for the race took place in muggy, oppressively humid conditions and the bumpy track surface brought forth many complaints from the drivers who were quite clearly having a very tiring time indeed with the current breed of Grand Prix car which offers virtually no suspension movement at all to cushion the bumps. Most drivers were wearing neck supports in an attempt to minimise the effects of G-forces on the fast, slightly banked corners which abound on this anti-clockwise circuit and several had pipes rigged up within the cockpits to blow oxygen either into their helmets or overalls to make life a little more bearable.
With only two sets of qualifying tyres permitted for each driver it was a question of cramming in a clear lap without being baulked by a slower car. But at the end of the day the grid had a fairly acceptable look about it with no obvious anomalies. Pole position taken in Alain Prost’s almost clinically efficient style, the little Frenchman taking his Renault RE36B round in 1 min. 28.808 sec., over six seconds faster than Piquet’s pole position time last year in the Brabham BT49C. In the final session Gilles Villeneuve got to grips with his heavy Ferrari 126C2 in fine style, upholding Goodyear’s honour to claim second place on the grid, although the French Canadian knew full-well that he would have to use harder tyres than either Williams or Brabham when it came to starting the race itself on full fuel tanks.
Jacarepagua, Rio de Janeiro
Permanent road course
Riccardo Patrese (Williams FW12C-Renault), 1m32.507, 121.652 mph, F1, 1989
First Race1978 Brazilian Grand Prix