#382 1983 British Grand Prix

2022-08-28 01:00

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#1983, Fulvio Conti,

#382 1983 British Grand Prix

The most famous and, at the same time, most secretive racing team in the world opens its doors on Monday, June 20, 1983, in the morning. Just a few mi


The most famous and, at the same time, most secretive racing team in the world opens its doors on Monday, June 20, 1983, in the morning. Just a few minutes inside the new racing department, a masterpiece of automotive technology, to admire the latest creation, the 126 C3 single-seater, which should enable Ferrari to compete for the Formula 1 world championship. The car represents the fourth generation since its debut in 1980 at Imola, embodying three years of study and evolution. For the christening, everyone is present: the two drivers, René Arnoux and Patrick Tambay, obviously happy. Then the entire team staff. Enzo Ferrari, in great shape, his son Piero Lardi, sports director Marco Piccinini, press office chief Franco Gozzi, and the head of design, Mauro Forghieri. All beside the brand-new red racing car, completed just a few hours earlier. The appearance of the car is not very different from the previous model, at least at a superficial examination. However, while maintaining the same suspension as the 126 C2, the new version appears sharper, lower, and with an even more streamlined aerodynamic shape. In fact, it evokes the image of a stinger, a thorn to be thrust into the sides of opponents. Enzo Ferrari, answering journalists' questions for over an hour, says:


"We have managed to reduce weight and achieve better profiling. We hope to be more competitive on circuits where we haven't performed well so far".


He refers to fast tracks where Ferrari had difficulties due to some extra weight and a chassis that couldn't handle the engine's exuberance. Speaking of the engine ("We race with 600 HP for constant performance and caution, but we could have a bit more..."), Ferrari hints at possible important developments in this field soon.


"There have been some approaches from teams that would like to buy the engine. But we are in an evolving and not constant phase. We couldn't commit to external supplies. The six-cylinder will be further and significantly developed. Substantial changes are underway".


Reliable sources from Maranello suggest that a four-turbocharging system is being studied, which could provide additional advantages. After reiterating previously expressed concepts (no to city circuits, except Monte-Carlo; no, for now, to Endurance; yes, possibly, to Indianapolis and Daytona, but with Formula 1 cars), the Modena constructor talks about the present and the future.


"I read names of drivers in the newspapers who are supposed to come to Ferrari. In my mind, there has been no opening for other drivers. We took Arnoux because he is fast, and the Frenchman has confirmed this quality, even if it was a bit late for him. Not for us, because trust has not wavered. Tambay is judged by the score he has in the World Championship. We hold him in high regard for consistency. We have the desire to confirm them both, and we are happy with them. In any case, this issue will be resolved by whoever is there at the right time. In our profession, long-term plans cannot be made. I am 85 years and four months old. I don't feel like thinking about the future. If I'm here, I'll decide, otherwise, it will be someone else".


A bitter reflection. But Ferrari still has very clear ideas. Regarding Italian drivers, he responds:


"Alboreto was contacted when we needed a driver last year. He was not available. Since then, I haven't heard anything. I don't want to take people away from other teams. When I took Arnoux, I also did a favor to Renault, which had problems coexisting with Prost. Rosberg? He's a good fighter".


And many discussions, including President Pertini's visit to Maranello. However, Enzo Ferrari's mind is already on the Fiorano track, where the 126 C3 starts running. 


A new car to win, a precious toy that will probably be a source of great satisfaction but could also bring disappointments. The spirit, however, remains that of a man who believes in what he does and serves as a spur for everyone. The new 126 C3 single-seater represents an interesting turning point for Ferrari in terms of construction technology: it is the first racing car with a load-bearing structure entirely made of synthetic resin. It uses a special Kevlar fabric with highly resistant longitudinal fibers. The fabric is impregnated with a particular resin. The manufacturing process for the new Ferrari is intriguing. A mold is made for each of the two halves or shells that make up the chassis; then the shells are created by arranging layers of fabric with the appropriate thickness and inserting metal attachments for suspensions, the engine, etc. The assembly is placed in an autoclave and baked. Since different fabrics have different characteristics and different baking temperatures, building a monocoque like this requires about twenty baking steps and a time frame of three to four weeks. What is the advantage? Simply put, the chassis weighs even less than the well-known carbon fiber ones. The material savings alone are 5-6 kg for the structure. In total, the 126 C3 is lighter by about twenty kg compared to the previously used car, an aluminum vehicle with carbon fiber parts. The load-bearing structure also has an aerodynamic function, especially in the front area where there are no other applied components. Further evolution of the shape is possible thanks to the structure's resilient design: small modifications can be made without having to change the molds. It should be added that Ferrari's technicians, led by the English specialist Harvey Postlethwaite, drew on aerospace technology for materials but then developed unique construction techniques.


"A chassis is quite different from an airplane wing".


After a long break, it seems that the World Championship is starting again from the beginning. Over a month of pause has allowed almost all Formula 1 teams to prepare their cars based on the indications received in the initial part of the season with a bit more calm and reflection. In practice, the British Grand Prix, scheduled for Saturday, July 16, 1983, at 2:30 p.m., is unpredictable, even though Brabham, racing on their home circuit and having set the best times in timed tests, obviously enjoys some advantage. London bookmakers, always attentive to the situation in every sport where one can bet and therefore play money, give Nelson Piquet and Riccardo Patrese's cars 3 to 1 odds against Renault and Ferrari at 5 to 1 in the role of outsiders. But everyone will be tightly buttoned up, waiting at least for the first day of trials, during which precise indications will be obtained. Particular attention is dedicated to Alfa Romeo, which, without many words, presents an almost new single-seater, lower and lighter than the previous model. Andrea De Cesaris, having no particular preferences for slow or fast circuits, is ready to push to the maximum on the English track.


"So far, we have had only a few small partial satisfactions, while disappointments have been many. Our car has proven many times to be competitive in qualifying but in the race has always ended up being blocked by some inconvenience, big or small. Now we have had time to fix some things, review others, and I believe we can be on the right track. Everyone is waiting for Brabham, Renault, and Ferrari, but we could provide some surprises".


The Italian driver is eager. He is the youngest in Formula 1, well aware that he has a heavy foot on the accelerator but has not yet had the satisfaction of winning a Grand Prix, a feat achieved by his colleagues Patrese, Alboreto, and De Angelis.


"I don't feel inferior to others; I just want to be given the opportunity to prove it. Someone claimed that I complained about my team. It's time to silence all the rumors, to make it clear that we had to grow gradually, that you cannot expect the impossible. Important teams like Renault and Ferrari took a long time to bring their turbo engines to the highest level. We couldn't demand from ourselves, who have only eight races behind us with the eight-cylinder turbo, an immediate supremacy".


De Cesaris's speech is flawless. And it is precisely for this reason that many now expect a positive result from Euroracing, which manages Alfa Romeo engines, even though it is difficult to think that the Italian team can worry experienced people in England like those who can field Piquet and Patrese, Prost and Cheever, Arnoux and Tambay. In any case, De Cesaris could insert himself as a disruptive element in the fight for the world championship title, limited to the drivers of the three teams. However, we are heading towards an incandescent end of the season for many reasons. Apart from the battle for the uncertain world title, there is a whole series of topics to consider and not underestimate. For example, the new Lotus-Renault prepared by Gerard Ducarouge at a record pace for Elio De Angelis and Nigel Mansell, which will be presented on Wednesday, July 13, 1983. Then the Tag-Porsche will also arrive starting from Hockenheim. The turbocharged six-cylinder engine designed for Watson and Lauda's McLarens could create considerable difficulties for competitors for the iridium helmet. In short, it's as if the eight races already held (let's not forget that there have been seven different winners; only Prost has scored twice) were canceled. From Saturday, Formula 1 offers a new spectacle with some possibility that the protagonists are no longer the same as in the first part of the season. On Thursday, July 14, 1983, cars equipped with turbocharged engines close the pressure relief valves to the maximum, and the results are visible: Alain Prost, setting the best time with the Renault Turbo, laps in 1'10"170 at an average speed of 242.082 km/h, a new absolute record of the circuit. 


Eight-tenths less than the time set two years earlier by René Arnoux when he was still in the French team, and the cars had movable skirts. A sign that the gap between current flat-bottomed single-seaters and those of the previous years with ground-effect is closing. Behind Renault, the new Ferrari 126 C3B, i.e., the model presented in Maranello, slightly modified in the bodywork, which is practically the same as the 126 C2. The combination works well because the Ferraris (Tambay with the old car sets the fourth time) both prove to be competitive, and there is room for further improvement, at least it seems so. The first day of practice, however, records two significant events: the return to the top of Lotus-Renault with the new 94 T (De Angelis in third position) and an unexpected drop on the home track of Brabham, which sets only the sixth and seventh time with Piquet and Patrese. Renault, to secure the provisional pole position, risks the maximum to surpass Arnoux's Ferrari. And on Friday, we will witness a good battle if track and weather conditions do not change. A battle on the edge of hundredths in which Tambay, who only for a prudential matter (in the morning his new car had electrical problems) uses the one that should retire shortly, can also be included. Ferrari's team technicians have not yet decided anything for the race. It will be seen on Friday evening, after the conclusion of the tests, even though it is almost certain that the preference will be for the latest version. There is, however, satisfaction in the Ferrari team: the 126 C3B is running well, better than the old car. The work done seems to have been fruitful. Engineer Mauro Forghieri says:


"Frankly, we didn't expect more. Arnoux has consistently lapped under 1'11"0 and can still go faster. The same can be said for Tambay, who had to qualify with the old car due to some minor issues but will be able to participate in the final qualifying session with the new one to defend his chances. So, we are in a good position to compete in the race. However, we will decide at the last moment which car to use, although I believe the debut of the new car is almost certain".


René Arnoux is very pleased, convinced that the C3B will allow him to continue climbing towards the top of the World Championship standings.


"The car is more balanced than the previous one. It brakes better, is superior in many small details that ultimately translate into a significant advantage. I think I can go even faster, although attacking is a circuit where the driver must also have courage and take risks in fast corners. It's not easy to resist the temptation, at some points on the track, to slightly lift off the accelerator".


As for Prost, even the young Alain is confident:


"I don't think the time of 1'10"175 can be improved much. My car has no weaknesses".


For the victory, however, the list of favorites widens. This Lotus-Renault, built under the supervision of the French technician Gerard Ducarouge in five weeks, seems dangerous. The Pirelli radial tires, for the first time pushed to the maximum in Formula 1, respond more than positively. If the race tires are equally valid, the duel will be spectacular even among tire manufacturers, as the top three currently have a car with Michelin, one with Goodyear, and one with Pirelli. Gerard Ducarouge, in the meantime, confirms his competence and skill: perhaps Euroracing made a mistake in letting him go. In this regard, Euroracing informs that its Michelin tires caused some trouble, but the French company responds with the results of other teams it supplies. It seems, among other things, that Michelin is studying some very interesting new compounds, the development of which Nelson Piquet has contributed to, having tested extensively at the Clermont-Ferrand track. In any case, it is difficult to assess the actual importance of the tires, given that there are ten turbo cars ahead of everyone, with Goodyear tires before Michelin. Among the aspirated, however, the best is as usual Rosberg (eleventh) with American tires, faster than Lauda (fourteenth) with French ones. As for cars with non-turbocharged engines, there is little hope, at most a placement to be seen between Rosberg, Lauda, and Alboreto (fifteenth time). The debut of the Spirit-Honda is decent but not overwhelming (twenty-second is the Swede Johansson), still inconclusive for the Osella-Alfa Romeo, with Ghinzani third to last and Fabi last. The English sports commissioners exclude Jarier's Ligier from the standings, who had finished nineteenth. The decision is made after a long meeting because during the qualifications, the Frenchman did not stop at the weight check. This sentence causes some surprise in the environment and a protest from Alfa Romeo. As you may recall, the driver of the Milanese team, Andrea De Cesaris, in Brazil, for a similar infringement, had been disqualified and not allowed to participate in the race. It is true that the regulation leaves the disqualification to the discretion of the commissioners, but it is not clear why different weights and measures were used in two similar incidents. 


On Friday, July 15, 1983, the cocktail prepared by Ferrari for the British Grand Prix turns out to be explosive, enough to intoxicate all the opponents. The ingredients put on the track, the chassis of the new 126 C3, half bodywork, mechanics, and engine of the 126 C2, allow the Maranello team to launch a deadly one-two for the other competitors in the qualifying sessions. Two cars in the front row with a record pole position by René Arnoux and a brilliant second place by Patrick Tambay, ahead of Prost's Renault, De Angelis' turbo Lotus, the two Brabhams of Patrese (this time faster than the Brazilian teammate) and Piquet. The time recorded by Arnoux in the last timed lap is fantastic: 1'09"462 on the 4719 meters of the circuit, at an average speed of 244.549 km/h. Over a second and a half below the old record set two years earlier by the same French driver with cars equipped with movable side skirts. Top speeds and averages that are chilling. In his quick lap, the small driver reaches 239 km/h at the finish line, only 150 meters after the Woodcote chicane, 260 km/h in front of the Ferrari pits, eighty meters ahead, and an incredible limit of 326.300 km/h on the Hanger Straight, a not too long straight, on the opposite side of the track. About 20 km/h faster than the average of all rivals. This means that Ferrari has the usual powerful engine and an unparalleled car-driver complex even on the fastest tracks. This does not mean, of course, that the Maranello team is certain to win today. But it is clear that it automatically becomes the great favorite, surpassing Brabham and Renault in the prediction (London bookmakers immediately adjust the odds in favor of the Maranello team). And the French team cannot even improve the times set on Friday: it seems that Prost and Cheever's cars, on which the exhaust pipes have been moved laterally (before they were under the single-seaters and had created controversy and protests from Brabham, whose technicians claimed that this arrangement caused an artificial ground effect), have partially lost grip at the rear. The Brabhams make some slight improvement but do not materialize the superiority shown in the free practice three weeks ago. The truth is that Ferrari now has an engine in which the available power seems limitless (it is said to be 700 HP in qualifying, which is a true record for a 1500 cc turbocharged six-cylinder). 


When Engineer Forghieri gives the order to close the pressure valve, trouble ensues for the others. Also, everything works perfectly in the Maranello team, even a certain strategy. In qualifying, Arnoux goes out first to understand the situation, then Tambay passes Prost, and then Arnoux, in the last minutes, delivers the decisive blow. The weather forecast is still hot as in these two days; much will depend, as usual, on the choice of tires and also on in-race refueling, which increases from race to race. If no one changes their mind, there will be nineteen cars stopping at the pit to refuel and change tires during the Grand Prix. Certainly, there will be no shortage of emotions and twists. Also because the high temperature could cause problems for the twelve turbo cars starting in front of the first car with a naturally aspirated engine, Rosberg's Williams. Among the novelties, the Spirit-Honda turbo with Johansson in fourteenth position and the qualified Osella-Alfa Romeo, albeit with the last time, thanks to Ghinzani. An important test also for Lotus Renault and for Pirelli tires, which De Angelis takes to the second row. There is a bit of a quarrel between the English team and Renault, which supplies the engines because technician Ducarouge cannot keep his mouth shut and complains, saying that the French company provides less competitive engines to Lotus than those used on their own cars. It is true that Renault has experimental turbines different from those of Lotus, but the leaders of the French company, at the signing of the contract, had made it clear that they would entrust the more advanced experimentation of the novelties to Prost and Cheever. It is only hoped that this dispute does not deteriorate the relationship between the two groups to the detriment of poor De Angelis. The arbitrator of the situation is, however, Ferrari: the Maranello team has not won at Silverstone for twenty-five years (Peter Collins, 1958). It seems time to erase this negative tradition. Rarely, even in the happiest moments, had the Ferrari team welcomed a result with so much joy. The clean sweep recorded in the tests literally creates a great celebration in the pits with smiles, pats on the back, hugs between mechanics, technicians, and drivers. Even Antonio Tomaini, usually imperturbable, responsible for Arnoux's car, hints at a dance of joy. Arnoux, getting out of the car, distributes candies to everyone.


"I could have gone faster; I made a small mistake with the gearbox at the chicane. Anyway, it went well; the car seems reliable. We've done about six thousand kilometers of testing without major problems. It should be the right car to aim for the world title".


As mentioned, satisfaction is also perceived on the part of the technicians. Mauro Forghieri states:


"We are really happy because we have exceeded expectations. In the morning, we had only tested for the race, and we think we have reached a good compromise. The 126-C3 has proven to be 4-5 km/h faster than the previous model in terms of top speed. This corresponds to about 20-30 extra horsepower. For the race, we'll see, but we are on the right track".


When Arnoux is asked about the tactic that will be adopted if he finds himself in the lead with Patrick Tambay, the clever René replies:


"We'll wait to be there, then we'll decide".


On Saturday, July 16, 1983, at 2:00 p.m., the timekeepers gave a prolonged blast on the Lucas horns, producing the most vulgar and nauseating noise in motor racing, indicating that all was ready for the count-down to the 2:30 p.m. start. This vast multi-million pound extravaganza was finally about to begin, running for every bit of one hour and 25 minutes. Only 25 cars assembled on the grid as Ghinzani’s Alfa Romeo V12 engine went off on him on the warm-up lap, and he had to take the start from the pit lane. The two red Ferraris lead the field around on the parade lap. They all pause back on the grid, and then they are off, scrabbling into Copse Corner in what looks like a multiple pile-up from behind but proves to be clean and concise. Away they stream on the opening lap, led by Tambay’s Ferrari, ahead of Arnoux, followed by Prost, Patrese, Cheever, de Angelis, Piquet, de Cesaris, Winkelhock, Warwick, Johansson, Mansell, and Baldi, all turbo-powered, with Lauda leading the Cosworth brigade in 14th place, hotly pursued by Rosberg. 


That is lap 1. On lap 2, de Angelis stops in a cloud of smoke as his Renault power unit expires, and Giacomelli is into the pits with turbo trouble. One more lap, and Cheever is into the pits with his Renault engine failing fast. The Honda quietly disappears on lap 5, and on lap 9, Patrese comes into the pits with enough white smoke coming out of the exhaust to proclaim finis. Those two red Ferraris are beginning to look majestic out in front, but by 12 laps, it is obvious that Arnoux is slowing, and in doing so, he is holding up Prost, who is in third place. In any activity but Formula One, this can be seen as team tactics allowing Tambay to get away to a commanding lead, but Formula One isn’t like that. Arnoux is in tire trouble, and Prost wears him down, taking second place on lap 14 and beginning to close on Tambay. At the same time, Piquet in fourth place begins to close up on Arnoux, and as Prost's Renault and Piquet's Brabham are on Michelin tires and the Ferraris are on Goodyears, it is pretty obvious that the French tires are adapting to the conditions better than the American ones. These four cars are out on their own, with de Cesaris leading the midfield pack, which comprises Winkelhock, Mansell, Warwick, Lauda, Baldi, Watson, Rosberg, and Jarier, with Laffite leading the tail-enders. One thing that Tambay can do, that Arnoux cannot do, is to adapt his driving to the prevailing conditions. So when he finds that the Michelin-shod cars are getting better traction than the Goodyear ones, he doesn’t panic but plays it cool. Arnoux is much less sensitive to such race subtleties and tends to make a bad situation worse, rather than nursing it. So while Tambay bows to the inevitable and relinquishes his place first to Prost and then to Piquet, he hangs on in third, while Arnoux falls away. Everyone of importance is planning on making a pit stop for new tires and another half a tank of fuel, even the McLaren team joining in. When Warwick appears in the pit lane after 27 laps, it is assumed he is stopping early from his eighth place, but not so, his stop is terminal with gearbox trouble. Winkelhock starts the refueling stops, followed by Watson, who loses time through being in neutral instead of first gear when they drop him off the jacks, and then the leaders begin to come in. Arnoux is in and out quickly, as are Prost and Tambay, the Renault pit work being very good, though naturally Piquet has gone by into the lead until it is his turn to stop. 


Alfa Romeo loses a lot of time for de Cesaris, and on lap 41, Piquet is into the pits. The Brabham team is superb and has the wheels changed and the air jacks up in 10 sec, while 2 1/4 more are needed to complete the refueling. Piquet is stationary for 12.26 sec according to Longines, and the Brabham lads receive a well-deserved round of applause, but what a pity that none of the 85.000 paying customers can see it happen, for the pits are holy ground now. Two laps later, the Lotus team does a superb job on Mansell, refueling and changing wheels in 13 sec exactly. Then we are all back to square one, apart from de Cesaris. Before the stops, the order has been Prost (Renault), Piquet (Brabham), Tambay (Ferrari), Arnoux (Ferrari), de Cesaris (Alfa Romeo), Winkelhock (ATS), Mansell (Lotus), Lauda (McLaren), and now it is Prost, Piquet, Tambay, Arnoux, Mansell, Winkelhock, Lauda. Apart from Mansell passing the dispirited Arnoux, much to the joy of the partisan crowd who overlook the French engine in the British Lotus driven by the British driver, nothing changes through to the end of the 67 laps. The quiet, shy Alain Prost cruises round in his usual unimpressive fashion, his Renault never missing a beat, followed by the sleek BMW-powered Brabham of Piquet and the red Ferrari of Tambay. The British Grand Prix reserved one of the bitterest days for Ferrari in recent times. The Maranello team experienced a sense of helplessness, suffering a defeat that, while not overly disastrous, was psychologically heavy at a time when it seemed to have found the formula to dominate its opponents. After achieving the best qualifying results, allowing Arnoux and Tambay to start from the front row, the Maranello team had to surrender due to a significant inferiority in the race, conceding the first and second places to their direct rivals in the fight for the championship. They settled for third place with Patrick and fifth with the disheartened René. The victory, earned without gifts, went to Alain Prost in the Renault, ahead of Nelson Piquet in the Brabham. Prost secured his third win of the season after France and Belgium, putting a serious claim on the championship title, considering that these victories would have double importance when considering potential points discrepancies (the regulations allow summing up the best eleven results out of fifteen races). Piquet limited the damage, while Tambay and Arnoux were now forced into a rather desperate chase. The race was decisively influenced, this time without a doubt, by the tires. 


Among the first ten finishers, eight used radial tires, with only Ferrari not faring well on conventional tires. Despite a strong start with Tambay overtaking Prost, the Ferrari seemed to struggle immediately. Although pushing to the maximum, Patrick couldn't shake off his pursuers. By lap 14, Arnoux was overtaken by Prost, and he resisted until lap 19 when the Renault passed him inside the turn after the pits. Then, Piquet attacked without difficulty. In the meantime, within a few minutes, five turbocharged cars had already retired: the unlucky De Angelis, betrayed by the engine; the usual Giacomelli, due to a turbo failure; Cheever, also with a broken engine; the Honda Spirit; and Patrese, whose BMW engine broke due to fuel pump issues. Then came the time for pit stops and refueling. Ferrari, which had chosen type B tires, the only ones guaranteeing durability and performance throughout the race, considered switching to softer tires but eventually gave up. They brought Arnoux, who was furthest back, in early, and checking the pressure, they found it too high, a problem caused by tires not gripping perfectly in the corners. They bled air from Tambay's tires to try to improve traction but without achieving decisive improvements. In the pit strategy game, Piquet led for a few laps, but when the Brazilian stopped, Prost firmly returned to the lead and was never caught again. Meanwhile, from the back, Nigel Mansell with the new Lotus Renault and Pirelli radials made a comeback. 


The Englishman started in eighteenth position and finished fourth ahead of Arnoux. No need for comments. In sixth place was a very combative Lauda, also on Michelin radials. In short, it was a one-sided race that once again saw the Euroracing Alfa Romeo missing a big opportunity despite having the same tires as the front-runners. Both cars finished (seventh was Baldi, eighth was De Cesaris), but with many troubles. The Emilian driver lacked turbo response, while the Roman found himself without a clutch immediately after the pit stop. De Cesaris does not hide his disappointment with fairly harsh words towards his team. At the end of the race, the English constructor Ken Tyrrell filed a complaint against Renault and the two classified Ferraris, claiming that the water injection system used by both teams to cool the turbo would alter the fuel composition, increasing its power. The technical stewards rejected the complaint without even listening to it, after a long discussion. The English constructor, however, as stubborn as ever, appealed. The matter will be decided at the FIA court in Paris in the near future. In another situation, a third and a fifth place would have been received quite differently. But these placements taste like a mockery for Ferrari. Already during the race, a sense of disappointment and helplessness pervaded the Maranello team's pits. In the end, Engineer Forghieri commented on the result for everyone: 


"This is the verdict of the race; we must accept it as we have done on happier occasions. The truth is that we were slower than our rivals. Tambay had a beautiful race and gained 4 points that are not to be discarded. Arnoux was penalized more, and we are particularly sorry for him. We had mounted the best tires available for the race, evidently, it wasn't enough".


A slight allusion to the tire problem, without polemical accents. After all, it's fair: Goodyear has won many races for the Modena team, and an objective responsibility cannot be attributed to the American company, especially when it allowed dominating the practices. The problem is technical and not only related to the race. On fast tracks like Silverstone (and also at Hockenheim and Zeltweg in the next two races), radial tires have a significant advantage in cornering on fast turns. Goodyear is developing a new type of tire, but it is not yet known when it can be used. The only one who admits, albeit indirectly, to the state of inferiority, is René Arnoux, who appears very bitter: 


"The pressure skyrocketed in the rear tires, and the car became very difficult to drive even though it had a fantastic engine. Even braking was longer than usual; there was nothing to do to contain our rivals. The climb to the World Championship becomes very tough for me. I hoped for a victory after starting in pole position. I even got passed at the start because we chose hard tires that skidded. I thought of gaining a few more points; it went very wrong".


Patrick Tambay is also not satisfied with third place: 


"Now I'm afraid that in the upcoming races, we will always face the same problems. In this case, it would be difficult to counter Prost and Piquet, not to mention new opponents like the Lotus-Renault and McLaren drivers who will have the turbo-Porsche in the next races. In short, the race for the title is getting complicated. It was supposed to be a day of triumphs; I had started very well and had to suffer in seeing Prost and Piquet, my direct rivals, pass in front of me. But we won't give up".


Prost is favored after the victory at Silverstone, with Patrick Tambay and Nelson Piquet in the roles of direct rivals for the championship title. There is much talk about the possibilities of Renault and Ferrari drivers, and perhaps the Brazilian, who was a champion just two years ago, is overlooked. But the Brabham driver, second in the championship with a six-point disadvantage to the leader and a two-point margin over Tambay, does not feel defeated yet.


"In England, I had the chance to finish first. Perhaps we slightly miscalculated the tire choice, and then I was hindered in the race, at crucial moments, by some overtaking. Otherwise, I could have attacked Prost. In the end, I had to give up to not compromise everything and settle for second place. This result allowed me to limit the damage. In the next races, however, I will leave no room for anyone. Whoever wants to win will have to deal with me".


Perhaps Piquet fears Ferrari more than Renault.


"The potential of the Maranello team is enormous, and often the Maranello team has been able to perform miracles. I do not underestimate Renault, but I think Tambay will be a tough nut to crack more than Prost, even though he is now behind in the standings. At the same time, however, I have full confidence in Brabham. At Silverstone, we lost a lot of time adjusting the car, which had different aerodynamic solutions than we had experimented with before. If it hadn't been for that, I would have started further up the grid and had better chances".


The South American driver recalls that he is now accustomed to fighting for the World Championship, has greater experience than his rivals, and knows how to handle the most delicate moments of the championship.


"Once I was caught off guard by Alan Jones, who behaved unfairly and took the title away from me. The following year, however, I took immediate revenge. In 1982, I knew I had no chance because I had to develop the BMW turbo engine. Now my car is perfect, and I am convinced that the title will not escape me".


Piquet's statement is almost a declaration of war, and he is not the type to boast. If he believes the fight is still open, he evidently has his reasons. It remains to be seen what Tambay and especially Alain Prost think about it.


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