Do you like Formula 1? Well, a single consideration: on Thursday 28th April 1983, in Imola, with the circuit deserts of cars, a thousand of spectators already occupied the central grandstand part. Cheering and passion of Emilia-Romagna for motors is rising, is coming the San Marino Grand Prix, fourth round of the Formula 1 World Championship, that on Friday morning opens for the first day of official practices. Obviously this crowd so warm (is awaited a sold out for Sunday) waits above all the arrive of Ferrari. Everyone wants to see the new singleseater studied by Maranello for 1983, but, despite the commitment of Scuderia Ferrari, the waiting has been disappointed: the car is not ready yet. The Ferrari’s van arrives among the lasts and unloads three 126 C2. The usual cars, even though with some changes, as the alloy suspensions (already seen in the non-title race of Brands Match) retouched ulteriorly. The only Ferrari news in engine field, but not directly regarding the race, is the new motorhome, realized on a Iveco bus, of large size, provided of any service, from meeting room to cots for drivers. Sublime refinement, red cots with yellow sheets, Ferrari colours. Not missing shower, kitchen, dryer to dry sweat wet suits. Alfa Romeo takes a new bus-motorhome, on Mercedes chassis, and the Scuderia Euroracing, which manages Formula 1 Alfas, a new technician, engineer Luigi Marmiroli. The technician took the place of Gerard Ducarouge (left empty on Thursday 21st April 1983: "Today ended technical collaboration with Mr Gerard Ducarouge"). The first task of the responsible of design will be quite challenging: in fact Euroracing decided to do refuelling in race thus aligning with Brabham, Williams, Ferrari and Renault and to Lotus which will stop its two cars at half race, both the one with Renault engine of De Angelis and that with Cosworth powertrain trusted to Nigel Mansell.
It will be twelve singleseaters involved in the dangerous operation. For this reason, have been arranged strict safety standards. No one can move in the pit during the Grand Prix or cross the safety net placed alongside the pit wall which runs in parallel to the track. In addition is forbidden the overtake of any firm cars during refuelling in the pit itself and whom, going out on track, will not follow the semaphore will have a huge fine. In short, Le Castellet show will repeat with larger number of protagonists. But this does not matter much to fans. In Imola they remember only the duel of last year between Pironi and Villeneuve and the victory of the French in the race deserted by English teams. This people ask a miracle to Ferrari, a success that revive the past glories. In case of failings by Maranello team, they would have a success by at least one of the Italian drivers. There are fans of De Angelis, of Patrese, of De Cesaris, of Baldi, of Alboreto, of Corrado Fabi, of Giacomelli and even of Ghinzani. This last will drive the Osella with Alfa Romeo engine, 12 cylinders. The Torinese constructor ended the set up on Thursday, personally testing it on Volpiano track. The only Italian to have real probabilities to aim to an affirmation are, in the order, Patrese, De Cesaris and Baldi, that dispose of competitive cars with turbo engines. A bit farther is De Angelis, whose Lotus-Renault will perhaps shine during practice but has less probabilities in race. And Ferrari? In Maranello team, which holds together with Arnoux the best time (1'33"80) recorded in free practice, there is no optimism. There is quite preoccupation for turbine, that could continue to give problems, and for tyres, that wear out irregularly. But it can even be pre-tactical: it would not be the first time that Enzo Ferrari pulls out a last-minute surprise. Nelson Piquet is leading the World Championship: three races, 15 pints. At Dino Ferrari the Brazilian driver won both title races which he took part. The role of favourite is rightfully his.
"Sincerely I do not know if I will be able to repeat on this track past results. Each race is an unknown, everything changes within fifteen days".
But for sure Brabham is one of the top team and always provides to its two drivers very fast cars.
"This is true. I have the complete confidence in my team: victories are the result of a teamwork, technicians and mechanics count as drivers".
Are not you afraid of refuelling during race?
"I am not, sincerely. It is always the same matter. Or do you trust in the team, or you are afraid. I am convinced that Brabham is able to do a refuelling without taking too much risk. What happened in Brazil to Williams would not repeat for us".
Which are the most dangerous rivals in this race?
"Perhaps Ferrari and Renault have a more powerful engine than our, but we are superior as grip when the car is right. My fiercest opponent could be Riccardo Patrese. Until now my teammate has always been unlucky, and he had a lot of problems. For calculation of probability this time could be him the favourite by the fate and I hit by misfortune".
For San Marino Grand Prix already entered in action of scalpers. On Thursday 28th April 1983, at the entrance of the Grand Prix, they sell tickets at twenty percent more than the official price.
"And on Sunday they will cost the double".
This give the measure of how is felt the Formula 1 race in this zone, where engines are part of daily bread. The Ferrari is the idol, is the banner of a mentality, of a passion that has no limits. These fans, this people, move on all circuits of the world to see Maranello’s cars racing. But Ferrari, this year, does not start with the favour of prediction. The Maranello’s Scuderia has met, since the start of the season, difficulties and awaits the new car to say a definitive word on the run to world title. Until then (perhaps at Monte-Carlo, more likely at Spa, in Belgium, toward the end of the month) we will not see a car of Arnoux or Tambay at highest level. This, at least, is what is thought the day before the San Marino Grand Prix. Since the first day of official practice to the race, though, spend a lot of time and the situation could even change because the old cars have been slightly updated and may have a few surprises. The cheer, anyway, is not only of Ferrari brand. There are fans of Alfa Romeo too, who wait the Milanese company to a first prestigious result, after two years of races. Alfa has been in the storm since the beginning of the season, first to have trusted its own team to a private Scuderia, the Euroracing, then for the disqualification of De Cesaris in Brazilian Grand Prix to not having observed rules and passed with the red semaphore, and thus the elimination of the same Roman driver from the placings in the first round of qualification at Le Castellet for a fire extinguisher found unloaded. The event is known: for everyone the French technician Gerard Ducarouge paid, replaced by the Italian Luigi Marmiroli, an engineer, a competent, a man that knows anything on aerodynamic and on computers, which has a huge racing experience. But will the team, the drivers, to obtain a positive result at Imola, where a finish among the firsts could be a confidence boost for all the team? For everyone Andrea De Cesaris talks.
"I do not want to make predictions, also for superstitious reasons. But I am convinced that the team can only improve. I promise I will do my best, I will not leave a stone unturned to start in a good position and to try to obtain first points in the world standings, and thus satisfy Alfa Romeo and my fans. The fact of having changed the technician could be positive and negative at the same time. It is clear that now Ducarouge Had a perfect knowing of cars and that he was a designer of first class. Now Marmiroli is called to a very difficult work. However I am convinced he will be on top of the situation. Until now cars shoed to be competitive and we would have done something more, but we always had small problems about the reliability. After all, our team is quite young and we can not expect suddenly leaps forward. We have to improve race by race and now we would be at good point, after three championship races".
De Cesaris does not let go to rash declarations, he tries to stay calm, to not create illusions. But in his heart the Roman thinks to success moments, when he started in pole position at Long Beach last year, when only fifteen days ago he obtained the best lap head of everyone else in the first day of qualification in France. The Arrows will have an Italian sponsor at Imola, but it is no known yet if they will have Alan Jones, who asks 75.000 dollars for each race. Anyway the Australian will not remain unemployed for a long time. It is said that may teams want to hire him, maybe lining up a third car. It is talked of McLaren and Williams. In addition, before the San Marino Grand Prix, on Monday 25th April 1983, FISA announces to having cancelled the Formula 1 Swiss Grand Prix scheduled in Digione, on Sunday 10th June 1983. It seems that the cancellation of the race is due to contrast with Swiss television. Instead the New York Grand Prix has been moved from Sunday 25th to Saturday 24th September 1983. The FIA, at conference held in Warsaw also has decided to adopt a new text for the driver’s super licence, to finalize a code of conduct for refuelling during Grand Prix and to promote motor racing in eastern European countries.
A quick look down the row of large and well-equipped pit lane garages shows that the three Ferraris (065, 064 and 062) all have the new rear suspension that appear briefly in practice at Brands Hatch, and has since been thoroughly tested at Fiorano, Spa and Imola. This has wide-base wishbones and an inboard mounted spring anit operated by a pull-rod working on a swinging link on which the spring is mounted. The whole affair is much more rigid and controllable than the old rocker-arm system and provides improved geometry to keep the tyres in better contact with the road. The cars are carrying enormous rear aerofoils and have huge fibreglass air ducts to the front brakes as braking on the undulating Imola circuit is of prime importance. In the Brabham pits is a brand new BT52, number four, which is destined for Patrese, while Piquet has BT52 / 3 and number one is the spare car. Still with carbon-fibre brake discs the cars has extra air ducts to the rear ones, these being clipped onto the normal cooling ducts. Renault also has a new car, RE40/03 for Prost, the Frenchman’s Paul Ricard-winning car taking on the position of spare car for him and Cheever, the prototype car RE40/00 being scrapped. The ATS team are finishing off a new car for Winkelhock, to the same design as the previous car, with carbon-fibre composite monocoque and BMW turbocharged engine, but a bit lighter overall by attention to details; this is D6-02. Surprisingly the Arrows team finds the monocoque of Serra’s car, which goes upside down at high speed in practice for the French GP, almost undamaged and the whole car is rebuilt and back in service. At the end of the pit lane the Osella team, under the direction of Tony Southgate, is finishing off a new car made from old bits for Ghinzani. The whole point of this project is the V12 Alfa Romeo 3-litre engine supplied to Enzo Osella by Auto Delta, complete with gearbox, transmission and rear suspension, which Southgate has grafted onto one of the old Osella aluminium monocoques as a test-car, before embarking on a new one. With three spare Alfa Romeo V12 engines in the van it is probably a better bet to have obsolete Italian engines than obsolete Cosworth engines. All the other teams seem to be in good order, Lotus with their two Renault V6-powered cars for de Angelis and the two Cosworth-powered cars for Mansell, with a DFY unit standing by to replace the DFV, while McLaren has three DFY engines for Lauda and Watson, but only as a stop- gap until the Porsche turbocharged engines are available.
The Toleman- Hart team has revised their suspension front and back, to give more travel and the engine in Warwick’s car is Brian Hart’s latest with two sparking plugs per cylinder; the normal one in the centre of the combustion chamber and the second one between the two inlet valves lying almost horizontally in the side of the monobloc casting. These extra plugs are fired from a second distributor on the back of the engine, below the normal one. The electronic fuel injection system is the work of Hart and Lucas. Judging by the quantity of tyres about the place Goodyear, Michelin and Pirelli are not pulling any punches and their competitive battle is as hard as that of the engine manufacturers. In spite of what some people think about handling, road-holding, aerodynamics and driver skill, the engine of a Grand Prix car instill the most important part, other factors merely being used to try and make up for an engine deficiency. Imola is the spiritual home of Ferrari, the Autodromo being named after Enzo’s son Dino, and it is only 55 miles from Maranello so it can be considered to be the heart of Ferrari country. From the word go it is clear that Renault, Bmw and Alfa Romeo are out to trounce the cars from Maranello on their home ground. The Alfa Romeo team, run by Paulo Pavanello’s Euroracing team, are a bit like a ship without a captain as the Frenchman Gérard Ducarouge has been sacked from his position as team coordinator following the fiasco of the exclusion of the Cesaris’ car at the French Grand Prix practice reported last month. However, there is no shortage of Alfa Romeo mechanics and staff, nor of the compact V8 turbocharged Alfa Romeo engines. When the Friday morning test-session begins at 10:00 a.m. the Autodromo is still damp from heavy overnight rain and as everyone is geared up to test various types of dry-weather tyre, there is not much enthusiasm to start. As the weather is warm and hazy, conditions begin to improve and activity soon begins, only to stop very abruptly for Patrick Tambay when his Ferrari dies with electrical trouble. While he waits for the spare car to be adjusted for him he must have thought Paul Ricard all over again, especially as Arnoux was circulating in the other Ferrari without any bothers. By 11:00 a.m. testing is in full swing and everyone is out on the track, and the scene is becoming very clear; it is going to be a battle of the industrial giants with the small-time special-builders like Williams, Tyrrell and McLaren with their 3-litre Cosworth V8 engines being lucky to see which way the last turbocharged car goes.
For the really small teams like Theodore, RAM-March, Arrows and Ligier they can only hope to try and keep up. However, a pleasant surprise is to see the Swiss driver Marc Surer in the leading Arrows A6 up with the professionals, on sheer driving ability and enthusiasm for the Imola circuit, for it is one of those circuits on which a fast lap makes the driver very satisfied that he has accomplished something worthwhile. In the afternoon conditions are good when the timed qualifying hour gets under way at 1:00 p.m. With only two sets of tyres allowed to each driver and some of the special Goodyear ones only good for a single flying lap, drivers can take their time about deciding when to go out and they all try to pick a time when not too many slower cars are out there. After his morning troubles Tambay goes out early, simply to get some mileage, and Surer goes out promptly to post a good time before the traffic gets too thick. Warwick is all set to have a real go with the Toleman fitted with the dual-ignition Hart engine when he is forced back into the pits with a loss of turbocharge pressure. The connecting pipe to the intercooler has split and there is feverish activity to replace it. While this is being done he goes out in the spare Toleman-Hart but that developes an oil leak so his second lap of the afternoon, with the engine misfiring, has to count for qualifying and that put him in tenth position at the back of all the big factory turbocharged cars. Toleman is not the only team in trouble for Tambay’s Ferrari engine blows up and the spare Ferrari is not running cleanly so he can qualify no better than fifth, while Arnoux has the fans cheering loudly with fastest time of the afternoon in 1'33"419, an average speed of just over 120 m.p.h. round the exciting little circuit. But engine trouble is not confined to Ferrari alone, for Patrese has to take the spare Brabham when his own car’s Bmw engine breaks, and de Angelis has to take the spare Lotus- Renault when the engine in his number one car wrecks a turbocharger, but not before he has set his best time in it. In the Alfa Romeo camp there is also turbocharger trouble, these units being made by Alfa Romeo themselves, incorporating many design features from KKK and Garrett but even so de Cesaris and Mauro Baldi are well in the hunt. Anyone who thinks the obsolete Cosworth-powered brigade are going to put up some opposition to the new engines are sadly disillusioned, for there are turbocharged engines in the first ten cars at the end of the qualifying hour, and some of them have recorded their times in far from 100% condition. The order is Ferrari, Bmw, Renault, Renault, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo, Bmw, Renault and Hart, in respectively, Ferrari, Brabham, Renault, Renault, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo, ATS, Lotus and Toleman and there is still another Toleman and another Brabham that are out of the running for the moment. While some drivers and teams are worrying about the situation, Surer has got on with the job and gets his Arrows A6 at the head of the 3-litre brigade, in eleventh place overall. It is all getting very serious. An applause welcomed the voice of the speaker when, at the end of the first round of qualification of San Marino Grand Prix, he announced:
"We confirm René Arnoux obtained the best time with 1'33"419".
Fans have been satisfied, Enzo Ferrari made the first part of the long-waited miracle. And, to say the truth, Arnoux performance has something prodigious. Consider that three cars at disposal of Maranello’s team suffered considerable problems in free practice (electronic injection did not work out properly), probably broke a piston in the engine of the singleseater reserved to Tambay and the team was busier at fixing cars than looking for qualification time. To finish on top Arnoux had to adopt a particular tactic. The French did two laps with softest tyres (times around 1'34"0), then he stopped at pit, let them cool down (on tyres were visible air bubble provoked by great heat) and he started again, obtaining the fastest lap. Tambay, instead, was not able to perform at his best. On his car was not possible to rise at maximum the turbo pressure. With this Patrick obtained the fifth place behind his teammate, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost (Brabham-BMW), Eddie Cheever (both with Renault). Basically repeated in Imola, as in Le Castellet, the domain of turbocharged cars with ten cars in first places. The best of the drivers with aspired engine car has been the regular Marc Surer (Arrows). Behind the Swiss still a turbo, that Hart one of the Bruno Giacomelli’s Toleman, then in fifteenth position Brabham-Bmw of Riccardo Patrese, the Paduan, this time with reason, chose the press silence. He prefers to remain silent, because otherwise he should say same things, that the car is not great, that it is not balanced, that the engine does not work how it should. Patrese avoids polemic, but the reference to his teammate Piquet is obvious. If the Brazilian could run with a second time, for what reason he should only be fifteenth? The question should be directed to Brabham, that - it is clear - does not put both drivers on same level. Or, anyway, does not have the technical possibility to take care of both cars in the same way. Far from best go men of the standings, that is Rosberg, Laffite and Niki Lauda, that almost risked to not qualifying with his McLaren. The reason? Set up and engine problems. Even Watson is behind and, unless a miracle does not happen like Long Beach, for both drivers there are not optimistic expectations for the race. Normal situation, instead, for Michele Alboreto, who is thirteenth, where more or less he expected to be. The Milanese, though, had problems with Jarier in free practice. When he got out of the car, Alboreto, with a dark face, run to Ligier box, but he did not find the French:
"It was better, because perhaps beatings would have flown. I only wanted to say to him something, he pushed me out of track in a chicane, closing to me the trajectory. I ended straight on curbs and I crossed the curve, risking to destroy the car and hurting me".
Jarier chose to ignore it, indeed he fought back:
"Alboreto is crazy, he did a very dangerous manoeuvre".
If you do not know the subject, someone could believe him. For the second session of practice, Toleman will adopt for the first time Pirelli tyres of 13 inch that seem very fast; therefore, if the engine on Warwick’s car will work better, it is probable that the English will fight to start in first position. Alfa Romeo, instead, was content with sixth and seventh time. The Milanese company, managed by Euroracing, could obtain a prestigious result, such as Toleman with Warwick and Giacomelli. But no one believes, until this time, a possibility of success of the two teams provided with turbo engine. Too many times there have been illusions and as many delusions. No illusion, instead, for the Torinese Osella. The Volpiano team did run Fabi with the normal car, provided with Cosworth engine, and Ghinzani with newest car, powered by Alfa Romeo. The 12 cylinders of the Milanese company has roared long on Dino Ferrari circuit but without getting an enough fast time to reach qualification. The Bergamasco driver obtained only P27 and on Saturday he will have do miracles if he wont to arrive among the 26 starting. Osella, anyway, is a progress phase. The Torinese constructor prepared this time a car that, at least stylistically, seems align to most recent cars, like Brabham and Ligier. For the moment, this singleseater is still not very competitive - and after all was logic to expect that - because it is just come out of the factory. But when the English technician Tony Southgate will end his job and will prepare the new chassis, the probability to obtain some brilliant placing will significantly increase. Of this is convinced Ghinzani himself, Lancia driver in Endurance World Championship, who, despite everything, is optimistic.
"Potentially Osella does not have many possibilities to finish ahead of many others scuderia that have much more experience. But, actually, we are convinced to do a good job and arrive, slowly, at middle of the standings. This would be sufficient to satisfy our needs. We surely aim to first places in the standings, but we want to put us in the middle field teams. This is our goal".
Osella is followed by everyone because is a completely Italian team, cars, drivers, engines. It has not happened for a long time that there was this combination and it is right that everything of that has a following. Corrado Fabi, on his side, is only content to make experience. For him, the Formula 1 is already a goal achieved, before the age of 22, and thus is in enough to participate for him. After all, Fabi is ahead of Niki Lauda, that with McLaren did not go over the twenty-fifth time. It is already a satisfaction, small but enough to raise morale. If then Ferrari will be able to maintain its promise, even the crowd of Imola, the warmest in Italy, will be happy. The applause that welcomed Arnoux at the end of qualifying practice would be double if the small French would be able to take the Maranello’s car to the first position, repeating the action that last year Didier Pironi was able to do beating the poor Gilles Villeneuve. Being able also to do self-criticism in a day in which is obtained the best lap is for sure a sign of strength. And it is just what Mauro Forghieri, technical manager of Ferrari, does without a shadow of immodesty.
"We had many, too many problems; actually, we did not even think to our qualification because we were so busy to trying to solve our problems".
Which they had as origin?
"First thing injection control unit. They did not want to work properly. We found that they were full of humidity. They were dried and the problem for the moment disappeared. The on-backup car broke a piston: Tambay noticed that compression was missing. Thus we had to change the engine. Essentially because of these problems we did not try neither sets-up neither race tyres. We have to start from the beginning tomorrow morning".
But Arnoux did the best time.
"I think that on Saturday many will go faster. If we want to maintain the pole position will be necessary to improve, to go at least under one second per lap".
Less severe looks René Arnoux. The French is satisfied of the car.
"I am very happy, the car is almost perfect. We were able to set up new suspensions. Even the gearbox has been slightly updated and works great. The problem is only in finding the good lap. With tyres that do not allow more than a fast lap, it is a lottery".
On Alfa Romeo is a half satisfaction. De Cesaris and Baldi obtained sixth and seventh time, but both broke a turbocharger.
"If I will be able to run in the right way, you will see me better".
Around 3:00 p.m. a driver was set on fire in the paddock of Dino Ferrari. No fear, but, it was a simulation to show the fire resistance of the used suit by Sparco with a material (Nomex III) patented by the American company Dupont. Flames enveloped a metal arm provided of heat sensors, before wrapped with a normal fireproof fabric, then with a special fibre of the new combination. In the first case sensors indicated in few seconds the reaching of pain threshold, that is 70 °C, in the second case was over a minute. Anyone not knowing would think Saturday is race day, the crowds are enormous and 90% of them seem to be waving Ferrari banners and many of them still believe that Ferrari No. 27 belonged to Gilles Villeneuve. Most race organisers would settle for this crowd on race day and consider their event a success, but this is only the second day of practice at Imola. Conditions are warm and sunny and the morning test session sees not only a lot of activity but also a disproportionate amount of mechanical mayhem. Nobody is actually flying off the road, though there are a few harmless excursions here and there, but Patrese has to change over to the spare Brabham again when his own car breaks a drive-shaft. Guerrero has a similar happening on his Theodore-Ensign and with the spare car a non-runner he is forced to sit in the sun. Rosberg is in the spare Williams, which is the latest FW08C, while his own car has the rear springs changed, Lauda goes out in the spare McLaren and de Angelis uses his second Renault-powered Lotus 93T with a normal rear aerofoil in place of the four-bladed one. Giacomelli abandons his Toleman-Hart out on the circuit when the oil pressure fails and Warwick’s dual ignition engine isn’t working properly. Mansell is using his Cosworth DFY engine as is Watson, and Lauda has one in his number one car, but doesn’t rate it much of an improvement over a good DFV. The Williams team is remaining faithful to their John Judd developed Cosworth engines for Rosberg, rather than the new Cosworth works engine. Arnoux’s Ferrari breaks its engine and there is some feverish work to install another one but the Renault team seems trouble free and is getting on quietly juggling with all the variables in preparation for the qualifying hour in the afternoon.
While all the hangers-on, non-workers and party-goers have an early lunch the garage/workshops are a hive of activity as engines are changed, parts replaced, tyres are sorted out, gearboxes are checked and so on, as mechanics and engineers do their utmost to get all the cars in good fettle for the handful of qualifying laps their drivers are going to do between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.. The Toleman garage is a sorry sight with only the spare car complete and plans are laid for both Warwick and Giacomelli to use it to make their lap time for the starting grid, with the Englishman obviously having the first go. In the Alfa Romeo garage de Cesaris has opted to use the spare car from preference, but all the other teams have got their drivers in their proper cars. The fact that none of the big works teams sends a car out when the circuit has opened for qualifying indicates that something is in the wind. The Renault team is still in the shade of their pit garages as is the Ferrari team. The Bmw engines are being warmed-up at a constant 4.500 r.p.m. making their harsh crackle from the megaphone exhaust pipe that is characteristic of the Munich engines, and the Alfa Romeo garage seems to have a thousand people in it, all milling around the two drivers. There is such a tenseness in the air that it is obvious we are in for some very short, but very sharp action, and the thousands of Italians in the grandstands opposite the pits seem to sense it as only Italian racing enthusiasts can. Various people are putting in lap times in the 1'35"0 bracket, which is of little interest with pole position standing to René Arnoux’s Ferrari in 1'33"419 from the previous afternoon. Then Arnoux leaves the pit lane and the crowds buzz with anticipation, and burst into cheering as the loud-speaker announces a time of 1'33"007 on his first flying lap, a new pole-position time. His next is 1'33"102 and then he returns to the pits. Ferrari has played their first card. Piquet then goes out and did 1'33"988 as if to give notice that the BMW powered Brabham is not to be overlooked, and Patrese follows with 1'33"799 as another warning. Tambay takes his Ferrari round for two comparatively quiet laps in the 1'34"0 bracket and then flashes round in 1'32"603, a new pole-position time and Ferrari first and second.
The excitement among the public who are being kept well informed by the loud-speakers was visibly growing. Piquet goes out again as Tambay is on his slowing down lap and then there is pandemonium around the pit area for Tambay’s Ferrari is seen heading up the pit lane with smoke pouring from the right- hand exhaust pipe, indicative of a melted piston at the least. To add to this disaster Piquet puts in a lap in 1'32"784 and he has split the Ferraris, the Munich men are all smiles. Cheever has played the first card for Renault with a good lap in 1'33"450, but it is not good enough, and Prost has yet to make his first run. Patrese now records 1'32"969 to back up the Brabham team leader, but Ferrari with pole-position time standing at 1'32"603 to Tambay. Renault now wheels Prost out on his first set of tyres and he does a lap in 1'32"401 to put himself on pole, and the battle is now well and truly on. Piquet goes out on his second set of tyres and snatches pole position from Prost with a lap in 1'32"148 and follows it with a second lap at a searing 1'31"964; Bmw on pole position from Renault, with Ferrari third, the noise is getting louder. All this time Arnoux is sitting in his Ferrari in the shade of the pit garage, while next door the spare Ferrari is being made ready for Tambay as he still has a set of tyres to use. Arnoux is wheeled out on his second set of tyres and the crowds erupt, everything hangs on the little Frenchman, the whole honour of Italian motor racing is at stake. Away goes number 28 with Ferrari flags and banners waving all round the circuit and shouts and screams and applause, Arnoux wouldn’t let them down. Suddenly there is a deathly hush. Instead of accelerating past the pits and grandstands at over 150 m.p.h. the Ferrari is nosing into the pit lane. There is no consternation, just a complete silence, the silence of utter disbelief. Engineer Tomaini plugs his intercom connection into Arnoux’s helmet, mechanics pour water over the tyres to lower their temperature, a few more litres of petrol are put in the tank, some minor adjustments made to the mixture controls and then the engine is started and Arnoux sets off again and the crowd breathes again. Next time all is well and the Ferrari goes by on full song, the speed-trap timing indicating all but 152 m.p.h. as he gathers speed round the long left-hand bend after the pits. Arnoux doesn’t need any encouragement, but he gets it nevertheless and as he flashes by the pits again the Longines timing equipment records 1'31"238 (over 123.5 m.p.h. average speed).
All hell breaks loose and if you’re not waving and cheering you are liable to be crushed by those who are. But it isn’t over, Prost still has another set of tyres, as does Tambay, and while the crowds are still waving and cheering for little René Arnoux, the phlegmatic Prost improves on his own time with 1'32"138 to take third place and then Tambay is away in the spare Ferrari, and once more the crowds demonstrate their enthusiasm for Ferrari. Arnoux has gone out on the one-lap duration Goodyear tyres, in a do-or-die attempt, and he has do-ed, Tambay is more cautious and has opted for normal Goodyear qualifying tyres which give him a possible two attempts. He recorded 1'31"967, only three-hundredths away from the BMW time, but it is his final shot and he has to be content with third place. Brabham and BMW has split the Ferraris and though Maranello are on pole-position they have been really pushed by the might of Munich and Billancourt. Try as they might Alfa Romeo never get a look in and the customer cars of BMW and Renault, in the shape of Lotus and ATS, are right up behind this homeric battle of the giants. Teams like Williams, Tyrrell, McLaren and Toleman can only watch with their mouths open in awe, while the little amateur teams feel like weeping and going quietly away. The 1983 season has only just began and the work teams are going hard at each other like we haven’t seen for a long time. In the shadows are men from Porsche and Honda who watch it all with very serious expressions on their faces. Eleven minutes left to the end of San Marino Grand Prix qualifying, Ferrari did the other part of the miracle asked by fans. Nelson Piquet, with his Brabham, had up to that moment obtained the best time: 1'31"964, a result almost incredible, that muted grandstands of Dino Ferrari. Then, René Arnoux went on track and, followed by the invisible push of ten thousands of fans, went down to 1'31"238 (average of 198.864 km/h) which turned out to be unreachable by for all competitors. On Sunday, thus, the French and his red car with number 27 will start in pole position, the most coveted place. Surely Ferrari is the fastest car of Imola. But in the race, though, will play a decisive role the chose and efficiency of tyres, cars reliability, flying refuelling of petrol with the change of tyres and the day mood of drivers. A cocktail from which can come out any result. Only common denominator for the victory would be the turbo engine, that once again conquered first ten positions. And others? What will do Rosberg (best of drivers with natural aspired engine), Laffite, Lauda, Watson, Alboreto, De Angelis? Probably a wait-and-see tactic, they will try to take advantage do errors and trouble of stronger teams.
Among who stays to see and hope to collect something there is Alfa Romeo, eighth with De Cesaris and tenth with Baldi. The Romagnolo did only a lap since the breaking of a turbine (the same trouble, by the way, that hit Tambay’s Ferrari right after the best lap of Patrick). Practically stopped at pit remained Toleman Turbo of Warwick and Giacomelli, struggling with thousands of problems. The only certain thing is that will be present the public of great occasion, perhaps the biggest and excited crowd never seen around here. It will be a warm day, very warm under all aspects, even the weather one if will repeat the summer kind of Saturday. Last year the crowd witnessed to the emotional and challenged duel between Ferraris of Didier Pironi and Gilles Villeneuve. Do we will have a second? Winners of yesterday are worried to lose today, losers of yesterday are convinced to be able to win the San Marino Grand Prix. Contrasting feelings, that have technical roots. René Arnoux, very happy for the pole position, is the only of Ferrari to take a position in a favourable prediction. Not at all afraid of the crowd that surround him and push him at each step, the small French driver says in his haled Italian:
"I see a single car to first pass the finish line, is the Ferrari #28".
Then, more realistically, continues:
"It has been a fantastic fight for the qualifications. I found the right lap quit easily. In race, though, will be different, you never know what can happen. I had a slight problem of understeering that could result a handicap during race. This crowd? Wonderful, indescribable".
For Tambay the situation is less happy, even if Patrick shows himself happy with the car:
"With the full tank of petrol my Ferrari was perfect. So much so that I still do not know if I will try the flying refuelling. Perhaps is an excessive risk. We will decide at last moment. The car is still not light enough, as our opponents one".
If in Ferrari get their hands on, on the contrary Nelson Piquet looks confident:
"Our car is perfect. We have an exceptional grip, the wheels bite the asphalt as few times before. For the race my strongest opponents would be Patrese and Prost. Why? It is simple, Michelin race tyres are better than Goodyear ones, and if we will be able to let cool of Ferraris at beginning, we will come out at the distance".
Patrese, though, is not as optimistic:
"Practice went well, but in the morning I broke two axle shafts. We hope to not continue to be persecuted by bad luck".
In the background a chorus of complaints rises, especially of that drivers that do not have cars with turbo engine. For everyone talks Rosberg:
"We did our best. Differences during the race will be less accentuated. We hope to enter at least in points zone as we did until now. Otherwise I will be content to fight with Lauda".
Grandstands ticket that cost 100.000 lire are sold by scalpers at 130-140.000 lire. From weeks are sold out 15.000 grandstands seats and soon after ended lawn ticket too. There are expected more than 100.000 people at Dino Ferrari: there was perhaps 70.000 on Saturday for practice (two weeks ago in Le Castellet there was 30.000 on race day). People arrived by train, car and motorcycle, adventurously by hitchhiking. A ridge tends or only a sleeping bag to pass the night. People who come from all over Italy, Europe, but the great mass is Romagnolo. Imola is in Romagna, the homeland of engine, and the hearth beats for Ferrari. To understand what Ferrari is here, enough is this information. In first days of April autodromo was available to teams for free practice. For Ferrari day the ticket was 5.000 lire, and came 15.000 people. For other teams’ day the ticket was free, and there was almost no one.
"It is a think not even Freud would be able to explain".
They say in the autodromo. Naturally the idol is the small French Arnoux, that exalted the crowd, whatever he did.
"I knew of the Imola enthusiasm for Ferrari drivers, but I did not imagine it goes that far. It made me feel at home. Someone claims that a driver while running does not hear the crowd, but I say no. If one is cold can not feel the passion of the crowd, but I consider myself a sentimentalist and a crowd like this in of Imola helps me very much".
They say that if there were 70.000 people at practice is because the day before Arnoux made the best time. People was already in the autodromo at 7:00 a.m., with lunch bags. Hours and hours in a stunning sun, taking the benefits of an intolerable noise in any other situation. Competent people. The other Ferrari driver Tambay says, that run with a cotton t-shirt where he printed the portrait of his two years old daughter:
"I do not think there is another autodromo where the crow is just as passionate and competent. In no other circuit I saw so many people taking children. Evidently here the passion for races starts very soon".
And do excites you to race among this competent and passionate crowd?
"I am not in pole position and I will race more calm".
One of the places of the circuit where you suffer most and you exalt the most is that called Collina della passione, at Rivazza curve. A passion, here, close to furious. From here started some whistle for Rosberg, guilty of having put the Tambay’s Ferrari out of the running in the Long Beach race. Here, they almost went crazy to each passage of Tambay and above all of Arnoux, who sometimes were waving with the hand. In the Ferrari box mechanics feel among their people, and live these hours how does not go in any other autodromo. Even to them little boys ask autographs. The sports director Marco Piccinini says:
"For a Grand Prix of so recent tradition big crowd and so much enthusiasm is incredible. There are Grand Prix that drag themselves from many years and they do not have yet their loyal crowd, people on which you can always count on".
Last night Imola barely slept. Occasionally someone, inebriated by the long day of practice, was trying to arrive on the circuit with his own car (someone by motorcycle too) to measure themselves on Piratella, the most technical curve, or on Tosa curve, that has to be done with second gear and right out of it with third and fourth gear, to push on the straight where cars touch three hundred. They call them warriors of the night. The police and the autodromo staff do not have peace, they are not able to sleep not even a little to hunt them down. Roberto Nosetto is forty years old, he graduated in mechanical engineering at Torino polytechnic, he worked as technician for six years at Italian automotive sports committee, then from 1977 to 1979, he was in Ferrari, before as sports director and thus in the role of Fiorano circuit responsible. Since 1st January 1980 he is director of Dino Ferrari autodromo (so wanted at Maranello) and director of Sagis, the Bolognese company that organizes and manages the Grand Prix, even if the race is titled to San Marino. A work not insignificant, that full time absorbs him from a race to the other. Together with his wife Renata, his most valuable partner, is busy for several hours at day at phone, in the circuit.
"The most important problem to solve is the economic one. Now the Grand Prix on organizational level is started, it lives on almost automatic mechanisms. We, in practice, never saw the cars".
How much cost to do a Formula 1 Grand Prix?
"It is hard to absolute quantize costs of a so complex race. To have an idea, we can say this: in 1981, because of the rain, the attendance of the public was limited. We lose 700.000.000 lire. To travel on right track we need of sold out. This time we already sold all 14.000 seats of numbered grandstands. And we hope to have other 85.000 persons in the lawn. The major income, thus race financing, come from advertising, that is from billboards and banners, plus promotional. I spend the day to contact customers, and close contracts. Only in Monte-Carlo there is the queue that wants to pay. Here you have to look for it. Rent a representative room in box costs 18.000.000 of lire every year, in practice you can always take advantage for any manifestation. The room is quite spacious and comfortable: it is provided of telephone and television plug and there is a sink with tap water. Who rent it has even right to 20 permanent permits, that can rotate all day for its own guests. In practice, it is how having a show room that does not cost more than an office or of a pied-à-terre. It is even possible to put advertising under the window, over boxes. The organizations anyway is complex. Everyone has some problems to resolve: who wants to enter a car, who has a dog (animals prohibited in the circuit), who desires to not hear the car noise. People that work full time all the year are ten. In Grand Prix days add a hundred of controllers (earning 50-60.000 lire each day), 250 stewards, about thirty doctors (presents all the specializations, there is also a dentist), who give their service freely. Costs are expensive, even for that thing can be considered simplest. The toilet paper for the services of the box, for example, costs 1.000.000 lire. For four millions a company specialized is responsible for the cleaning of the autodromo after the race".
But what is the greatest satisfaction for Nosetto?
"If everything goes well, I am happy. But the moment that I fear the most arrives on Monday morning, when Enzo Ferrari telephones. If he does not yell at me, it means that things went well".
And, to not missing anything, a newest rescue vehicle is present inside the Dino Ferrari circuit to intervene in case of serious incident. It is a Agusta A109A helicopter fully equipped for rapid intervention. The aircraft, white painted, with the classic red cross on sides, it is provided of stretcher placed transversely inside the fuselage, and all the most modern systems for resuscitation. A team of doctors can fly together, in case of need. The sunday morning has started with clear blue skies, but before the warm-up half-hour begins some ominous clouds have appeared, but the rain keeps away and the cool atmosphere is absolutely ideal for racing. There is little doubt that Ferrari uses special tweaked-up engines for practice and qualifying and they often blow apart, whereas their race engines are models of reliability, and there is an air of confidence about the team. Bmw knows they have got the red cars on the run and Piquet and Patrese are completely confident in Gordon Murray’s sleek Brabhams, the Brazilian out to win yet again on this circuit that he likes and the Italian out to win on his home ground even though he would be labelled a traitor if he does so. The Renault team has had so few problems in practice, apart from not being fast enough, that they are not over-confident for the race. Alfa Romeo are thrown into a panic during the warm-up when de Cesaris has the throttle pedal stick down and skates off the road on the uphill Acqua-Minerale corner and rolls the car upside down onto the wall of old tyres. This is the spare car, and it is only damaged superficially so it is dusted down and repaired in time for the race. The ATS team has intended to race their new car but the fuel tank sprung a leak so they are kept hard at work fettling-up the old car for Winkelhock. The Toleman team are still in trouble for Warwick’s twin-plug engine is still having electrical trouble due to a fault somewhere in the chassis installation, so he is going to have to race the spare car. On the previous afternoon this car has broke its differential output shaft after one flying lap so Giacomelli do not get a drive, but even so he has qualified comfortably with his Friday time. The new Osella-Alfa Romeo V12 is too new to even qualify, but Fabi has qualified the Cosworth DFV powered car.
Piquet feels his Bmw go off-song and the Brabham is snatched away to have a new engine installed, while he goes out in the spare car and before the end of the half-hour Prost’s Renault dies on him with the injection pump seized up, but a new one is soon fitted when the car is towed back to the pits. With the first five rows of the grid occupied by turbocharged 1½-litre engined cars, two Ferrari, two Brabhams, two Renaults, two Alfa Romeos, and one each from Lotus and ATS, the Cosworth brigade are wondering why they are there. With 120-degree V6 from Ferrari, 4-cylinder from Bmw, 90-degree V6 from Renault and 90-degree V8 from Alfa Romeo there is more than enough technical interest for most people, and by mid-season they should be joined by 80-degree V6 engines from Porsche and Honda. There are small Formula car races and saloon car races to keep the enormous crowd amused, but in reality they are happy enough with their wine and picnics in the pleasant countryside, waiting with anticipation for the sort of race that Saturday’s qualifying has suggested. They are not to be disappointed. At 2:00 p.m. the pit lane is opened and you do not have to look to know that a Ferrari has accelerated away, the noise from the crowd tells you that, nor do you have to look to see that it was Rosberg on his way with the Williams, the whistles and cat-calls tell you that. Italy hasn’t forgiven him for punting Tambay’s Ferrari out of the lead of the Long Beach race. Afraid that somebody might have an unfair advantage everyone who is in with a chance, and some that aren’t, are planning pit stops for petrol and tyres, Ferrari, Brabham, Williams, Renault, Lotus, Alfa Romeo and Ligier all being geared up for stops, starting the race on soft sticky tyres and with only 25-27 gallons in the tank instead of the maximum permitted 55 gallons. In consequence of this the pit lane is kept commendably clear of unnecessary people, including some sponsorship people who seem to think they own Formula 1. After the clouds of midday the sun has returned, but not with unbearable heat so all is set for a good race, but not for everyone. As the cars complete their warm-up lap and assemble on the grid a plume of smoke is seen heading for the pit-lane and under it is the Lotus 93T/1 of Elio de Angelis, the Renault engine has devoured a turbocharger before the race has started, as it has done in Brazil. The Lotus mechanics hurriedly wheel the spare car 93T/2 onto the grid and a dejected de Angelis transfers himself to it. As it is not fitted with a large quick-action petrol filler the idea of a rapid pit-stop has to be abandoned on the spot.
Away they all go on their parade lap, following Arnoux’s red Ferrari, while the crowds cheer and wave. While the two Ferrari drivers know who is being cheered some of the other drivers must have been thinking that they would put a stop to the cheering if they possibly could. One of these is Nelson Piquet, in second position on the grid. All twenty-six cars arrived back in formation and line up in staggered pairs, the Alfa Romro GTV fire cars and the doctor’s 400i Ferrari are in place at the back of the grid. The red lights come on, then the green and with a roar twenty-five cars shoot forward, the twenty-sixth stall. It was Nelson Piquet’s Brabham-Bmw on the front row on the right and as he crouch down in the cockpit waiting for a repeat of the ghastly accident at Montreal last year, everyone miraculously avoid the stationary car, and each other. After everyone have gone the start-line marshals push-start the Brabham and with the Bmw engine giving the rev-limiter a hard time Piquet takes off in a cloud of smoke from spinning rear wheels. It is joy day for Italy all round the first lap with Arnoux leading from Tambay, Ferrari first and second, and again on the next lap, with Patrese, ProSt and de Cesaris following. Cries of derision greet the sight of Cheever’s Renault heading slowly into the pits with smoke pouring from one of the exhaust pipes. A turbocharger has destroyed itself and Cheever is out on only his second lap. Cecotto has also stopped on the second lap to have his visor cleaned as he has collected a lot of oil from Cheever’s ailing Renault and that done he rejoins the race. There is every chance that we are in for a goodly bout of tigering from Piquet as he makes up for his muffed start, but it is not to be for he has taken the fine edge off his engine as he over-rev once he gets going, possibly damaging a valve seat or valve tip, but whatever it is he can barely match the pace of the leaders let alone make up any ground on them. On lap three the crowd becomes a bit subdued for Patrese has overtaken Tambay’s Ferrari, and on lap six there is a stony silence round the circuit for the Brabham-Bmw driver overtakes Arnoux’s Ferrari and is leading the race! You would expect the Italians to cheer an Italian driver in the lead of a race in Italy, but to the 100.000 and more at Imola Patrese is a traitor, driving a foreign car and actually leading the Ferraris. In Italy drivers are relatively unimportant, it is the cars that count, and the red ones in particular.
Almost unnoticed Guerrero and Sullivan have had a coming-together, leaving the Colombian driver’s Theodore flange along the guard rail and the American’s Tyrrell still in the race. Alboreto comes to rest in the hills in the other Tyrrell with a broken gearbox and a lap later Lauda joins him with the front of his McLaren smashed up, having made a mistake at the chicane on the highest point of the circuit, and on the same lap Cecotto slides off the track into retirement. The race has barely started and five cars are out. There isn’t much enthusiasm for watching Patrese lead the race and no doubt there are many spectators putting the evil-eye on him as he goes by in a safe and secure lead. Arnoux is keeping the blue and white Brabham in sight, but he is not menacing it, and Tambay is dropping back a little but is firmly ahead of Prost. Then came de Cesaris (Alfa Romeo) all on his own and already a long way back comes World Champion Rosberg in his Williams, driving his heart out as always, passing Baldi’s turbocharged Alfa Romeo and Winkelhock’s turbocharged Bmw-powered ATS that is proving to be a bit of a handful, having been hastily built up during the lunch hour. There do not seem to be any solution to this unsatisfactory state of affairs, but as all the front runners are planning to stop for more petrol and new tyres all is not lost for the huge crowd. Arnoux is the first to stop, at the end of lap 20 or exactly one third distance and he is away in 16 sec., but it has dropped him down to fifth place and given Patrese an even bigger lead. Piquet in the other dart- shaped Brabham-Bmw is still working his way through the field, but not at an exciting rate and is now in eighth place, behind de Angelis in the Lotus-Renault. While Arnoux is regaining his pace Giacomelli retires his Toleman when a badly fitted bolt in the left rear suspension sheares and about the same time Corrado Fabi spans off the road and out of the race. All round the circuit the corners are becoming covered with rubber chips off the tyres, mixed with road surface chippings in places, and any inattention on the part of a driver, or misjudgement, can put a car onto these marbles and then all would be lost. In the time towards half distance not very much happens at the front of the field and Patrese holds an untroubled lead from Tambay, Prost, de Cesaris, Arnoux, Rosberg, Piquet, de Angelis, Baldi, Laffite, Watson and Mansell, all spread out with the only excitement being a little scrap between Watson and Mansell before they are lapped by the leader.
At the end of lap 27 Prost peels off into the pit lane, followed by de Cesaris, and the Renault team gets their man back in the race in 16.4 sec. but the Alfa Romeo team takes much longer as their driver overshot his pit and has to reverse back. These stops naturally let Arnoux by up into third place but Prost rejoins before Rosberg appears, so the order now is Patrese, Tambay, Arnoux, Prost, Rosberg, de Cesaris, Piquet, de Angelis, Baldi, and Laffite, the rest now being a lap behind. On lap 30 Rosberg is in and out of the pits with more petrol and new tyres in 14.1 sec., but even so Piquet and de Cesaris go by while he is stationary and on lap 32 Tambay is into the pits. Petrol went in, the four wheels are changed and he is away in 15 sec. without losing his second place. On lap 34 it is Patrese’s turn to stop and he misjudged his braking and overshoots by about three feet which is not serious enough to justify reversing but it means that the 11 mechanics who are poised and ready for action have to move their positions. It still isn’t serious, but then one of the air-lines to the pneumatic wheel hammers is stretched and pulls off its connection and though the Brabham mechanics recover the situation very quickly 23.30 sec. has elapsed before the car is away. This has let Tarnbay go by into the lead and joy breaks out again all round the circuit. All eyes are on Brabham number six to see if it is gaining on Ferrari number 27, and almost unnoticed Piquet makes his scheduled pit stop in an incredible 11.2 sec. but even so it lets de Cesaris by into fifth place. Laffite has made his stop in 14.0 sec. and now the second half of the race is being run. While all the excitement of the pit stops have been taking place Warwick has got off line at the Rivazza corners at the bottom of the hill on the back of the circuit and has skated off into the tyre barriers, and ten laps later Sullivan does the same thing and his Tyrrell destroys the back end of the crashed Toleman. Jarier has retired his Ligier with an overheated Cosworth engine when a stone punctures a radiator and lest all the water out and de Angelis withdraws after a stop to try another set of Pirellis. On lap 42 a sad Piquet comes slowly into the pits his Bmw engine broken and de Cesaris goes out when his Alfa Romeo V8 expires. At the front of the race Patrese is giving it all he knows and is catching the leading Ferrari slowly but surely, and though Tambay responds he cannot match the Brabham lap times for his engine is beginning to misfire on left-hand bends as if there is a fuel pick-up problem being aggravated by centrifugal force in one direction only.
Although everyone is urging him on the Brabham is closing relentlessly and for three laps they are nose to tail. Then the Brabham is alongside as they disappear round the very fast left-hand curve after the pits to start lap 55 and with the Ferrari engine misfiring at peak r.p.m. Tambay has to resign himself to watching the Bmw M-Power car go by into the lead. Another stony silence falls over the entire circuit. Round the Tosa hairpin the Ferrari loses ground; it is all over and Tambay resigns himself to second place for team-mate Arnoux is a distant third, never having got back into his stride after his pit stop, and Prost is an even more distant fourth struggling along with an engine that has lost its sharp edge and a gearbox that is reluctant to engage fourth gear. Everyone else has been lapped by the leaders, even World Champion Rosberg who is still driving his heart out in the uncompetitive Williams-Cosworth DFV. Suddenly a cheer goes up that Enzo Ferrari must hear in Maranello. Patrese has crashed, unhurt but the Brabham is a smoking wreck against the tyre barrier on the outside of the Acqua Minerale corner. Only three corners after taking the lead Patrese has gone a fraction too fast through the chicane at the bottom of the hill, the tail has flicked right, he catches it but it has then flicked left, he catches it again but this puts him off line for the uphill right-hander of Aqua Minerale and he gets on the marbles and under-steered off into the tyre wall and it is all over. While marshals are running to the crashed Brabham and yellow flags are waving Arnoux arrives, gets off line and spans off onto the grass. He keeps the Ferrari engine running, rolls down the hill on the grass and rejoins the race, but not before Prost has gone by into his third place and Tambay has re-appeared to put him a lap behind. While the crowd waves and cheers and fete Patrick Tambay all round the circuit on his last five laps there is a lot of drama behind him. The four-tier rear aerofoil on the Lotus 92 of Nigel Mansell suddenly breaks off and sends the car into a series of spins on the fastest part of the circuit and he is lucky to escape unhurt when it crashes into the barriers. Mauro Baldi’s Alfa Romeo engine blows up and Winkelhock’s Bmw engine expires just as he starts his fifty-eighth lap. An expectant crowd waits at the pits and start line area for the arrival of the winner but he never appears! Arnoux arrives, Prost arrives, Rosberg arrives and the tail-enders trickle in but no #27. The Ferrari has died half-way round on the slowing down lap, apparently out of petrol and eventually Tambay is brought round in one of the Alfa Romeo course cars and takes his place on the winner’s rostrum with Prost and Arnoux and the rejoicing begins.
Ferrari did not miss the date with its fans. Patrick Tambay - with the complicity of Riccardo Patrese - won the San Marino Grand Prix, fourth round of Formula 1 World Championship, sending 100.000 people into a frenzy. The success is touched to the car with #27, a number that last year on this track would have succeed with Gilles Villeneuve if Didier Pironi would no overturn of Canadian and Scuderia plans. The Maranello’s driver preceded Alain Prost and René Arnoux. Keke Rosberg, World Champion, fourth in the standings, has been the best among the competitors with car provided of naturally aspired engine. In the world standings Prost joins Piquet at the top and Tambay rises to third position with an only of separation. It has been an incredible, daring race. A race very different from the one of fifteen days before at Le Castellet, dominated by Renault and by boredom. Twists and turns started at first lap and ended practically at the last, when the crazy crowd with red and yellow flags of Ferrari invaded the track. Tambay, after having crossed the finish line, stopped along the circuit and went out of the car: soon has been in the grip of affection of fans, bobbled here and there, thrown into the air. To be afraid of. The joy of the Italian driver lasted for few instants. At Variante Alta Riccardo made a serious mistake. He went out of trajectory and the car slipped on dirt of debris asphalt. The Brabham went out of trach and violently hit the protections. And a ruthless scream raised from the crowd. Tambay and Ferrari won, the French, author of an impeccable race, could say thank you to the Italian. This is the most dramatic episode of the race. But there was no lack of other emotions. More or less in the same place of the Patrese’s crash, Arnoux, perhaps confused by warnings of stewards, that were indicating the incident, he made a spin. The car plunged in the grass at the edge of the roadway: the French was able to maintain the engine up, he run the track in reverse and returned to the race when was permitted to him, giving the second place to Prost. Victims, luckily without damages, of other spectacular incidents: Mansell (Lotus) with seven spins, since the losing of rear wing, Guerrero (Theodore) collided with Sullivan (Tyrrell), while Lauda (McLaren) remained with brakes locked. Saved the usual brave Rosberg, fourth, Watson very regular and the brilliant Surer. Only the impossibility of having a turbo engine does not allow the Swiss to put himself among the best.
Anyway it has been the day of Ferraris. In the circuit titled to Dino, the son of Maranello’s constructor, the Modenese Scuderia wrote another page. Maybe a lucky page, but always valid. A show in the show has been built by the crowd: over to 120.000 people. Late morning organizers sold out the supply of ticked for the lawn. And thus they recurred to cinematograph one: so, everything is a show. The health service had to fully commit, but this time only for spectators. There have been cured a hundred people, from a man who drank too much to a fractured one, from people victim of injuries to who has been injured trying to climb over protections nets. A separate chapter is up to the lost and - luckily - found again children. As the small Roberta (three years old), who was waiting for his father in the house of a guardian of one the car parks since the race start. She has been returned at the end. So, they thought, she is safe. Patrick Tambay arrived at Ferrari box, before the award ceremony on the podium, almost naked. The French spent few minutes in the grip of fans, experiencing a bit of fear. He had to leave in place helmet and gloves, ended in the hands of some collector of souvenir, and he difficulty saved the suit.
"The most beautiful satisfaction of my life. I dedicate the victory to Enzo Ferrari. The car was magic and the crowd wonderful, but I was scared. Souvenir hunters took me away helmet, gloves, ripped the suit".
Then someone remembered him Gilles Villeneuve. His car, at the start, was lined up in the same place where last year started the late Canadian driver, in which it would be his last race.
"Sure, the memory of Gilles helped me. I was touched, I raced for him too. During all the race I said to me that I was in car number 27, the one of a champion. I could not fail and evidently, seen how the Grand Prix ended, someone protected me. I tried a strong emotion at the starting. My car was lined up in the same place where last year started Villeneuve. I noticed that on the asphalt was drawn a Canadian flag and the inscription Gilles forever. I was touched. Often during the race happened to me to think to Gilles".
The French tells the episode of the overtaking of Patrese, of the out- track of the Paduan.
"Riccardo was clearly faster. He was earning almost a second per lap against me. I tried to take advantage of double, to keep him away at all costs. But he rushed me. I had a problem since lap 28. In fast left curve the engine of my Ferrari seemed to misfire. And it was right while I was in difficulty that Brabham past in front of me. I thought: it is over, I have to settle of the second place. But I have not lost hearth. I tried to follow Patrese as a shadow, in the hoping that he were to commit a mistake. In the Variante Alta I noticed that there were problems. I previous passage I had the wrong trajectory of ten centimetres and the car was leaning in a dangerous way. The Brabham entered in that point very fast, and I right after I notice it could be the decisive moment. In fact it ended out-track. After, it was only a breeze".
Tambay, confesses that, in the Acque Minerali curve, the edge of the track was degraded. Lap after lap, all the cars have put their tyres on that precise point, and now the asphalt was unglued, with tyres and oil residues.
"The lap before I risked to going out in that point and I understood I should have tightened the curve of few centimetres. When it turned to Patrese to put his tyre right only for a fraction of second he was not able to remedy. It is so: motor racing will have surprise until the finish line".
Now he is second, a point behind, in the World Championship standings.
"I intend to plan the championship, to arrive at half, before Silverstone, with thirty points. I think that this championship will be decided at last race".
At the end of the race, the poor Patrese hides in a dark corner in the box. The Paduan looks broken, morally grounded. Drinking a can of orange he admits honestly his own responsibility for the incident.
"There is nothing to do, it was my mistake. It is not true that I was at limit. I was trying to always maintain the same pace thar was superior to Tambay one. Sadly I was took by surprise. In the Variante Alta I ended on the crushed asphalt and the Brabham goes off at tangent. A big crash, also I had afraid to hurting myself. On many occasions I was unlucky, this time everything was perfect, the car went like clockwork and I failed. That anger".
Riccardo did not even want to comment the thunderous applause with which the public, all for Ferrari, welcomed his clamorous retirement.
"I am used to this treatment. Ferrari is a myth, the driver does not count. It is a disappointment difficult to swallow, but I can not do anything. What hurt me the most, anyway, are not jeers, those whistles that follow me at each lap. The sorrow, is for the mistake I made, unforgivable. It is a stun, I do not understand, perhaps a curse. You can not go against Maranello. But that is not what matter. I lost a race already won".
Bernie Ecclestone, owner of the English Scuderia, angry for the missed victory, tries to find a mystic explanation, with the typical Anglo-Saxon concern:
"Neither our patron San Giorgio took over against San Marino. However against Ferrari he knew how to do once".
Riccardo is down, but not definitely defeated. The volitive character, the ability, the determination will soon make him forget what happened. Indeed appear soon in him feelings of revenge.
"The car is now perfect, better than Ferrari as grip and corner speed. I will try to do it right away, in Monte-Carlo in two weeks. I want to fight against the misfortune that follows me, to show to fans that I deserve another kind of applause".
In the Ferrari clan the victory (the number 85 in the story of Maranello team, the second for Tambay after the Hockenheim one of last year) is welcomed with great joy. The illness registered at Le Castellet seem to have been overcome. Mauro Forghieri declares:
"First and third: no, we did not aspect so much. Two weeks ago in France we seemed in complete crisis, today we are on the podium. It is a very important victory because we are among our public and it is needed to make a good impression, and because we knew that here would be hard, that everyone would have waited us to battle us. Changes at box, did you see them, have been wonderful. There is also to say that, as regards the tyres problem, we did a step forward. An important affirmation, we are on the right path. Only the Patrese’s Brabham went faster than our cars. Arnoux had problems with tyres and returned at box ahead of schedule. So we did fill up with patrol and he did not maintain the same speed. The new suspension, though, has proven to be right and above all for the moment we no longer had problems with turbine. This is not an old car, but the 126 C2 almost completely updated. We will transfer part of this technology on new car. The debut, tough, will not happen for the Monaco Grand Prix on 15th May, but perhaps at the end of the month".
There is, in the Ferrari tent, even René Arnoux, who was the best in the official practice. The French arrived third because a spin happened to him, even him, at Acque Minerali.
"Very glad about the pole position, for the victory of Ferrari, to be on the podium. Very glad for this joy of the public. Thus, I should be satisfied of the day. But no, because for me the satisfaction is to win races. Six laps leading and I believed in victory. The, something to the tyres".
You do not touch Ferrari. Even Keke Rosberg understood it which in Imola had to go around escorted by police, because guilty of having knocked out Tambay in Long Beach. Bitterly experienced by Riccardo Patrese, that in the San Marino Grand Prix was wrong to precede in some phases of the race Ferrari drivers. The Maranello’s Scuderia raises visceral passions, it is a myth, enjoys (rightly) of a huge consideration. But right for this it does not need of certain forces. To transform the love for Ferrari to hate towards rivals it is not either sportive either qualifying. There is to believe that anti- Patrese whistles (and then applauses and joy screams when he went out of track) have bittered even Enzo Ferrari. And perhaps Ferrari, in private, expressed words of encouragement for the Italian driver. It would have been nice, though, if the Maranello’s team went out some official words of comfort for who showed, however, to be a generous racer. To remain in Ferrari house, another theme, the tyres one. In Maranello they do not talk about it happily. The argument is taboo. When you want to refer to tyres, the most used appellation is that of shoes. Shoes are not right, should be tight, they hurt. It is true: this year Goodyears gave problems during race (and only to Maranello’s team): but when you do technical choices, you need to accept negative sides as positive ones. The important is to understand why certain things do not work. Meanwhile the public moves with flags, drunk of victory. Five, six hours after the race, streets that leave Imola are still parallelized by cars arrived from all the region, from each part of Italy.