The Constructors Champions had spent much of the winter period trying to persuade Alan Jones to reconsider his decision to retire, while at the same time trying to placate Carlos Reutemann who had no real desire to spend another season as second fiddle to the Australian. When Jones confirmed his decision, that at least meant that “Lole” would be staying and Frank Williams made headlines by offering the second drive to Keke Rosberg, an undoubtedly talented but relatively untried driver who had been released by the Fittipaldi team.
The team had spent some of the winter working on a six-wheeled chassis, the FW08B, which had set impressive testing times with Rosberg and Jonathan Palmer at the wheel, but problems with the drive train mean that the team would start with last year’s FW07C while a four-wheel FW08 was also developed in case the six-wheeler’s problems could not be solved.
The enigmatic Argentine had left pundits and fans scratching their heads when, needing only to finish ahead of Nelson Piquet, he faded into anonymity at Caesar’s Palace to lose the title by one point. A winter of wondering whether Jones would return left him in limbo, but perhaps a fresh start out of Jones’ shadow was just what he needed.
Finland’s first regular F1 driver had had a bit of an odd winter. The cash-strapped Fittipaldi team had laid him off to drop to one car, but when Alan Jones definitively retired, a phone call with Frank Williams put him in the top constructor’s car for 1982 – a big difference from struggling to qualify and scoring no points in 1981.