Eight races in out of sixteen, let’s have a look at how the teams are doing so far in this dramatic season.
Not great so far for Bernie’s Boys – the team expected some teething troubles with their BMW turbo engines, but having to go back to the BT49/Cosworth combination wasn’t part of the plan. Patrese doesn’t seem to mind though and has done well in the old car, even inheriting a lucky win in Monaco. Piquet’s DNQ in Detroit unfortunate and slightly embarrassing but bounced back with a win in Canada and if the team really have cracked the problems, they should be strong in the second half of the season.
A strong start to the season with Alboreto impressing but the team still on last year’s 011 chassis and the others seem to have caught up. Reliability is also starting to be a factor, with Alboreto retiring three times in the last four races. Second drivers Borgudd and Henton haven’t impressed though, with neither troubling the scorers.
Mixed fortunes for Williams so far: Reutemann’s shock departure after two rounds left the inexperienced Rosberg having gone from unemployed to team leader in a few short weeks. Rosberg rose to the challenge and could win in the right circumstances, but Derek Daly hasn’t got the hang of the car just yet. The team are in danger of being left behind by the turbos though.
Much improved from 1981 so far, with Lauda impressively quick after two years away and Watson really getting to grips with the excellent MP4/1 chassis. Three wins out of eight for the team so far and with the turbo teams hit by unreliability you wouldn’t bet against them for one or more of the championships.
Not bad so far for the little German team, though their tyre troubles haven’t helped. Beginning the season on Avon rubber, Ecclestone contrived to stop supplies getting through to Imola and the team switched to Goodyears. The team has qualified every time except Winkelhock in Canada and scored points twice, with Winkelhock coming in 5th in only his second race, but they have to sort out reliability issues – too many DNFs on the board.
Better than last year so far but still missing the essential speed to go with their improved reliability. Apart from Mansell’s third in Brazil, team often runs in the lower points but rarely looks like challenging the leaders. The Lotus 91 is a good chassis though and Ford have worked on a special engine exclusively for the team, who will hope to improve later the season. Do Elio and Nigel have what it takes, though?
Dreadful season so far – Guerrero yet to finish a race even on the three occasions he has qualified. Not always his fault – mixing in the midfield leads to accidents – but by this point last year Marc Surer had scored twice.
Oh dear. After the demonstration in South Africa and Prost’s win in Brazil, the other teams were worried that it would be a walkover. Instead, Renault haven’t scored since and have only finished a couple of times despite impressive performances in qualifying. The sight of a yellow and white car pulling over in a cloud of smoke has become depressingly familiar. If they can sort that out, they will be unstoppable.
Things not improving for the RAM management team despite early season promise. Six qualifications and only one retirement in the first three races gave way to failures to Qualify and even Pre-Qualify on occasion. The team seem to be stretching themselves too thin to accommodate Emilio de Villota’s extra car even if it is being managed by a separate team – a lesson they should have learned last year where they improved after dropping to one car.
The team limp on with Chico Serra doing his best and qualifying for half the races entered so far, and even scoring a point in Belgium. With a tiny budget and very little sponsorship, they’re doing as well as – probably better than – can be expected.
A new car, and new management team in EuroRacing seem to be paying dividends, and de Cesaris seems to have matured since his McLaren escapades. If they could just persuade the car to get to the end of a race, they might score more points, but de Cesaris’ fortuitous third place in Monaco remains the best so far.
Disappointment after such a strong 1981 as the new JS19 chassis is delayed until Monaco, then has to go back for more development and continual delays to the planned Matra turbo engine. Despite this, Cheever has proved an excellent acquisition with two podium finishes so far, while Laffite has only managed one point, in Detroit. The team just hope that when the JS19 Turbo is ready it will be worth the wait.
The car is good, with a balance of speed and reliability, though it handles poorly on some circuits. However, the political fallout from the San Marino race followed by the tragedy of Villeneuve’s death have dealt huge blows to the team’s hopes. Didier Pironi is nothing if not driven, though, and clearly feels this is his year. If the team can rally behind him and he gets good support from Tambay, it could still happen.
A very different kettle of fish from last year’s early season, where Riccardo Patrese was qualifying high up the grid and had finished twice on the podium. Henton and Baldi have struggled to qualify and while Surer has done better the team had to wait for their first points until Canada. At least the cars are reasonably reliable and usually finish when they qualify.
Another hard blow for the little Italian team, the death of Riccardo Paletti coming on the heels of the death last year of mechanic Giovanni Amadeo has the potential to completely knock the fight out of them unless the experienced and driven Jarier can rally them.
Things not going well for the little Hong Kong team – only one finish so far this season (Daly 14th in South Africa), Lammers posted three DNQs before hurting himself and Geoff Lees did better only to be an innocent victim of the Pironi/Paletti accident in Canada. A combination of bad luck and no budget is not a great combination for a Formula One team – they must hope for better in part two.
The little British team is still struggling to qualify, with 7 DNQ/DNPQs out of 12 tries so far, and only one finish – Teo Fabi in the reduced San Marino GP, so far back he wasn’t classified. The team’s decision to miss the mid-season flyaway races to concentrate on car development has to pay dividends if the year isn’t to be a complete washout. Again. The loss of Candy sponsorship to Tyrrell won’t help either.