1982 was always supposed to be a development year for Ecclestone and Murray, but even they were surprised at exactly how far behind they were early on. After annoying BMW by switching back to the Cosworth engined car for several races, they finally got the car working in the latter part of the season, only for a series of breakdowns to scupper their otherwise brilliant pitstop strategy. Nonetheless, the team can look forward to winter testing and Gordon Murray’s new car for 1983 is nearly finished already.
3. Michele Alboreto
4. Slim Borgudd / Brian Henton
With a tiny budget and running most of the year with no sponsorship, Tyrrell had a better year than most were expecting. Michele Alboreto was widely talked about as a future Ferrari driver and did his credentials no harm with a series of fine drives culminating in a deserved win. With the lack of resources, the team’s second drivers Borgudd and Henton were probably always going to get the short straw, but both were simply blown into the weeds by Alboreto.
On the face of it, one pole, one win and 4th place in the championship was a bit of a comedown after two seasons of relative dominance – however, with the sudden retirement of number one driver Reutemann and the increasing dominance of turbo engines, it was a pretty good result. The reliability and speed of the FW08 and Rosberg’s aggressive driving style – and a modicum of luck – brought the Finn the World Championship, a sharp contrast to Derek Daly in the second car who seemed content to mix it in the midfield and rarely looked like challenging for a podium place.
Given that 1982 was supposed to be a year of treading water and getting Lauda back into the swing of things while waiting for the development of the Porsche Turbo engines in time for 1983, second place in the Constructors’ Championship and four wins wasn’t a bad haul at all, and the team’s best showing since 1977 and James Hunt. John Watson and Niki Lauda seemed evenly matched; the Austrian’s better qualifying record balanced by Watson’s knack of carving through the field. The team can look forward to even better in 1983.
The little German team had reasons to be confident at the start of the year after a robust 1981, and the first half of the season went well; Winkelhock scored points twice and the team was usually there or thereabouts in midfield. The loss of their Avon tyres mid-season and the introduction by other teams of new cars saw ATS slipping back down the grid and Winkelhock and Salazar could also be overly aggressive and a lot of money was spent re-building the same couple of chassis over again.
11. Elio de Angelis
12. Nigel Mansell / Roberto Moreno / Geoff Lees
The historic team took another small step upwards in 1982, but de Angelis’ win in Austria flattered to deceive: for most of the season the Lotus 91 simply wasn’t as good as the other two major DFV teams, the Williams and the McLaren, and the two drivers were reduced to circulating in midfield and picking up minor points when the others dropped out. Mansell put in some fine combative drives as usual, while de Angelis often just faded when the car didn’t work for him. Renault Turbo power in 1983 could turn the corner for the team though.
A neat chassis turned out to work better on the Michelin tyres that replaced the original Avons, while pay-driver Guerrero turned out to be more talented than given credit for; after the tyre switch, he often qualified in the top 20 and ran strongly despite only finishing one race all season. However, the team’s lack of finance really hamstrung them, and with few spares available the car got more and more fragile and worn-out as the season progressed, until finally the engine gave up the ghost at Caesar’s Palace and there was nothing to replace it with. Will Mo Nunn’s impoverished but feisty team see 1983?
Another year of great expectations and eventual disappointments. After the dominance of Kyalami and Brazil, the team looked unstoppable, then posted a long series of DNFs that had pundits talking about the plug being pulled entirely. However, reliability improved sufficiently in the second half of the season to net them third in the Constructors’ championship, which seemed to dispel such rumours. There was no getting around the fact though that the year had been a major disappointment and better would be expected in 1983.
All the ingredients seemed to be there for a successful season for March after their dire debut: a good sponsorship deal from Rothmans, the experienced Jochen Mass, a car that was reliable if not overly fast and an experienced management team in RAM. Instead, some baffling decisions (splitting resources to run de Villota’s third car, buying up the exiting Avon firm’s tyre stock instead of switching to another firm) and a modicum of bad luck in Jochen Mass’s two accidents that led him to retire meant another pointless year for the manufacturer, who must be questioning their decision to re-enter F1.
For such an illustrious name to be struggling so badly was a shame, but against the background of constant rumours that the team would fold before the next race, they didn’t do badly after all. Releasing Rosberg in favour of Serra seems like a silly move when you look at Rosberg’s trajectory, but the Finn’s aggressive style led to too many accidents while Serra could be relied on to bring the car home and was rewarded by a point in Belgium. Scant reward for the effort, but nonetheless welcome to keep them off the bottom of the table.
If Renault proved a disappointment to the mother company in 1982, then Alfa Romeo were beginning to be an embarrassment. Their fifth year in Formula One saw them once again hanging around in midfield, rarely challenging for position and generally being shown up by the Cosworth runners – the team was only as high as 10th in the table thanks to de Cesaris’ fluke third place in Monaco. De Cesaris was one of the most improved drivers on the grid, but still had a wild streak, while Giacomelli often didn’t even seem to be trying.
After the title challenges of 1980 and 81, Ligier’s 1982 was nothing short of a disaster. Infighting in the team, confusion over the precise role of Talbot in the setup, the loss of designer Gerard Ducarouge to Alfa Romeo and the resultant flop that was the JS19 and the non-appearance of the promised Matra Turbo engine all conspired to scupper any hopes the team had. Eddie Cheever turned out to be a find, though, and on the rare occasion the car worked he made the most of it, while Laffite seemed to be simply disillusioned with the whole affair.
After an embarrassing 1980 and an improved 1981, 1982 should have been Ferrari’s year and if it hadn’t been for Villeneuve’s tragic accident and Pironi’s horrific injury it’s fair to assume that the 126C2’s combination of speed and reliability would have brought them the Drivers’ title as well as the Constructors’. The fact that they took the title while running as a one-car team for much of the season says much for the car, while Patrick Tambay proved to be an inspired signing, scoring points in every race he started for the team. Will he stay to partner Arnoux for 1983? Will Pironi recover in time to rejoin the team?
After losing iconic driver Riccardo Patrese to Brabham after four years, the team expected results to dip, but hadn’t expected things to be quite such a struggle as they were in the early part of the season. Once Surer returned and the new A5 debuted, things improved and Baldi increasingly got the hang of racing as well. Both drivers managed to score points by the simple expedient of keeping the car on the road while others fell by the wayside, and things bode well for a continued improvement in 1983.
The little Italian team’s decision not to replace Paletti after his tragic death is testament to the fact that Osella had effectively been a one-car team up to that point anyway, with Jarier bringing the bulk of the sponsorship and getting the lion’s share of the resources in return. Even then, he was inconsistent and his spikes in performance seemed to coincide with Williams or Ferrari looking for new drivers, while the car was not much better, breaking down as often as not and prompting Jarier to walk out after two suspension breakages in Vegas.
33. Derek Daly / Jan Lammers / Geoff Lees / Tommy Byrne
Teddy Yip’s little outfit began the year in good form, with Daly qualifying for every one of his four races before departing for Williams. and the team never quite recaptured the form with Jan Lammers. who did his F1 career no favours at the team, or Tommy Byrne who despite a fine F3 career joined the team as the team’s lack of budget bit – as with Ensign, the team was simply running out of spares for worn parts by the end of the season, while the other teams had all advanced as Theodore trod water.
The hard-trying Toleman team had had a rough debut year, but 1982 saw progress for the team after a rocky start and the departure of sponsors Candy. Warwick’s stunning showing at Brands Hatch – doped car or not – was the obvious highlight but there were plenty of other decent drives on show. Reliability was still a problem in the old TG181, but when the new TG183 debuted it looked fast immediately in Warwick’s hands, at the expense of poor Fabi’s access to testing times, and the Italian seldom looked as good as Warwick.