1982 South African Grand Prix


Round 1 - South Africa

After a driver's strike which had most of the pilots holed up in a hotel conference room overnight and washed out both of Friday's Practice sessions, the South African Grand Prix got underway cleanly and the chaotic 1982 season had begun.

The race started out as a Renault demonstration run, but turned into a brilliant recovery drive from Alain Prost to capture his fourth career victory. Many people think that Prost dropped to the back of the field after his puncture on Lap 41, and one could be forgiven for thinking that as Alain was barely seen until the end of the race, but he had built up such as massive lead over most of the field that he only fell back to 8th place. His teammate Rene Arnoux was suffering from severe vibrations and limped home during the final 20 laps or so.

The short Kyalami Circuit provided ample opportunities for overtaking and the cars with higher top end speeds took advantage. Niki Lauda showed that he hadn't lost much during his hiatus from Grand Prix racing, bringing the McLaren home in 4th from his 13th place grid position. Michele Alboreto stood out as well, showing signs of the ability he would display in the nimble Tyrrell throughout the year.

Highlight Package



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I mentioned this in the stats thread relating to this race but it's worth repeating. I believe thsi was the race that prompted Gordon Murray to look into mid-race refueling at Brabham as Prost's pace post pit stop was so fast.

When Brabham arrived at the British Grand Prix the cars were fitted with jacking systems and fuel couplings on the side of the cars. Shame that neither Brabham made it to the mid-point of the race :(
This race could have played a part in Murray's thinking FB, but as you note, it would be a long time before they would get a chance to try it out. Although one could say they tried a similar thing out at the next round in Brazil, when they ran empty tanks for their "Water-Cooled Brakes".

Here is a quick look at the 1982 Formula One world through Dennis Jenkinson's eye's after the drama in Kyalami.

Here is the race report from DSJ that in many ways is better than the TV coverage from this race, which was widely recognized as terrible even at the time.

And finally, here is Jenk's take on the behind the scenes machinations of both drivers and organizers during the strike that threatened to cancel the start of the F1 season.


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