Reflection: 1983 Austrian Grand Prix (Round 11)
I must admit that my knowledge of the 1983 season is a little vague.
Sandwiched in between the controversial 1982 and 1984 seasons, it is something of an anonymous year in the sport, despite the fact that the championship went down to the final race at Kyalami in South Africa.
For 53 laps on the old Osterreichring in Austria (before it was neutered for modern Formula 1 races and renamed the A-1 Ring) Patrick Tambay started the race from pole position in his Ferrari ahead of team-mate Rene Arnoux. Nigel Mansell qualified third, Nelson Piquet started fourth with Prost down in fifth place.
Whereas the Brabham, the Renault and the two Ferrari’s got away well, Mansell in the Lotus disappeared off into the distance. During the opening stages Prost got past Nelson Piquet and the group of four clung together for the first half of the race.
Ligier driver Jean-Pierre Jarier was on the receiving end of a vast amount of criticism after this race for blocking and justifiably so – this was all the more apparent when the leaders were lapping him early in the Grand Prix and Jarier maintained desperately unusual racing lines and occasion weaved across the track.
It was on lap 30 that the Austrian Grand Prix began to unravel as the race leader Patrick Tambay retired and handed the lead to Piquet who was closely followed by both Arnoux and Prost.
Throughout the following laps Arnoux pushed Piquet to the limit and it was when the Ferrari finally passed the Brabham driver that Prost got through as well. This allowed Prost into the fray for a race victory and the Renault driver passed Arnoux six laps from the end. In the end, it seemed all too easy as Arnoux hardly put up a fight and over the final few laps struggled to keep up with the Renault and as a result, Prost extended his lead to win by seven seconds.
More worryingly for the Brabham, Piquet dropped nearly half a minute in the last fifteen laps and finished just ahead of the American driver Eddie Cheever. Mansell came fifth and Niki Lauda finished sixth – 2 laps behind the race winner.
Suddenly both Arnoux and Prost had elbowed their way into the championship fight with Piquet as three drivers in three different cars fought it out for the final four races of the season.
Race Quality: 2.5 out of 5
Source Quality: C (video slightly blurry with age, but still watchable and the audio is very clear)