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Reflections: “Creating a Void – 1982 Argentine Grand Prix (Cancelled)”

March 8, 2012

It is always a great shame when politics overshadows a sport and few are as political as motorsport and Formula 1 in particular.

Formula 1 has spent much of its existence embracing battles of every kind, whether they involve drivers, the teams, the commercial wing or the governing body itself.
These soft wars – so regularly fought behind closed doors, amidst boardrooms and pristine suits – are occasionally solved with handshakes, difficult smiles, a felt pen and contract.
Rarely has an entire Grand Prix been lost.

In 1982, Formula 1 season endured a great deal of political infighting, starting with the temporary strike that threatened the opening Grand Prix of the year at Kyalami.
There followed a six-week gap to the following event in Buenos Aires, during which confidence in the commercial side of Formula 1 plummeted. The uncertainty caused by the Super Licence dispute in South Africa gave sponsors itchy feet, resulting in mass withdrawal of backers for the race.

On February 9th – four weeks before the event was due to take place on March 7th 1982 – the FIA announced the cancellation of the Argentine Grand Prix, enforcing a six-week gap between at the season start.
At the time, there was an outstanding request from the promoters to reschedule the race for later in the year*; however this was denied and the Formula 1 did not return to Argentine shores until 1995.

* {note 1}
The promoters of the Argentine event were not the only group seeking the rescheduled slot, as promoters in Spain were also in the hunt to have their Grand Prix reinstated, after losing their own race in 1981.
An application to FISA to have a race take place at Jarama on June 27th – during the 1982 Football World Cup, which was also being held in Spain – was quickly turned down by the motorsport authorities.

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