Retro 1981 - Prost's victory provides Gordon Murray an concept - Motor Informed
Formula 1

Retro 1981 – Prost’s victory provides Gordon Murray an concept

The best way the win unfolded gave Gordon Murray, then Brabham’s technical director, the concept of ​​making a pit cease across the center of the race so as to add some gas to the automobile.

Let’s come again to this 1981 French Grand Prix, organized on the quick observe of Dijon-Prenois. The Renault crew had had no sparks for the reason that begin of the season, with Alain Prost taking simply 4 factors in seven occasions and René Arnoux, his teammate, simply two.

In Dijon, Arnoux locations his Renault RE30 in pole place forward of John Watson’s McLaren MP4 / 1-Ford, Prost’s different Renault and Nelson Piquet’s Brabham BT49C-Ford.

After a energetic begin to the race, Piquet leads forward of Prost. On lap 20, the Brazilian was ten seconds forward of Prost. Round lap 30, the sky darkens and a thunderstorm threatens. About 20 laps later, the rain began to fall, then it intensified, and on lap 59 the race administration stopped the occasion as a result of all of the automobiles have been on slick tires.

The officers determine to attend for the rain to cease earlier than restarting the occasion. In truth, to interrupt a race and all of the factors to be awarded, 75% of the deliberate distance will need to have been reached. Nevertheless, 75% of 80 laps equals 60 laps, and the race was formally stopped on the 58th. The second spherical will then final 22 laps, and the ultimate classification will probably be achieved by including the instances, a basic process at the moment.

A Grand Prix divided in two

Pierre Dupasquier of Michelin, Gérard Larrousse, Renault crew boss, and Prost talk about a technique. To win, Prost should take 6 “7 from Piquet. Figuring out that the gas tank of his Renault is two-thirds empty, the automobile, lighter, can run on Michelin qualifying tires, very smooth. These smooth tires are put in on the aspect Proper of the single-seater, Brabham, outfitted by Goodyear, couldn’t reply, and Piquet needed to cowl the final 84 kilometers along with his set of worn tires.

On the restart, Prost slipped out of the sphere, as anticipated, whereas Piquet noticed his dream of victory fade away. On the finish of the course, Prost has a colossal 31-second lead over Piquet. Just a few drops of rain began to fall once more, however the French driver crossed the end line first, incomes his first F1 victory. Total, Watson completed second forward of Piquet.

On the rostrum, Piquet reveals his face for unhealthy days. He is aware of he has been crushed by a extra crafty rival than him and he finds it laborious to just accept it. This episode bites Gordon Murray, who, as soon as again within the UK, performs dozens of calculations.

He estimates the benefit he can acquire by competing in a Grand Prix in two phases for the 1982 season. His concept is to begin the race with the “gentle” single-seater – subsequently with little gas within the tank – with the intention to escape, earlier than making a pit cease to place again simply sufficient gas to complete the race and to suit a set of recent tires, if potential smooth.

Notice that at the moment there was no pace restrict within the pits. A driver might subsequently enter and exit at full pace, in contrast to right now the place it’s important to stroll in step.

After attending an IndyCar race in the US to investigate pit stops, Murray had the Brabham BT50-BMWs modified by including refueling ports to the tank, and had all the required tools made, together with jacks. and the gas tanks that will probably be pressurized.

Murray additionally is aware of very effectively that sizzling tires carry out lots higher. He subsequently had the primary tire oven manufactured, which allowed the rubber tires to be heated earlier than they have been put in on the automobiles. This was earlier than the arrival of electrical blankets.

After testing in Donington in nice secrecy, Murray is bound of his shot. He says right now: “We have been dropping 26 seconds in whole throughout a cease [temps perdu en passant dans les stands plus le temps d’immobilisation de la voiture]. If we may lead the race by greater than 26 seconds, we needed to win it.

The primary pit stops are sluggish to come back, nonetheless, as BMW’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine is unreliable in any respect. It typically breaks earlier than refueling. Austria is the place the world witnessed the primary pit cease of the fashionable period in F1. Riccardo Patrese led the race, stopped on lap 24, stood there for less than 14 seconds and returned to the observe nonetheless within the lead.

Just a few Grands Prix later, a number of different groups may even modify their automobiles so as to have the ability to refuel through the race, which can make Brabham lose the benefits of his ingenious stratagem.

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