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1983 United States Grand Prix West

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1983 United States Grand Prix West
Race 2 of 15 in the 1983 Formula One World Championship
Long Beach 1983.jpg
Race details
Date March 27, 1983 (1983-03-27)
Official name Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Location Long Beach, California
Course Temporary street course
Course length 3.275 km (2.034 miles)
Distance 75 laps, 245.625 km (152.55 miles)
Weather Sunny and warm with temperatures reaching up to 65.8 °F (18.8 °C); wind speeds approaching speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)[1]
Pole position
Driver Ferrari
Time 1:26.117
Fastest lap
Driver Austria Niki Lauda McLaren-Ford
Time 1:28.330 on lap 42
First McLaren-Ford
Second McLaren-Ford
Third Ferrari
Lap leaders

The 1983 United States Grand Prix West (officially the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach[2]) was a Formula One motor race held on March 27, 1983 at Long Beach, California. It was the second race of the 1983 Formula One World Championship.

The 75-lap race was won by Northern Irishman John Watson, driving a McLaren-Ford. Watson took his fifth and final F1 victory having started from 22nd position, the lowest from which a driver has won an F1 race. Austrian teammate Niki Lauda finished second, having himself started 23rd, with Frenchman René Arnoux third in a Ferrari.

This was the final running of the Long Beach race as an F1 event, before organizer Chris Pook switched to the CART IndyCar series.


Qualifying report

Once again, the Long Beach circuit had been slightly modified, primarily to free up Ocean Boulevard, one of the city's main thoroughfares. Since the alternate route on Seaside Way included a tunnel under the Long Beach convention center, the pits were moved to the long, curving Shoreline Drive section, where the Start and Finish lines were reunited for the first time since 1977.

As practice began on Friday, two bumps where the circuit rejoined the old layout at the end of the Seaside Way straight were causing problems. Some teams were concerned that the suspension on their cars would not last more than a few laps under race conditions. René Arnoux (Ferrari) was the first to go over the bumps flat out and his 1:26.935 led Alain Prost (Renault), Patrick Tambay (Ferrari) and Riccardo Patrese (Brabham) on the day's timing chart, while Nelson Piquet (Brabham), Lauda and Watson found their Michelin qualifying tires virtually useless and set poor times.

Overnight repair work smoothed the problematic bumps. Tambay grabbed his first pole with a lap of 1:26.117, the only lap to beat teammate Arnoux's Friday time; Keke Rosberg (Williams) took third with 1:27.145, ahead of teammate Jacques Laffite. American Danny Sullivan (Tyrrell), in his only season of Formula One, managed ninth, while the other American in F1, Eddie Cheever (driving the older model Renault RE30C) was 15th, 7 places behind team mate Prost in the newer RE40 model. The McLarens of Watson and Lauda were never able to arrive at a balanced setup, and they would start in 22nd and 23rd position.

Qualifying classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 27 France Patrick Tambay Ferrari 1:28.598 1:26.117
2 28 France René Arnoux Ferrari 1:26.935 1:27.628 +0.818
3 1 Finland Keke Rosberg Williams-Ford 1:29.577 1:27.145 +1.028
4 2 France Jacques Laffite Williams-Ford 1:30.529 1:27.818 +1.701
5 11 Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault 1:31.624 1:27.982 +1.865
6 35 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart no time 1:28.130 +2.013
7 3 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 1:29.066 1:28.425 +2.308
8 15 France Alain Prost Renault 1:28.558 1:29.765 +2.441
9 4 United States Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Ford 1:31.271 1:28.833 +2.716
10 25 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Ligier-Ford 1:29.600 1:28.913 +2.796
11 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW 1:28.958 1:29.467 +2.841
12 30 Australia Alan Jones Arrows-Ford 1:30.451 1:29.112 +2.995
13 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Lotus-Ford 1:31.728 1:29.167 +3.050
14 36 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Toleman-Hart no time 1:29.266 +3.149
15 16 United States Eddie Cheever Renault 1:30.597 1:29.422 +3.305
16 29 Switzerland Marc Surer Arrows-Ford 1:30.067 1:29.521 +3.404
17 34 Venezuela Johnny Cecotto Theodore-Ford 1:29.559 1:30.258 +3.442
18 33 Colombia Roberto Guerrero Theodore-Ford 1:29.585 1:28.528† +3.468
19 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo 1:33.336 1:29.603 +3.486
20 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW 1:30.173 1:30.034 +3.917
21 23 Italy Mauro Baldi Alfa Romeo 1:31.924 1:30.070 +3.953
22 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford 1:32.439 1:30.100 +3.983
23 8 Austria Niki Lauda McLaren-Ford 1:30.262 1:30.188 +4.071
24 9 West Germany Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW 1:31.599 1:30.220 +4.103
25 17 Chile Eliseo Salazar RAM-Ford 1:32.597 1:31.126 +5.009
26 26 Brazil Raul Boesel Ligier-Ford 1:31.759 1:31.765 +6.642
27 31 Italy Corrado Fabi Osella-Ford 1:33.896 1:31.901 +6.784
28 32 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford no time 1:32.182 +7.065
Source: [3][4][5][6]
  • † — time disallowed


Race report

The race took place in warm and sunny conditions. Tambay held the lead at the first corner. Rosberg, immediately behind him, tried to squeeze through the middle of the all-Ferrari front row. He touched Arnoux's right front with his left rear as he swung wide, but both continued, with Rosberg in second, followed by Laffite and Arnoux. Rosberg spun later in the lap while attempting to overtake, but continued without damage.

After one lap, Sullivan was up to sixth, behind Arnoux, and Cheever was ninth, immediately behind Prost. Sullivan was passed by Patrese on the second lap, and then by Prost and Cheever on lap three. Before long, however, Prost began dropping back with a misfire that had been plaguing him recurrently all weekend, and he finally pitted on lap 16. Cheever was able to get by Arnoux and Patrese when Arnoux began to lose grip from his Goodyears, and was up into fifth place. When Cheever entered the Renault pit for a new set of tires, however, he found the crew still working on Prost's car; he was forced to continue. Prost's problem was eventually solved and he continued, albeit three laps down.

Meanwhile, Rosberg had regained second place behind Tambay and, by lap 20, was again looking for a way by. The top six cars were all running very close together, and Rosberg soon found himself under increasing pressure from Laffite, who was in turn being hounded by Jean-Pierre Jarier's Ligier and Patrese's Brabham.

On lap 26, Rosberg attempted to take the lead again, but collided with Tambay, who spun and stalled. Rosberg continued again, driving around the outside of the disabled car. As he entered the chicane before the start/finish line, he found his teammate Laffite alongside and Jarier almost touching his gearbox behind. The two Williams cars touched briefly, and Jarier ran into the back of Rosberg, who hit the wall, bounced off, and hit it again before sliding to a stop. Jarier continued, but only briefly, as a damaged front wing had spoiled his handling, and he retired in the pits.

Laffite was now in the lead, with Patrese in second. By lap 28, the McLarens were lying third and fourth, having passed Marc Surer, Sullivan and Johnny Cecotto. When Watson got by Lauda at the end of Shoreline Drive, he was 20 seconds behind the two leaders. With Watson closing the gap to the front and Laffite's tires going off quickly, Patrese challenged Laffite for the lead. He slid wide, and Watson and Lauda both passed before he rejoined the track. Soon after, the McLarens passed Laffite as well, and, from 22nd and 23rd on the grid, were now first and second.

With Laffite still struggling with his tires, Patrese was able to catch him up again and took third on lap 52. Arnoux was coming back through the field after a second tire stop, and was waging battle with Cheever for fifth place when they came upon Laffite on lap 67, again at the end of Shoreline Drive. At the hairpin, the Williams and Ferrari swapped places around Cheever, as Arnoux went from sixth to fourth in one corner. On the next lap, however, Cheever lost fifth place when he pulled off with a broken gearbox. With just three laps to go, Patrese retired from third place when his distributor broke.

Semi-retired 1980 World Champion, Australian Alan Jones replaced regular Arrows driver Chico Serra for the race in what was to prove to be a short-lived comeback to Formula One. After qualifying a credible 12th on the grid in the Cosworth powered Arrows A6, Jones ran in the top 10 until retiring on lap 58 with fatigue. Jones, who had only raced at home in Australia since retiring from F1 following the 1981 season, was still suffering the effects of a fall from a horse on his farm a couple of months earlier where he had broken his hip.

Lauda, suffering from a worsening cramp in his right leg, could not challenge Watson in the later stages, and the Ulsterman came home nearly half a minute ahead for his fifth victory. It was the farthest back from which a modern Grand Prix driver had ever come to win a race. Arnoux came through for third, and Laffite hung on for fourth, ahead of Surer and Cecotto, who scored a point in his second F1 race. It was the first ever points for a Venezuelan driver, and the last until Pastor Maldonado finished tenth in the 2011 Belgian Grand Prix.

Rumors persisted all weekend that race organizer Chris Pook, the main figure in the attempt to create a "Monte Carlo of the United States" in Long Beach, had decided that Formula One was too expensive and risky, and, indeed, after the race, he announced that he planned to run a CART race at Long Beach in 1984 instead of F1. Despite tremendous success since the race's inception in 1976, and the observable impact of the global exposure it brought to the city and to the Los Angeles area in general, the organizers believed that the less expensive and more popular (in the United States at least) CART championship, dominated by American drivers, would be a more promising investment.

Race classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Tyre Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford M 75 1:53:34.889 22 9
2 8 Austria Niki Lauda McLaren-Ford M 75 + 27.993 23 6
3 28 France René Arnoux Ferrari G 75 + 1:13.638 2 4
4 2 France Jacques Laffite Williams-Ford G 74 + 1 Lap 4 3
5 29 Switzerland Marc Surer Arrows-Ford G 74 + 1 Lap 16 2
6 34 Venezuela Johnny Cecotto Theodore-Ford G 74 + 1 Lap 17 1
7 26 Brazil Raul Boesel Ligier-Ford M 73 + 2 Laps 26  
8 4 United States Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Ford G 73 + 2 Laps 9  
9 3 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford G 73 + 2 Laps 7  
10 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW M 72 Distributor 11  
11 15 France Alain Prost Renault M 72 + 3 Laps 8  
12 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Lotus-Ford P 72 + 3 Laps 13  
13 16 United States Eddie Cheever Renault M 67 Gearbox 15  
Ret 30 Australia Alan Jones Arrows-Ford G 58 Driver unwell 12  
Ret 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW M 51 Throttle 20  
Ret 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo M 48 Gearbox 19  
Ret 11 Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault P 29 Handling 5  
Ret 33 Colombia Roberto Guerrero Theodore-Ford G 27 Gearbox 18  
Ret 25 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Ligier-Ford M 26 Collision 10  
Ret 36 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Toleman-Hart P 26 Battery 14  
Ret 23 Italy Mauro Baldi Alfa Romeo M 26 Spun off 21  
Ret 27 France Patrick Tambay Ferrari G 25 Collision 1  
Ret 1 Finland Keke Rosberg Williams-Ford G 25 Collision 3  
Ret 17 Chile Eliseo Salazar RAM-Ford P 25 Gearbox 25  
Ret 35 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart P 11 Spun off 6  
Ret 9 West Germany Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW G 3 Spun off 24  
DNQ 31 Italy Corrado Fabi Osella-Ford M      
DNQ 32 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford M      
Source: [7][8]

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ "Weather information for the "1983 United States Grand Prix West"". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  2. ^ "1983 Formula 1 World Championship Programmes". The Programme Covers Project.
  3. ^ "Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 1983 - QUALIFYING 1". Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  4. ^ "Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 1983 - QUALIFYING 2". Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  5. ^ "Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 1983 - OVERALL QUALIFYING". Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  6. ^ Hamilton, Maurice, ed. (1983). AUTOCOURSE 1983–84. Hazleton Publishing Ltd. p. 106. ISBN 0-905138-25-2.
  7. ^ "1983 USA West Grand Prix". Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  8. ^ "1983 United States Grand Prix West - Race Results & History - GP Archive". Retrieved October 23, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "United States West 1983 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved March 21, 2019.

Further reading

  • Rob Walker (July 1983). "8th United States Grand Prix West: Whiz Kids". Road & Track, 144–149.
  • Mike S. Lang (1992). Grand Prix!: Race-by-race account of Formula 1 World Championship motor racing. Volume 4: 1981 to 1984. Haynes Publishing Group. ISBN 0-85429-733-2

Previous race:
1983 Brazilian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1983 season
Next race:
1983 French Grand Prix
Previous race:
1982 United States Grand Prix West
United States Grand Prix West Next race:
Preceded by Grand Prix of Long Beach Succeeded by
1984 Long Beach Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 17 November 2021, at 18:49
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