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Formula 1 in the mid 1980s


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#1 sideshow_s

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Posted 15 October 2000 - 15:47

Having just watched the FIA official reviews 1981-84 (Tomorrow i'll start on 1985) it makes me wish I had actually been around to watch real racing. Even in Dallas, a track so good it lasted one whole year and cut itself up in the process, there was passing. I think after so many years of hearing "It is almost impossilbe to pass in F1 these days" the drivers minds have started to believe it. It is difficult but I cant see why we should not see races alittle more like those in CART which is not all that different. Its amazing how forgivable a modern F1 car can be so just stick it down the inside and go for it. I think we have seen Button do that couple of times (To Trullis cost) and get away with it. Schumacher/Coulthard in France? These cars can touch so just go for it!

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2000 - 22:17

A light touch might not hurt now and again, but to develop a mentality that relies on the touch leads to something worse... a barge through at any cost attitude. F1 could never sustain that.

#3 CVAndrw

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 02:24

This book has been recommended numerous times, but once more can't hurt: The 1000 BHP Grand Prix Cars, by Ian Bamsey. Cars with vastly different power and handling characteristics, radial slicks and telemetry in their crude formative states, the end of the sliding skirt and the beginning of the flat bottom ground effect era- part of what you've noticed is what many of us are hoping for when we're calling for more mechanical/less aero grip and more design freedom.

Having five or six drivers within a tenth of each other speedwise (instead of two), also managed to contribute to the entertainment factor.

I also thought those flames shooting out the back on overrun were pretty cool, now that I'm remembering...

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 02:34

And that rearward-facing camera at Adelaide on the Brabham BMW when the engine went sour and the camera burned up...

#5 jmcgavin

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 08:39

all very true, however i don't have fond memories of drivers cruising round trying to conserve fuel or running out on the final laps ie Imola 85, pity they didn't show qualifying much or at all in those days, I'd love to have seen Rosbergs pole lap at silverstone the same year

were they the most powerful f1 cars that have ever raced??

#6 david_martin

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 09:16

Without a doubt the most powerful ever F1 cars.

I heard a Paul Rosche quote to the effect that the last time he knew precisely how much Hp the BMW turbo F1 qualifying engine produced was somehwere around mid 1985. BMW motorsport's in-house dyno only could be run safely to 1350 Hp, and their qualifying engines were producing somewhat more than that!! I recall watching a race on TV in the mid 80's, which I think was the 1986 Austrian GP when Benetton/BMW dominated qualifying - Teo Fabi grabbed pole and Gerhard Berger was second on the grid. In the introduction prior to the race Murrary Walker remarked that the paddock was buzzing with rumours that Fabi's BMW qualifier was producing 1500 Hp!! All from a 1.5L 4 cylinder engine with a road car derived block. Those were the days....

#7 jmcgavin

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 10:50

Patrese was 4th in the Brabham-BMW as well, they certainly seemed to get the most powerwise. Good memories as the early/mid 80s were when I started to get seriously into F1.


#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 10:57

You mean an old taxi block...

#9 david_martin

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 11:26

Well, the story goes that Rosche like to use "aged" stock blocks in the early engines (80,000 km was optimal). The stock roadcar block was good up to about 1000 Hp, but prone to bursting if the boost was turned up any further.

I believe that for the Qualifying specials and later race engines they went to purpose cast blocks. These were still based on the road car moulds, but with additional reinforcing webs in a couple of critical areas, and a lot of "unneeded" metal taken out. There was a story (told by Gordon Murray in a recent tribute to Rosche in Car magazine) about Rosche going to the foundary after a spate of engine failures, producing a stick and tracing the extra web he wanted straight into the sand mould before they cast the next set of blocks!! To get the famous aging they then did something mysterious called "simulated road usage", which I understand was basically a lot of low temperature heating and cooling cycles and some pressure cycling (and the famous story about Rosche inviting his colleagues to urinate on a block).

I have a friend (now on the other side of the world from me, unfortunately) who had a quite interesting history of the BMW engine programme that was prepared by the company after Piquets championship winning year in 1983. It seems that the combination of Piquet (the irrepressable joker), Rosche (the hardy Bavarian), Gordon Murray and Bernie Ecclestone produced enough great stories during the Brabham/BMW years to dine out on for several lifetimes. Definitely the most charismatic engine programme of the turbo era!!



#10 CVAndrw

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Posted 19 October 2000 - 00:00

Plus Herbie Blash, Dieter Stappert, the rocket fuel magicians at BASF and Piquet's various girlfriends. Take Bernie out of the mix, though- he wanted to abandon the whole project. It was primarily Piquet and Stappert who wheedled and charmed the necessary millions out of the Quandt family coffers (I wonder if Piquet ever tried his legendary charm on Johanna Quandt?) and deceived, bullied, soothed or distracted Bernie depending on what the crisis required (somewhat like Lauda's dealings with Enzo Ferrari- hmmm...the plot continues to thicken even after all these years.)

Karl L.- since Nelson still hasn't delivered on his promise to write his own scandalous memoirs, there's material here aplenty, if you're interested...

#11 mikedeering

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 16:01

I first got into f1 in 1985 as a young boy and can always remember my father lameting the lack of overtaking and different winners in F1 at that time compared to the 1960s...and now I find myself telling friends who are now into F1 how much better it was in the 1980s...something about rose coloured spectacles perhaps??? If this trend continues, in 10 years time we will be lamenting the end of the 90s and how they always used to overtake!

Seriously though, the 80s weren't always great - think of fuel conservation and all that rubbish...then again - 1986 - surely the greatest year ever - Senna, Prost, Mansell, Piquet, a young Berger, Rosberg...brilliant

#12 mhferrari

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Posted 26 October 2000 - 22:11

Sideshow is right, we need more passing. While rule changes would allow more, it ultimately comes down to the drivers' mentality.