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Acclimatisation Grand Prix sessions

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#51 FLB

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 20:14

One that was supposed to happen but didn't (for various reasons depending on what you read or who you talk to) was scheduled on Thursday October 5th, 1978, on what was then the Circuit de l'île Notre-Dame (now Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve). It was supposed to be a pre-qualifying session because the CSI wanted only 26 cars in the practice and qualifying sessions and 28 cars were present.


#52 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 08:26

Teo was racing in the Indycar race at Cleveland that weekend, over 1,100 miles from Dallas. I suppose it’s logistically possible for him to have been in Dallas on the Thursday before going off to Cleveland (as there was only one day of qualifying at Cleveland), but what would have been the point? Unnecessary hassle for Teo, and surely Brabham would have wanted to give Corrado as much time in the car as possible. There’s certainly no mention of Teo in the Autosport report.

I agree, it doesnt look likely - why let Teo do the recce, when Corrado's supposed to drive all weekend? On the other hand, Teo had only just announced he wasn't going to drive for Forsythe in 1985, instead trying to stay with Brabham in F 1 for another year. Maybe he was hoping against hope that Forsythe would release him from his contractual obligations until virtually the last minute?

Interestingly, only four days before Dallas, Robin Miller wrote in his column in The Indianapolis Star:

Although he chooses not to discuss it, today's Meadowlands show figures to be Teo Fabi's final fling in an Indy car. The little Italian who won four CART races and the pole at Indy during his rookie year in 1983, has apparently decided to try and save his F 1 job with Brabham. Reliable sources claim Brabham boss Bernie Ecclestone told Fabi if he wasn't at the Dallas Grand Prix on July 8 (instead of the Cleveland CART race), he would be fired.

Tiny Teo has been trying to compete on both sides of the pond and hasn't hit a lick in either circuit all year. "You can tell his heart isn't in it over here", said Barry Green, team manager for Forsythe Racing. "He's been talking more and more about making a decision. Since F 1 is all he's ever wanted to do, I can't blame him."

Whether or not Gerry and John Forsythe accept this decision remains to be seen. Fabi is under contract to drive all of the CART PPG Industries Series for them. But it seems silly to try and keep a driver if he doesn't have any enthusiasm.

Sure enough, Teo dropped out of the Meadowlands race after five unenthusiastic laps. The next day, the same paper had this news flash to report:

Teo Fabi has probably driven his final Indy-Car race and the rumor has Emerson Fittipaldi replacing him on the Forsythe racing team.

While the local rival The Indianapolis News headlined, "Teo Fabi told to shape up". On July 5, the day of the Dallas recce session, Robin Miller wrote:

"Teo has asked to be released from his contract and when I find a capable substitute driver I will grant him (Fabi) that request", said Gerry Forsythe (...) "He wants to do Formula One win, lose or draw and I won't hold him to his contract and jeopardize his career."

And on July 6, the day of fist practice at Cleveland, the local Akron Beacon Journal headlined: "Fabi takes Grand Prix over Indy"! None of these or any other papers I've seen, however, are more specific about which Fabi drove the Brabham #2 at Dallas on Thursday morning (other than listing Teo in the rundown of practice times). There was plenty of time for Teo to make it from Dallas to Cleveland, for the first CART practice session was not due to start until 4pm on Friday afternoon. The only positive statement we have is from the Olivetti/Longines timing sheet, and it says Teo Fabi. I think it's entirely possible it really was him, trying to negotiate a deal up unitl the last minute, and upon failure to do so resuming his duty in Ohio the next day.

Edited by Michael Ferner, 10 February 2019 - 08:45.

#53 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:12

Autosport reported that Teo had initially wanted to leave Forsythe after Meadowlands, but after a meeting with Gerry Forsythe on the Sunday of the Meadowlands race he’d committed to doing the Cleveland race. Gerry Forsythe was quoted as saying ‘But if we can’t find the driver we want for the Michigan 500, he [Teo] will have to drive for us.’

In view of all this hoo-ha, if Teo did drive in the Thursday session at Dallas, I’d have expected either Nigel Roebuck in Autosport or Alan Henry in Motoring News to have picked up on it. Neither of them did.

#54 E.B.

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:33

There is no mention of Teo in Peter Windsor's report in Autocar.

#55 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:03

In view of all this hoo-ha, if Teo did drive in the Thursday session at Dallas, I’d have expected either Nigel Roebuck in Autosport or Alan Henry in Motoring News to have picked up on it. Neither of them did.

I'm exactly with you, there, but playing the devil's advocate, there's no way this would hold up in a court of law, if we play it that way. So far, there's exactly zero evidence that it was Corrado in the car on Thursday, and even though the evidence that it was Teo is rather weak, it's all we've got at the moment. I'd love to get to the bottom of this - this being an international forum, perhaps someone has access to Italian sources which are a bit more specific about the Fabis on that one special day? :cat:

#56 Blue6ix

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 10:01

An Acclimatisation session was run on Thursday 5th July between 11.30am -12.30pm 

Times:   From Olivetti-Longines timing sheet.


D.Warwick           1'38.617"

N.Mansell            1'39.531"

A.Prost                1'40.062"

E.de Angelis        1'40.379"

R.Arnoux             1'40.437"

T.Fabi                   1'40.877"

N.Piquet               1'41.000"

A.de Cesaris        1'41.250"

T.Boutsen             1'41.323"

M.Alboreto           1'41.447"

S.Bellof                1'41.457"

A.Senna               1'41.614"

N.Lauda               1'41.804"

E.Cheever            1'41.885"

M.Brundle             1'41.977"

J.Laffite                 1'42.381"

M.Winkelhock       1'42.866"

K.Rosberg            1'42.884"

F.Hesnault            1'42.978"

J.Cecotto              1'43.181"

H.Rothengatter     1'44.424"

P.Tambay              1'44.681"

P.Ghinzani            1'44.782"

R.Patrese             1'45.131"

J.Palmer               1'45.230"

P.Alliot                  1'45.688"

M.Surer                1'47.522"


Aouocourse Annual in text reads on Warm up session " The warm-up had been postponed for two  hours and then cancelled altogether. Niki Lauda completed a a tour of inspection with Derek Ongaro and then reported to Race Control. Lauda wanted ten exploratory laps before making a decision. With eleven o'clock looming that news was not well received by Bernie Ecclestone. No, the final arrangement would be three warm-up laps followed immediately by the countdown to the start."

I do not know if the three laps were timed.


Those times do match for those few times that I do have.


It was confirmed when those times of Keke Rosberg and Huub Rothengatter did match with their position and their respective times.


It's delightful to see a complete set of times. :up:

Edited by Blue6ix, 12 February 2019 - 10:03.

#57 Blue6ix

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 10:22

Here are (Sadly only a two really confirmed and only a few other, very unsure times up to a 10th positioned driver.) the times from the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix Acclimatisation Session.


It was held at Buenos Aires in 12.1.1978.


That was of course a Thursday Practice Session and it was marked a little differently than in usual as for their timing:


Jan 12, Buenos Aires


Clasificasion Gran Premio de Argentina Extraoficial En Los Primeros Puestos


1 Mario Andertti 1.48.120/100 (That latter number digits most likely as of per hundreds of a seconds.)


2 Niki Lauda 1.49.390/100


3 Patrick Depailler 1.49.5/100 (Starting from this time, the rest of the times are only very unsure since they weren't said at their precise indicating numbers and only in regions or estimates.)


4 James Hunt 1.50.0/100


5 Ronnie Peterson 1.52.0/100


6 Patrick Tambay 1.53.0/100


7 Carlos Reutemann 1.55.0/100


8 Gilles Villeneuve 1.59.0/100


9 Emerson Fittipaldi 2.00.0/100


10 Jody Scheckter 2.05.0/100

Edited by Blue6ix, 12 February 2019 - 10:58.

#58 Blue6ix

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:31

Also after long search, I managed to find out that in 1980, Brazilian Grand Prix had also a one Thursday Practice.


Even though I'm not absolutely sure about that thing, it seems to be so because of the FISA-FOCA related issues, also a because of the safety issues and a sudden change to Interlagos rather than racing at Rio de Janeiro. 1980 Brazilian Grand Prix Thursday Practice Session times are however, only partial as well as it was for 1978 Argentine Grand Prix Thursday Practice Session.


Even though there are a few times more than in 1978 Argentine Grand Prix Thursday Practice Session.


One Unofficial Session were being held at Interlagos in 1980 and it was 2 hours long session most likely.


Normal Practice session were held at 10-11.30 o' clock and Official Practice session were held at 13-14 o' clock in Friday and Saturday.


Or at least they were supposed to be held at time even though shenaningans and red flags were a common thing.


Safety issues were a thing for the weekend in the 1980 edition of Brazilian Grand Prix.


They were apparently, so bad that race cancellation danger was imminent right up to the start of the race.


Even though luckily there was no boycott even though F1 didn't ever returned for the original Interlagos circuit after that year's race which was held in a year in advance and most likely because for it's too lax organizers it could have caused a lot of problems even in 1981 too had it been going according to the original plan.


Here are the partial times for that session which I for a long time, think that there weren't any special session for that years Brazilian Grand Prix weekend and these times are for the 10 fastest drivers:




Grande Premio do Brasil Quinta-feira Treino Extra-Oficial


Jan 24, Interlagos


1 Didier Pironi 2'23''060 (Didier Pironi did drive 15 laps in this session.)


2 Jacques Laffite 2'23''430 (In this session Laffite also was said to have a time of 2.23.070. Some magazines like Argentine Hemeroteca El Litoral, did claim that time as a rightful, but some other magazines claimed that formentioned time was to be the real time.)


3 Elio de Angelis 2'23''860


4 Carlos Reutemann 2'24''200


5 Alan Jones 2'24''650


6 Mario Andretti 2'25''250


7 Jean-Pierre Jabouille 2'27''130


8 Jody Scheckter 2'27''300


9 Alain Prost 2'27''410


10 Rene Arnoux 2'27''860


Emerson Fittipaldi had a 13th fastest time, but it was not sadly said. Fittipaldi did drive for 21 laps and from them 15 laps were with his normal race car and 6 laps were with a spare car when Fittipaldi had quite a bad looking accident which he did survive with no visibly seen injuries. Nelson Piquet had a 18th fastest time, but it was also not sadly said. Piquet did drive only 10 laps, because of technical issues with fuel pick-up failure, fuel feed and motor.

Edited by Blue6ix, 12 February 2019 - 11:51.