Puneet Varma (Editor)

1982 San Marino Grand Prix

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Date  25 April 1982
Course length  5.040 km (3.132 mi)
1982 San Marino Grand Prix
Official name  2º Gran Premio di San Marino
Location  Autodromo Dino Ferrari Imola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  60 laps, 302.400 km (187.902 mi)

The 1982 San Marino Grand Prix was the fourth motor race of the 1982 Formula One World Championship. It was held on the weekend of April 23–25, 1982 at the Autodromo Dino Ferrari, Imola. The race was marked by a boycott of many teams as part of a political war, unrelated to the event itself, involving the two dominant forces within the sport, FISA and FOCA, which caused the field for this race to be only 14 cars. It was Gilles Villeneuve's final race, as he was killed at the following race in Belgium.



In a decision relating to the 1982 Brazilian Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg were excluded for their cars' crafty use of water tanks as ballast to keep them under the weight limit during race conditions. An immediate outcry from the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) followed, and as the decision happened after the USGP West it was decided that the next race would be boycotted, and that race was Imola.

While most FOCA-aligned teams, such as Brabham, McLaren, Williams and Lotus boycotted the race, four teams—Tyrrell, Osella, ATS and Toleman—broke their stated boycott and started the race anyway.

Even with these teams defecting and starting the race, there were only 14 starters for the San Marino Grand Prix, of which at the time only the Ferraris and Renaults were considered competitive teams. This did not discourage the tifosi, maybe even the opposite, since it improved Ferrari's chances, and the venue was full of spectators.

Despite the Renaults of René Arnoux and Alain Prost qualifying 1-2, their cars failed in the race leaving Ferrari occupying the top two positions with Gilles Villeneuve leading Didier Pironi. The third-placed Tyrrell of Michele Alboreto was far behind, so Ferrari ordered their drivers to slow down to minimize the risk of mechanical failure or running out of fuel. Villeneuve believed this order also meant that the cars were to maintain position on the track, with Villeneuve ahead of Pironi. However, Pironi believed that the cars were free to race, and passed Villeneuve. Villeneuve believed that Pironi was simply trying to spice up an otherwise dull race, and duly re-passed his team mate, assuming that he would then hold station for the remainder of the race. Thus, Villeneuve failed to protect the inside line going into the Tosa corner on the final lap, and Pironi passed him to take the win. Villeneuve was irate at what he saw as Pironi's betrayal, although opinion inside the Ferrari team was split over the true meaning of the order to slow down. Villeneuve's expression was sullen on the podium, enraged by Pironi's actions. He was quoted afterwards as saying, "I'll never speak to Pironi again in my life." They proved to be prophetic words, as he was still not on speaking terms with his teammate when he died during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks later.

Manfred Winkelhock was disqualified for his car being underweight in post-race scrutineering.

Despite most of the FOCA aligned teams boycotting the race it still counted towards the World Championship. This was a bone of contention with the FOCA teams as two previous races held during the war (the 1980 Spanish Grand Prix and the 1981 South African Grand Prix) which had seen all three manufacturer teams boycotting had been down-graded to non-championship races and had not counted towards the championship or official records.

Championship standings after the race

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

    1982 San Marino Grand Prix Wikipedia