Formula 1 BMW champion: How Piquet won at Monza / Formula 1

Formula 1 BMW champion: How Piquet won at Monza / Formula 1


In 1983, BMW became the first turbo world champion in the first class. Journalist and former BMW spokesperson Uwe Mahla writes in the 8th part of our series how Nelson Piquet came close to the top of the world championship with the Monza victory.

Italian Grand Prix, September 11, 1983: Nelson Piquez is 14 points behind Renault driver Alain Prost and six behind Ferrari driver René Arnoux. There are only three races left and, remember, the scoring system then was different than it is now, with 9 points for the winner, then 6-4-3-2-1 for 2-6.

Piquet’s position in the championship fight is not particularly attractive with Monza hell (hell goes to everyone but Ferrari) on the list.

Three races and 14 points behind the leader, but there is that unmistakable confidence in Piquet’s whole demeanor.

Brabham designer Gordon Murray is smiling to himself, impassive and impassive, and BMW engine guru Paul Rosche is reading his documents more carefully than usual, which contain a few secrets.

As if the men of Brabham-BMW had conspired, as if they were putting together a philosophy that could be something like “now there is an unconditional attack”, white-blue arrows were placed in the hunt for records, as if they wanted to. right here show the red race from Maranello.

Piquet and his stablemate Riccardo Patrese set new best times in practice until finally Patrese in front of his own crowd (who had been cheering four months earlier when he threw the car to victory at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola) was king of praise. Just as firmly, Piquet sits down at the start behind his storming team-mates.

The Brabham-BMW team avoids liking it as if it were leading in a different class.

In the second round, Piquet is ahead! Despite that (Patrese’s engine had blown up) there is no longer any speculation as to what the Italian would have done if he had received a signal from the pits to give Piquet a break.

At least until then you are not too lazy to bother your brains about it. Who can blame the Italian for going all out to win the Italian Grand Prix? Especially when you’re in good shape and your contract extension is still up in the air. (In the end, it doesn’t happen either.)

But those thoughts have gone too far this Sunday afternoon in the royal garden. Now one can only wonder how it was possible that Piquet had only outpaced the two Ferraris and made every effort to overtake the entire field.

It doesn’t take long for Brazil’s leaders to slow down and control their pursuers from a safe distance.

When the pit crew signal that Prost is out of the race due to turbo damage on lap 26, Piquet begins to work on the “steam wheel” (pressure boost principle) in the tried and tested way.

But he’s also not quite sure: “I was constantly running with the water temperature too high and that’s why it was as slow as possible.”

As he slowly finishes the final laps, he will not let the victory take him far. And that incredible confidence grows and grows.

Read in the next episode how Piquet has to survive a few moments of shock before winning.