(Formula 1 Question.) WI Gilles Villeneuve survived the crash in Zolder 1982.

Heya guys, it's me again, and I have a question about the Formula 1 this time.

As you may know, Gilles Villeneuve crashed in 1982 in Zolder. Now I wonder, what if he survived that crash? Or if he didn't crash at all? What would the implications be?

It's up to you to answer the question.


Well, Pironi had a brush with the title that year - before he crushed his legs in an accident very similar to Villeneuve.
The 1982 champiosnhip was very, very bizarre. For example no pilot won more than two races that year !

The best cars were clearly Renault and Ferrari; meaning the pilot title should not have escaped Arnoux or Prost or Villeneuve or Pironi.

Now Renault had the best car... and the less reliable. While Ferrari had a reliable car but lost most of its pilots.

It all depends wether Pironi and Villeneuve settle their conflict. But Villeneuve was extremely angry and bitter about the Imola affair; it won't be easy. That conflict could ruin Ferrari chances - unless someone steps in to cool them.
The worst scenario would be a Imola rematch that would end in a fiery crash hurting or killing the two. If the conflict poison their relations, then it is a strong possibility. Imagine Imola repeating at every race - that would be dangerous.

The 1982 Formula one cars were extremely dangerous, for some simple reasons. It was essentially the end of the ground effect era, a transition year were pilot had to learn again how to drive without ground effect.
Ferrari rules!

Ferrari had the best driver line up in terms of speed for 1982. They also had a good car, that won the constructors championship even with both their drives being taken out by accidents.
Without those accidents either Villeneuve or Pironni would have won the title in 1982. Given the amount of hate btw the two after Imola one of them would leave the team in 83. My money would be on Villeneuve winning the title and staying. Given what the team did with Tambay and Arnoux in 83 and 84,and given that Villeneuve was faster than both I would bet on three consecutive titles for the canadian. I also think that after the 82 mess, the team would go for a "number one" team strategy and get a good number two pilot to back up Villeneuve, not pressure him. Tambay would be a good choice.
Ferrari in 83/84 would be a lot like in the Schumacher years, the best car, the fastest driver, lots of wins.
Then in 1984 the cold eficiency of the McLaren/Porsche/Lauda/Prost machine would prevail, but Villeneuve would give a lot more fight than Alboretto did.
Gilles Villeneuve survives the crash...:)

Gilles Villeneuve runs up the back of Jochen Mass, but doesn't launch himself over Mass.

His Ferrari 126C2 is damaged, but Villeneuve is unhurt and gets in the T-Car/Backup car.

He qualifies 6th in the backup car, and finishes 2nd in the race barely losing to John Watson in a stirring drive that saw him comeback from as far down as 9th.

At that point in the season, John Watson and Alain Prost were tied for the championship lead on 18 points. But Villeneuve with tied for 4th on 12 points, just 2 ahead of nemesis Pironi.

MONACO/May 23, 1982 -- The last 2 laps at Monaco were wild...Alain Prost crashed while leading coming out of the tunnel towards the Marina...Riccardo Patrese spun out.. but kept going....only to be passed by Didier Pironi who was leading.. until his Ferrari lost an engine in the tunnel....

And he was passed by Gilles Villeneuve..and then the Ferrari's turbo expires with 1 corners to go....handing the win back to Riccardo Patrese.

1. Patrese 2. Villeneuve 3. Pironi 4. DeCesaris 5. Mansell 6. Derek Daly.

Villeneuve 2nd put him a in three-way tie for the championship lead on 18 points.

DETROIT/June 6, 1982 -- The inaugural run through the street of Detroit Michigan saw Villeneuve bow out with mechanical problems....and saw a battle in the final 5 laps between two of Formula 1 wild-out crazy men. John Watson holds off Keke Roberg in a tremendous battle. With American Eddie Cheever nosing out Didier Pironi for the last spot on the podium.

Watson retook the championship lead for McLaren.

CANADA/June 13, 1982 -- Didier Pironi and Gilles Villeneuve put on an epic qualifying session on Saturday that saw Villeneuve take the pole.
The next day Villeneuve dominated the Ille Notre Dame Circuit (now renamed Circuit Lucien Bouchard, after the former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister)

Villeneuve raced to a 7-second win over his archival and snatched the championship lead back from Watson..who finished 3rd behind Pironi.

NETHERLANDS/June 27, 1982 -- Pironi owned the weekend at Zandvoort as Villeneuve dropped out with a broken halfshaft. Pironi was within striking distance....but so was Keke Rosberg was run second with a late charge past Nelson Piquet and John Watson. It was a rough weekend for crashes as Brian Henton's throttle stuck wide open coming out the Tunnel Oust and he spun off into the barriers. Henton suffered a broken leg and would be out of action for 7 weeks.

GREAT BRITAIN/July 18, 1982 -- Uncle Ken Tyrrell needed a driver signed a little known endurance racer named Tiff Needell to take over for Brian Henton.
Needell repaid Uncle Ken by putting the car #2 on the grid behind Keke Rosberg and then going out and winning at Brands Hatch, thus beginning one of the most improbable careers in motorsports (8 career victories, 2 overall LeMans wins in 1988 and 1990, also won the 1990 Indianapolis 500...Today Tiff is the host of the lively BBC chat show on Cars "First Gear")

In the front of the championship chase. John Watson was handed 4th place when Pironi and Villeneuve wrecked each other at lap 27.

Watson snuck back into the lead for the championship, but notice a certain consistent Finn coming up from behind...

FRANCE/July 25, 1982 -- 1-2-3 OUI!
Rene Arnoux broke a dry spell for Renault with a warm win. Didier Pironi charged back Alain Prost for second...who also had a wheel banging fight with Villeneuve.

That afternoon at Paul Ricard saw the two dominant turbo teams breakaway from the rest of the field and stage their own duel at Paul Ricard in the closest 4-way finish in Formula 1 since the epic 1969 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, and saw maneuvers that reminded fans of the epic battle between Arnoux and Villenueve at the '79 French Grand Prix.

Pironi got a badly needed 9 points that put him at 38 points and in a knot with Villeneuve Watson's fifth place put him at 37. Prost was now within striking distance with 25.

WEST GERMANY/August 8, 1982 -- Hockenheim on a rainy weekend through the forests of Germany...and two Ferraris up front of the championship.

The rainy Saturday qualifying session saw six turbocharged cars swap the pole. The BMW-powered Brabham set the early pace as Nelson Piquet and Riccardo Patrese sliced through the rain.

Villeneuve then took the pole 28 minutes in, only to have Arnoux snatch it.,.and then Prost lower the time some more.

In the final 10 minutes the pole changed hands 4 times..finally ending up in Didier Pironi's hands who got clear track in the final 2 minutes and put up a blistering time to win the pole...with Villeneuve second.

Murray Walker television call courtesy of the BBC.

"Pironi inside on the pole, Villeneuve in second...The red Ferraris in the front row on the top of table...ONE LIGHT, TWO LIGHTS, THREE LIGHTS, FOUR LIGHTS....GREEN! GO! GO! GO! GO!!!! Villeneuve slightly leading into the first corner...OOOOOOOH! OOOOOOOOOOH! OOOOOOOOH! THE FERRARIS HAVE HIT EACH OTHER THEY ARE INTO THE GRASS!!!!! PIRONI STRUCK VILLENUEVE IN THE CORNER!!!!!! HE DIDN'T GIVE IT UP!!!!!! HE DIDN'T GIVE IT UP!!!!!!!! OH GOOD GRACIOUS!!! THE FERRARIS HAVE HIT EACH OTHER!!!!" CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS JAMES HUNT!!!!!!"

"Doesn't surprise me in the least. Murray...and....I have a feeling the bad blood from Imola will be boiling more...I wonder what the Commendatore is doing right now."

1. Rene Arnoux 2. Keke Rosberg 3. Tiff Needell 4. Michele Alboreto 5. Nelson Piquet 6. Bruno Giacomelli

Arnoux's win put him the championship hunt at 34. But Rosberg again was there at 33.

The two Ferraris had everything for the taking, but the Villeneuve-Pironi rivalry was splitting the team in half. Hockhenheim set the stage for a wild stretch run.

AUSTRIA/August 15, 1982 -- In the closest finish in F1 history, Villeneuve nipped Pironi to win the race and take the championship lead. Elio DeAngelis was third with Keke Rosburg was fourth.

Villeneuve led the title fight on 47 points, Pironi had 44, Rosberg had 37 as both Renault failed the finish at Osterreichring.

SWITZERLAND/August 29, 1982 -- The Ferraris began the race 1-2, but again, Villeneuve and Pironi tangled and both cars fell out of the points because of suspension damage. Keke Rosberg pulled through to win the race outrunning both Renaults in the final laps.

The flying Finn first win had him splitting the two Ferraris at 46 points. wiTH two races left

1. Villeneuve 47, 2. Rosberg 46, 3. Pironi 44, 4. Watson 35, 5. Arnoux 34, 6. Prost 31.

ITALY/September 12, 1982

The incredible battle for the World Championship held the attention of the racing world, even in America. A fledging American cable network called "ESPN" would show the Italian Grand Prix feed from RAI live, because of viewer interest in the struggle for the championship. It was also learned the network would buy the U.S. rights to show the non-U.S. rounds of the championship (ABC owned the rights to Monaco, CBS owned the rights to Detroit, NBC owned the rights to Long Beach and Caesar's Palace-Las Vegas)

The silly season had a big bang at Monza. Enzo Ferrari announced that after the season Didier Pironi was out, Rene Arnoux was in for 1983.

In response, Renault wasted no time signing Pironi to team with Alain Prost, much to consternation of Le Professeur.

Tyrrell announced that even with Henton healthy, they'd stay with Tiff Needell , Michele Alboreto for 1983. There's also definite talk of a Ford turbo engine to be ready by mid-1983, provided that a team make a space for a young American up-and-comer for the 1984 season. The rumors say that 1982 US Formula Vee Champ Al Unser Jr is the person that would be campaigned.

Ligier announced a turbo engine deal with Matra, provided they become an all-French team for 1983...Eddie Cheever was out...but he found a home at Toleman for '83 replacing Teo Fabi.

The race itself saw Pironi and Villeneuve continue their hostility and their cars both broke while leading to the chagrin of the Tifosi...Rene Arnoux got the win, Alain Prost was second..John Watson was third. Eddie Cheever set fastest lap at one point in the race in an inspired drive where he ended up fourth. Tiff Needell drove to a hard-earned fifth. Nigel Mansell just nipped Rosberg for 6th.

With the circus heading to the finale is Las Vegas, USA
1. Villenueve 47, 2. Rosberg 46, 3. Pironi 44, 4. Arnoux 43, 5. Watson 39

CAESAR'S PALACE/September 25, 1982 -- It was a rather unfitting place to decide perhaps the best championship battle in Formula 1 history.
Five drivers within 9 points and the race would come down to a uninspired, pre-fab skating rink race track in the parking lot of garish casino in America.

What developed was wild chase, a lot of madness, and a fairy-tale finish.

The wildness began at lap 15, Pironi ran across Prost and damaged a wing, he went a lap down, with specific orders HELP GILLES PRESERVE THE CHAMPIONSHIP AT ALL COSTS..

Lap 27, Pironi blocked Villeneuve while leading, and when Villeneuve tried to go by in turn 7, Pironi turned into him, claiming he couldn't see him. Scratch both Ferraris. Villeneuve was still in the lead for the championship..

Lap 40 he caught a break...Rene Arnoux, running third lost his turbo....scratch his renault..

Up front Tiff Needell and Michele Albereto where running 1-2, with Eddie Cheever in third and John Watson fourth..Keke Rosberg was running fifth..

Watson picked up the pace starting with fastest lap at Lap 50 and again at Lap 57...By the final 10 laps...he was within 7 seconds of the Tyrrells...and he was gaining...


A failed wheel bearing opened the door...

3 laps to go...Watson passed Albereto...

2 laps to go...WATSON PRESSURING TIFF NEEDELL...THE he can get by the MARVEL from HAMPSHIRE, you will have a celebration in Belfast!!!!! Into the corner...RING BELLS IN BELFAST!!!!!! WATSON IN THE LEAD...!!!!! 1 LAP REMAINING!!!"

The street fighter for Northern Ireland fought all the way to the front. All season, Watson had driven beyond the limit in a Ford-Cosworth powered McLaren, taking on the rapid improving turbos. Next season he would an equalizer with TAG-Porsche turbos projected by mid-1983, development spurred on in part by Watson's dogged persistence. Persistence paying off as he took the checkered flag, not knowing that he was World Champion.


"John Watson, congratulations winner of the Caesar Palace and 1982 World Champion!"

Watson smiled, "It's true what they say about you Murray. You get a least one thing wrong every race."

"No, John...you won the world championship by 1 point."

"Really?...Rosberg was running fourth or fifth last I heard. I wasn't paying any attention to my pit board outside of the times."

"You mean you really don't know do you?"

At that moment the race engineer and Ron Dennis came up to John. "It's true John," Ron Dennis said. "You 48, Gilles 47, Keke 46....You are the World Champion.."

Watson smiled.."Well that's bloody surprising, isn't it?"

to be continued.
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Oh man that's good. Nice to have Watson winning the championship ! Keep on !

Edit: it's Villeneuve, not Villenueve
John Watson as World Champion?!?! :eek: OK, Chipperback, I love your racing TLs, but man....

And one more bit - no way does Little Al go to Formula One. He had dedicated his racing career to following his dad's footsteps into Indycars, and until Al takes at least a couple Indy 500s F1 is not gonna be on his radar in all likelihood.

1983, with the Ferrari team of Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux and the Renault team of Didier Pironi and Alain Prost is gonna be one hell of a rivalry, just as crazy as the Senna-Prost fights of a few years later.