“Fights” off the track…Written by 'Αγγελος Φωτσεινός
Translated by Giannis Binas
In the beginning of the 80s, boxer Rocky Balboa’s role established Sylvester Stallone as a Hollywood “star”.
The interest for the sport of boxing rose dramatically worldwide and, of course, Formula 1 could not remain unaffected…
In 1982 then, some drivers envied Rocky’s glory and decided to imitate him.
The first “showdown” was right after the qualifying session of the Canadian GP.
There was no provision for a ring, so the fight was staged in the pitlane!
Our “gladiators” were Brazilian compatriots Chico Serra and Raul Boesel, drivers for Fitipaldi-Ford and March-Ford respectively.
Upon completion of qualifying, an irritated Serra, headed towards Boesel’s garage.
Cause for his irritation was the belief that his compatriot deliberately blocked him during his last quick-lap.
The quarrel between the two hotheaded Latin-Americans was a matter of seconds to occur. Anyway, the result of the “fight”, is rather considered a draw.
In the second “fight” however, there was a clear winner.
It was nobody else than the 3 times world champion (1981, 1983, 1987) Nelson Piquet.
A defeated Chilean, Eliseo Salazar, confided in a passive role!
The “showdown” took place at the escape exit of Ostkrve chicane, at Hockenheimring.
Leader of the race, Piquet, was about to “lap” Salazar right before the said chicane.
But as soon as the Brazilian passed him, the Chilean, for an undefined purpose, did not brake where he supposed to and they crashed.
They both retired.
Piquet then decided to take matters into his own hands.
You see, that race was as much a home race for BMW, Brabham’s engine supplier, as a crucial race, in terms of points, for his effort to defend his title.
Even though Salazar was a personal friend, he did not spare him!
The unfortunate ATS driver accepted the jeering towards himself without opposition…
But for another time, luck smiled at him ironically.
A few months later, Piquet was informed by BMW’s technicians that in any case he would retire, since the engine would “meet its maker”.
Then, Nelson reached his friend, Eliseo, on the phone and apologized for his behavior, adding that, at least, he spared BMW from a broken engine in its home GP!
In 1993 Japanese GP, a Northern Irish who made his debut became a known quantity from the beginning of his F1 career.
After the chequered flag, Ayrton Senna went to Jordan's garage and made some points to rookie Eddie Irvine for his dangerous drive during the race: the Brazilian had a safe margin from the second and on route to lap Irvine, he faced the prospect of losing the leadership, as Irvine was totally concentrated on his battle with Damon Hill.
The debutant didn't seem to take seriously Ayrton's words, so he was given a...punch.
In the next race at Adelaide, McLaren engineers set a couple of box gloves on Ayrton's steering wheel, giving a funny tone to the incident.
During the following winter testing in Estoril, the tension between them was over.
Last but not least, James Hunt versus an unlucky marshal in Canadian GP 1977m without any commentary: