Monday, 15 April 2013 09:00

Formula 1 Drivers Wanted!

Written by

Translated by Giannis Binas


“Formula 1 Drivers Wanted Inguire Within” – that was written on the cardboard that was placed at the Kyalami paddocks, inaugural race of 1982, by some ATS’ engineers.

The particular phrase satirized the drivers’ strike that took place for drivers to express their opposition to the following term of the new superlicenses:
'I am committed to the above team to drive exclusively for them in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship(s) until the [date]'


Kyalami Strike 3
Leaders to this move were Lauda and Pironi, with the Frenchman assuming the negotiations for the change of the disputed term.

On Wednesday prior to the GP, he warned his compatriot and president of the FISA, Jean Marie Balestre, that without a modification of the specific term, the drivers wouldn’t sign the new licenses.

Kyalami Strike 4


Balestre responded that the matter would be settled at FIA’s offices in Paris.

He also threatened that whoever wouldn’t sign the new superlicense, wouldn’t be granted permission to race the following Grand Prix weekend.
The next day, the drivers gathered to the circuit but left heading to a nearby hotel!

Balestre as well as team owners were furious with the drivers’ stand.

They, on the other hand, grasped the opportunity to have some fun, with de Angelis and Villeneuve playing the piano and Giacomelli performing various mimics, to please their colleagues!

Derek Warwick’s statement is indicative of the atmosphere:
''You know what was fantastic?

I got to know my colleagues for the first time because, being a non-qualifier at the back of the grid, you don’t get a chance to speak to the guys at the front!''.


Kyalami Strike 5

Of course, there was a fink too, Teo Fabi, for whom Keke Rosberg did not express the kindest of words…
And while Thursday passed with entertainment and relaxation, on Friday prior to the free practice session, Pironi met again with Balestre.

Neither the term changed, nor the drivers accepted to sign the new superlicenses.

Pironi though, secured, according to a statement of his, that there wouldn’t be any sanctions for the drivers and the strike ended.


Kyalami strike 9

First on track, was Jochen Mass, the rest of the drivers followed an hour later.

The rest of the weekend rolled smoothly, but drivers were punished by FISA with fines and bans from next race/races.

Eventually, the sanctions were rejected by FIA’s appeal court, whilst the term at issue was removed from the content of the new superlicense.


translated by Giannis Binas


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