Formula 1 History: 1982 South African Grand Prix drivers strike
The 1982 South African Grand Prix was a Formula 1 race held at Kyalami on January 23rd, 1982. It was the first race of the 1982 season. Strike action was taken by the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, led by Niki Lauda and Didier Pironi, to protest the new super license conditions imposed by FISA, which tied drivers to a single team for up to three years. A late compromise was reached and the race went ahead. All drivers who participated were fined between $5,000-$10,000 dollars and handed suspended race bans. The FIA Court of Appeal later reduced the penalties and criticised FISA's handling of the dispute. Alain Prost went on to win the race and Niki Lauda participated in his first race after two years out of F1 and finished fourth.
When the season started, only five drivers of twenty-five had signed their contracts (which included the super-liscence clause). Pironi and Lauda stated the case that “there should only be contracts that were mutually binding . . . if I [Lauda] am not allowed to leave McLaren, then McLaren is not allowed to fire me.” At a meeting of the drivers before the race, in was established that, with the exception of Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass, they were all in favor of holding out. It was decided that the drivers would call a strike and boycott practice on Thursday. In the words of Lauda, “Driver solidarity had never been all that impressive in Formula 1, not even in the days of Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart . . . In this instance . . . driver solidarity was extremely important because we couldn’t afford to let the united front crumble.
Niki then thought of the plan TO RENT A BUS. YEAH. At seven in the morning on Thursday, a bus drew up to the track and parked at the entrance of the paddock. Inside it was a chafferer, Pironi and the undersigned. As each other drivers arrived, they were asked to park their cars and “get into the bus. They were going for a ride.” Ickx and Mass wouldn’t go along but all the others took their places on the bus instead of the grid. Everyone “seemed happy and there was a sense of strength through unity.” They took the bus the long way to a beautiful hotel in Johannesburg. Pironi then found out that there was news that all the drivers would be banned for life if they participated in this. All the drivers, of course, ignored this and instead chilled out at the pool and had a “really splendid day.” Bernie Ecclestone gave an ultimatum to Piquet and Patrese and both of them had effectively been “sacked.”
The younger drivers gave issue because they were more afraid of getting banned or fined for broken contracts. The good mood persisted through dinner and there was a lot of laughter when they had to ask the hotel manager for a room. ONE ROOM. ONE ROOM FOR ALL THE DRIVERS. They were given a “small banquet suite” and there was a piano but the bathroom was down the hall. They called up some sheets and spread them on the floor along with some mattresses. Roberto Guerrero manager came to the room with his girlfriend and tried to coax him out of it. Guerrero and his girlfriend broke down into tears but then they kicked the manager out and allowed the girlfriend to some inside instead. Gilles Villeneuve and Elio de Angelis began playing the piano and the atmosphere “picked up again.” Arrows team chief Jacky Oliver came and tried to force himself into the room and even brought the POLICE along. They managed to get the door halfway open before all the diets pushed it shut and used the piano to block the door. The younger drivers began to panic and most of them went to Lauda for reassurance. Throughout it all, Pironi and Nelson Piquet were lightening the mood through strength and jokes.
Eventually, they had to get some sleep. Since the bathroom was down the hall, there was one room key they all had to use. They put it on a plate in the middle of the room and crossed their hearts (Niki’s words) that they would use the bathroom and come straight back with the key. However, Teo Fabi chickened out and left with the key and never returned. Then proceeds to take a vote to see if they could continue and the vote was unanimous. In the end, Pironi came to terms with Balestre and they ended up wining the battle.
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Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari 312T4) swiftly passes René Arnoux (Renault RS10) on the last lap of the 1979 French Grand Prix at Dijon-Prenois after an incredible battle that is regarded as one of the best in the history of the sport.
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Hold onto your butts, and find out how Niki and James wound up with twelve kids...
Bruno: Dad. Where do we all come from?
Niki and James: *Confused looks *
James: What do you mean Bruno?
Bruno: Well, Niki already explained to us where babys come from. But he said you nead a man and a woman for that. And you are both men, so... *gears in brain scraping *
Niki and James exchange a knowing look.
James: Well, you see Bruno, we all got you guys from somewhere. You for example were found by uncle Jackie.
Everybody perking up.
Bruno excited: Really?!
James nods: Uh hu. But you know, uncle Jackie and uncle Francois weren't sure if they were quite ready to have a child so they decided to give you to old Niki and I. After all, we already had Nigel and Elio.
Nelson mumbling to Gilles: That doesn't sound fake at all.
Gilles: *hisses for Nelson to be quiet *
Gilles: Wait, and where did uncle Jackie find Bruno?
James cryptically: He never told us.
Gilles: And me? Where did you get me?
James easy going: Oh you, we found you in the dumpster.
Didier starts laughing and Gilles looks horrified.
James chuckles: Yeah, and Didier liked you so much that he talked us into keeping you. He called you his 'trash brother'.
Didier laughs: I don't even remember that, but I'm okay with that.
Gilles glaring: And where'd you get that hyena from *nods at Didier *
James: Oh, some auction. Niki wanted a plane but, you see, Didier was much cheeper.
Gilles starts laughing and now Didier looks horrified. He looks over at Niki for some support but Niki just shruggs.
Niki: He was quite cheep.
By now, everybody is laughing or snickering and really interested in the story.
Andrea: And me?! Where'd you get me.
James: Well, you see--
Niki butting in: We were at the zoo one day.
James: *stares *
Niki: And at the erm... sea lion exhibit with Jacques and Elio, and there was this lone kid there as well. Just sitting in a stroller, with a paper clip pinned to it that read, 'take if you want'.
Andrea stares in shock, and James has to fight to suppres his laughter.
Jacques: And I? What about me?!
Niki: You know those storage auctions.
James catching on: Yeah, when you rent a garage or something to store your stuff in. If you stop paying the rent, at some point they're just gonna auction the garage and all the stuff in it.
Jacques nods slowly.
Niki: Well, we went to one of those auctions for a weekend and *shrugs * you were in the unit that we got.
Jacques: *stares with big eyes *
Alain thoughtfull: I don't know... That doesn't really sound right.
James catching on quickly: Don't tell me you don't remember how we got you Alain.
Alain shakes his head and quietly stares at James.
James pretending to be shocked: You don't remember how you just dropped out of the trees when we were hiking in the woods?
Niki nods: I don't know for how long you've been living there all by yourself. But we really managed to integrate you nicely.
René: Wait, Alain was a wild child? Like Mogli?
René, almost afraid to ask: And me?
Niki: Well, we went to the bakery one day.
James: And you were there too, all by your lonesome, staring at the cakes with eyes all big and teary. We couldn't not pick you up.
Gilles, totally enraptured at this point: And Nelson? *pointing at Nelson *
Niki snorts: Nelson? He was just there all of a sudden.
Gilles and Nelson simultaniously: Huh?
Niki: I was grocery shopping one day, with Alain and Elio, and when I got back into the car he sat in the passenger seat. Just said, 'you're my new family now' and crossed his arms all pouty.
Gilles snickers: You were pouting.
Nelson: No I was not! *pouts *
Patrick excited: Me. Me. What about me?
Niki: There was this carnival one day.
James: That all the kids really wanted to go to.
Nelson rolling his eyes: And let me guess, you won Patrick at one of the stands. Can knockdown maybe.
James frowns: No, Nigel won.
Niki: And it wasn't can knockdown but duck fishing.
Elio excited: And Nigel and I? What about us.
James: Oh you two are adopted *waves him off *
Everybody laughs, except for Elio and Nigel. Elio looking quite hurt.
James hurries: We adopted you from a witch.
Elio excited: Really?
Niki: Well Nigel. You we adopted from a fairy.
Elio: *heart eyes *
Riccardo meekly: And what about me?
James: Well... *rubbing his chin *
Niki: Erm... *scratching his forehead *
Gilles: Hey, do you guys remember those storys you told us, about how you got us all. Just so you didn't have to tell us that we're all adopted?
Niki over the newspaper: I don't know what you mean trash baby...
Gilles: *stares, contemplating his life *
Elio: You know, you never told us where you got Ayrton from though.
Niki and James exchange a look.
Niki and James: Well, there was this shooting star one night...
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Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari 126CK, 1981 Monaco GP, Monte Carlo
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Alignment chart but it’s the drivers that were at the ‘82 Kyalami strike
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Niki huffs: The adventure continues.
Niki: Join us at the pediatrican.
He smiles into the camera which quickly turns into a frown, and James doesn't look very enthusiastic either, as Nelson and Gilles run past them screaming bloody murder.
Niki chuckles: Huh the kids are a good thing after all.
Niki: You see *points camera at front desk* that lady over there *points at woman hauled up behind mountains of files and folders * Yeah, she's being awefully nice to us AND *snickers * those files weren't there when we got here.
Niki: Andrea doesn't want to open his mouth no matter what, even though he has had a sore throat for weeks.
James: *desperately trying to talk some sense into Andrea *
Chuckles from the side and Niki turns to René.
Niki: What are you laughing about? With all the cake you're eating you're up next.
Niki: Elio thinks I didn't notice that he "secretly" stole the bowl of candy from the front desk because Nigel said he was hungry.
Turns out Nigel is hitting a growth spurt.
Niki: Patrick is somewhere but I don't know where.
Niki: James is looking for him though.
Niki: I think he's scared *thinks of disney land, the train and ikea * Come to think of it.
Niki joins James in search for Patrick, who finally jumps out from behind a giant plant, almost giving James a heart attack. Good thing they're already at the doctors office.
Niki: Alain and Nelson are laughing at a poster of the male ... *whispers * If I say that right now everyone will laugh and be weird for the rest of the day.
Nelson declares proudly: Boys have penis and girls have a vagina.
James: We shouldn't have let them watch 'kindergarten cop' last night.
Niki lets out a long suffering sigh while Nelson won't stop telling everyone loudly that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.
Niki: Bruno is sitting in the play area and I'm afraid what will happen once he notices that he has played with everything that is there.
Niki turns camera to his face: Boredom is your enemy I tell you.
James: Way ahead of you
He hands Bruno a tablet so he can watch spongebob, Niki nods approvingly.
A bit later:
Niki shows a sleeping Jacques who's spread out over three chairs, with his head hanging off the last one and snoring.
Niki: Seems like Riccardo also infected Jacques with the flu.
Gilles has just been called up and gets up, frowning at the magazine he's been browsing. He looks shocked once he closes it and realizes it's a magazine for teenage girls.
Niki: And before anybody asks, no we didn't forget Riccardo. We left him at home because we were just at the doctors with him a few days ago.
Niki: Don't worry Jochen is watching him.
Niki: He's still not quite over his flu. But Alain seems to be fine again.
Alain runs past yelling as Nelson chases him, threatning to draw him a mustache with a marker.
Niki: Didier was just called inside and *Didier yells something *
Niki: Excuse me.
Niki hands the camera to James and leaves to join Didier in the doctors office.
James starts filming the poster of the male and female anatomie that Nelson is now drawing on. Nelson has already succeeded in drawing the man a mustache and Alain's scribling flowers onto the woman's feet.
James sighs: I'm either gonna have to pay that or charm the front desk lady, eh? *bouncing Ayrton on his lap absendminded.*
On the way back home:
Bruno and Patrick have somehow turned to watching My Little Pony and won't stop singing the theme song.
Nigel wound up with a mustache drawn onto his face.
Didier is pissed that he's the only one getting a shot into his butt.
Jacques and Andrea are both sick as it turns out. Jacques having the flu and Andrea having tonsillitis. Nigel just has a stomach ache from gobling up all the sweets.
And Elio now also yells about boys having a penis and girls having a vagina.
Niki sighs: At least this time we didn't forget anybody *looks into rear view mirror and sees empty seat *
That sends them hurrying back to the doctor's office and it takes them half an hour until James realizes that the empty seat is due to Riccardo being at home, and that all their kids are in the VW.
James: We need a fucking vacation.
Elio yells: Fucking fucking fucking
Everyone else chimes in: Fucking fucking fucking
Niki glares at James.
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Ayrton: Oh look, three parts of the 'tiny french peeps'.
Michael: Who are the 'tiny french peeps'.
Gerhard: They're track royalty. If Us Weekly would write about us, they would always be on the cover.
Ayrton points: That one there, that's René Arnoux. He is one of the dumbest guys you will ever meet. Patrick was team mates with him last year.
Patrick: He asked me how to spell "orange".
Michael: And that little one?
Ayrton: That's Gilles Villeneuve. He's totally rich because his dad invented Toaster Strudel or something.
Gerhard: Gilles Villeneuve knows everybody's business. He knows everything about everyone. That's why his hair is so big. It's full of secrets.
Ayrton: And evil takes a human form in Alain Prost. Don't be fooled, because he may seem like your typical selfish, back-stabbing, slut-faced ho-bag. But in reality, he is so much more than that. He's the queen bee. The star. Those other two are just his little workers.
Ayrton: Alain Prost. How do I even begin to explain Alain Prost?
Jean: Alain Prost is flawless.
Jacques: He has versace sunglasses and plays golf.
Nigel: I hear he drove a car into a hotel lobby once and Marlboro just payed for it.
Andrea: I hear he does commercials. In Japan.
Elio: His favorite movie is Varsity blues.
Niki: One time we met James on a plane. And he told him he was pretty.
Nelson: One time, he punched me in the face. It was awesome.
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Rene Arnoux, Ferrari 126C3, 1983 European GP, Brands Hatch
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Niki: Eating too much cake is the sin of gluttony.
René: But eating too much pie is okay, because the sin of pi is always zero.
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my beloved french mean girls clique (there is a naughty poster on the wall but thankfully the flash from the camera obscured it oh my god)
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James: Watching the world cup final with the kids.
James. Nigel's eating all the snack... by himself... he won't let anybody else touch them.
James mumbles: I'm hungry *looks at Niki mournfully who has fallen asleep *
James: Gilles screams every time the commentators use a term also common in f1.
James: While Elio's doing his very best to become our own personal commentator.
James: Nelson and Alain aren't even watching the game but discussing the current racing season.
James mumbles: Maybe I should actually send those three into the bed room.
James remembers that Riccardo is in the bedroom, sick with the flu.
James: Maybe that's not that great of an idea after all...
James: Andrea still thinks we're watching ice hockey and keeps asking when Michael Jordan's gonna show up. 🤦♀️
James: Ayrton won't stop ranking the players looks.
James: *huffs * Jacques and Patrick have been singing the german national anthem for ten minutes straight *pulls a face * and that totally off key.
James: René is comparing everything to the wrestling match that he watched yesterday. He's even bitching about the jerseys not being as cool as the wrestling ones.
James: Now René's bitching about why they won't just settle the score with an awesome wrestling match *rubs bridge of his nose *
James. Honestly Didier seems to be the only one somewhat keeping up with the game.
James: Bruno is trying to beat Brazil on his game boy *mumbles * he got world cup usa for christmas... even though he could be literally watching the game RIGHT NOW!
*cheering in the background *
James looking scared: Brazil just won the world cup and I think Ayrton and Nelson are transforming into something.
Nelson and Ayrton: *actually hugging and celebrating together *
James: *looks even more scared *
James shakes Niki awake, who somehow hasn't been woken up by Ayrton and Nelson loosing their shit.
Niki groggily: What? What's going on, is the match over?
James: *points at Ayrton and Nelson, still hugging and jumping around with each other *
James and Niki both turn and see Elio clinging to Nigel, utterly inconsolable and sobbing hysterically.
Niki: Did I wake in another dimension??!
Riccardo suddenly comes walking into the room looking like a zombie. He takes one look at the crying Elio, one look at the hugging Ayrton and Nelson before he just turns around again and leaves the room.
Bruno, btw, doesn't care at all that Italy lost the world cup because on his game boy he (read: Italy) beat Brazil.
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René Arnoux's Renault RS01 at F1Live in London
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Rene Arnoux, Ferrari 126C4, 1984 Monaco GP, Monte Carlo
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A large poster of René Arnoux holding a fish on the garage wall.
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René: Let’s go get a birthday cake.
Elio: But neither of us have birthdays this month?
René: The cake won’t know that
Elio: ... Valid. Let’s get two.
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