• Italian Grand Prix

Title race reignited by Piquet win as Prost retires

ESPN Staff
September 11, 1983

An enthralling title race saw another twist as Nelson Piquet's victory at Monza brought him back into contention for the championship as rival Alain Prost retired with a turbo failure mid-race. He left Italy only five points behind Prost with Rene Arnoux in between them, two points off the lead.

Piquet had few worries through the race, taking the lead from Riccardo Patrese on the third lap and retaining his advantage through the pit stops as well as setting the day's fastest lap. His one minor concern came when Brabham team-mate Patrese's engine blew up causing him to grow more concerned as his own car's temperature increased. But tinkering with his boost pressure remedied the problem.

Behind him Patrick Tambay and Ferrari team-mate Rene Arnoux led the chase but yet again Tambay's engine wasn't performing properly and he dropped back down to fourth as he was passed by Arnoux and Eddie Cheever's Renault.

To the undisguised delight of the crowd, Prost's day ended when his turbo blew after 26 laps. He had already suffered tyre damage when forced to brake heavily to avoid Andrea de Cesaris' spinning Alfa Romeo at the chicane. He was probably relieved to get out of Italy. Death threats in the weeks before the race meant he had security protection throughout and was flown to and from the track by helicopter. As it was, he claimed local fans threw bottles onto the track at his car.

At the end of the race spectators poured onto the circuit even though cars were still running. Nigel Mansell had to slam on the brakes as a fan ran in front of him just before the chequered flag allowing Bruno Giacomelli to swing round the Lotus and pass feet from the line. "It was absolute madness the way the crowd behaved," Mansell said. "Giacomelli is welcome to seventh place. I'm just glad I didn't kill or injure anyone." Mansell's mood had not been helped by driving most of the race with a broken seat.

This was the first time a Cosworth powered car failed to finish in the points since the 1967 French Grand Prix.

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