Tag Archives: de Angelis

42 Day Wonder – Lotus Renault 94T #94/2

As the 1983 Grand Prix season approached the halfway mark Team Lotus who were running a Renault Turbo powered Lotus 93T for Elio De Angelis and a Ford Cosworth powered Lotus 92 for Nigel Mansell had scored but one point and many retirements.

Lotus Renault 94T, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Without there erstwhile genius Colin Chapman who had died in December 1982 Peter Warr who found himself in charge of Lotus Formula One team took a gamble and hired Gerard Ducarouge who had been fired from the Alfa Romeo team earlier in the season.

Lotus Renault 94T, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

Ducarouge who had penned winning designs for Ligier came up with the new Lotus 94T in just 42 days and Team Lotus turned up with two of the Renault powered cars at the British Grand Prix held at Silverstone.

Lotus Renault 94T, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

De Angelis qualified 4th and Mansell 18th but in the race it was Mansell who finished 4th while de Andelis retired on the 2nd lap with turbo failure. At the next race in Germany neither car qualified in the top 10, only de Angelis’s 94T made it to the start and he retired after 10 laps with engine failure.

At the Austrian Grand Prix Mansell qualified 3rd with de Angelis 12th, Mansell finished 5th while de Angelis retired after a collision on the opening lap. In Holland de Angelis qualified 3rd and Mansell 5th but both cars retired de Angelis with electrical problems and Mansell after a spin.

At de Angelis’s home track Monza he qualified 8th with Mansell back in 11th both cars finsihed for the the first time with de Angelis 5th and Mansell in 8th.

04 12 05 17 #12 EUGP 83sc

The 1983 European Grand Prix was held at Brands Hatch and de Angelis scored Lotus first post Chapman pole position with Mansell seen here on his way to 3rd on the grid. In the race de Angelis oil pump failed but Mansell came home third, recording the races fastest lap in the process.

Lotus Renault 94T, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

At the last race of the season in South Africa Mansell qualified 7th with de Angelis in 11, Elio retired with engine failure while Nigel was running but unclassified 9 laps behind at the end of the race.

Lotus Renault 94T, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

The Renault Gordini EF1 V6 Turbo was considered a bit of a joke when first seen at the British Grand Prix in 1977 but steady development had seen a rise in horsepower and reliability that forced first Ferrari and then BMW to take the turbo charged route to competitiveness at motor racing’s top table.

Lotus Renault 94T, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

Lotus had first dabbled with a multi plane rear wing in 1974 with the type 76, Gerard Ducarouge was on his own in the Grand Prix paddock with the four plane rear wing seen here, it was not a feature that carried over into the following season.

Lotus Renault 94T, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

In 42 days Gerard Ducarouge had turned the fortunes of Lotus around they finished the season with 12 points 11 of which were claimed with the new car. Due to the immediate improvement in results John Player Special renewed their sponsorship of the team for the 1984 season.

The chassis seen in all of the photographs here is #94/2 driven exclusively by Nigel Mansell in the British, Austrian, Dutch, Italian, European and South African Grand Prix.

Thanks for joining me on this “42 Day Wonder” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Active Suspension – Lotus Ford T92 92/5

For 1983 the Formula One regulations changed mandating flat bottoms between the front and rear axles, the intention was to outlaw ground effects which Lotus had successfully pioneered with it’s Lotus 79 and less successfully with it’s Lotus 80, 86 and 88 models, all the other teams on the Grand Prix grid had followed the Lotus teams lead with the result that cars were driving around corners so fast they were making the tracks they were driven on obsolete in terms of safety.

Lotus Ford 92, Goodwood FoS

Lotus managed to secure a supply of Renault Tubocharged V6 engines, for 1983, to replace the Ford Cosworth V8’s that the team had been using since the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix. These Renault motors were more powerful but also more fragile than the Cosworth’s, they were also in extremely short supply with Renault being able to supply only enough to keep Elio de Angelis on the grid for the first half of the 1983 season in a Lotus Renault Type 93T. Team mate Nigel Mansell had to make do with an interim the Ford Cosworth powered Lotus 92 featured today for the first half of 1983.

Lotus Ford 92, Silverstone Classic

The Lotus Renault 92 was devised by Colin Chapman and Martin Ogilvie, however Colin Chapman died in December 1982 and so never saw the car completed, 2 Type 92’s were built using the chassis tubs of the previous Lotus Type 91 featured last week. As well as being the last Ford Cosworth DFV powered Lotus design the Lotus 92 was also the first Formula One car to be fitted with computer managed hydraulic ‘active’ suspension. Nigel Mansell tested the system but did not like it so the idea was shelved pending further development. In 1992 Nigel won his only world championship with Williams in an actively suspended car.

Lotus Ford 92, Silverstone Classic

Perhaps unsurprisingly without their energetic leader Lotus floundered in 1983 the Renault powered Lotus 93T recorded a best 9th place with Elio at the wheel and Nigel managed a best 6th place finish at the 1983 Detroit Grand Prix in the Cosworth powered Lotus 92. A decision was taken in June 1983 to employ the recently sacked ALFA Romeo designer Gerard Ducarouge to design a third all new car for 1983.

Lotus Ford 92, Silverstone Classic

In six weeks Ducarouge managed to design and deliver two new Lotus Renault T94’s and set in motion a return to winning ways for Team Lotus. The Lotus T92 recorded just 9 starts one for de Angelis in Brazil at the beginning of the season where he was disqualified for starting the race in the Cosworth powered car in which he had not set a qualifying time, after his Renault powered 93T broke down on the warm up lap and 8 starts for Mansell who along side his 6th place finish in Detroit recorded three 12th place finishes and four retirements, which was three more finishes than the Lotus Renault 93 T managed.

Lotus Ford 92, Silverstone Classic

The first photo show’s Mercedes Benz GP reserve driver Brendon Hartley at last years Goodwood Festival of Speed and the third show’s 92/5’s previous owner Kiwi Roger Wills at the wheel during the 2011 Silverstone Classic meeting.

My thanks to Roger for clarifying Brendon Hartley’s identity.

Thanks for joining me on this “Active Suspension” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Broken Wrist – Lotus Ford T 91 91/7

After the controversy of the 1981 season with the twin chassis Lotus 88 the Lotus team upgraded it’s conventional single chassis Lotus 87 for the 1982 season giving it the Lotus T 91 tag. Still powered by the by now venerable Ford Cosworth V8 the Lotus 91 was one of the more attractive entries on the grid.

Lotus Ford 91, British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch

The 91 was a modest improvement on the Lotus 87 Nigel Mansell scoring a seasons best 3rd place finish on his debut in the model in the Brasilian Grand Prix. At the Canadian Grand Prix Nigel Mansell broke his wrist in an accident and after sitting out the Dutch Grand Prix where he was replaced by Roberto Moreno who failed to qualify. Nigel came back for the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch where he is seen in today’s photographs.

Lotus Ford 91, British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch

Unfortunately Nigel was not fully recovered and he could only qualify 23rd on the grid in chassis #91/7 before retiring from the race due to the discomfort from his wrist. While waiting for his wrist to recover properly Nigel missed the following French Grand Prix where Geoff Lees stood in and finished 12th.

Lotus Ford 91, British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch

Team mate Elio de Angelis scored a famous victory with his Lotus 91 at the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix where he held off, eventual 1982 champion, Keke Rosberg and his Williams to win by just half a cars length. The 1982 Austrian Grand Prix was the first, of two, for de Angelis, the last for a Ford Cosworth powered Lotus and the last for Colin Chapman who succumbed to a heart attack in December 1982.

Thanks for joining me on this “Broken Wrist” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Improvement Is Not Enough – Lotus Ford 81 #R2

Through out the 1970s Colin Chapman had come up with a string of innovative if not always successful designs and concepts for his Formula One team on the successful side there was the wedge shaped Lotus 72 which remained competitive from 1970 to 1974, the Lotus 78 wing car which won more races than any other design in 1977 but did not win the championship and the Lotus 79 ground effects car which clinched the 1978 World Championships for Mario Andretti and Lotus.

On the less successful side Colin had developed the Lotus 76 with it’s novel twin wing and push button clutch which was abandoned in 1974, Lotus 77 with it’s infinitely variable suspension geometry which caused team leader Ronnie Peterson to quit the team, before it was turned into a one time race winner with Mario Andretti at the wheel in 1976 and the Lotus 80 which took the ground effects concept a little too far and was abandoned after just three starts in 1979.

This left Lotus and Ferrari tied on championships for the 1970’s with three drivers titles each and four constructors titles each with Lotus winning 35 races between 1970 and 1979 to Ferrari’s 39.

Lotus 81, 1980 British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch

1980 proved to be a bad year for both Ferrari and Lotus, Ferrari were busy building a new turbo charged motor and the Ferrari T5 used in the interim was an improvement on the previous years championship winning Ferrari T4, but was way behind the development curve of its competitors, Colin Champman’s Lotus 1981 mean while did not appear to feature any innovations and is probably best described as an improvement on the 1978 championship winning Lotus 79, but was also way behind the development curve of it’s competitors.

Mario Andretti and Elio de Angelis were employed to drive the new cars and it was de Angelis in his second season in the sports top tier that scored the teams best result a second place in the Brazilian Grand Prix along with three further top six, points paying finish. Mario meanwhile had a miserable last season at Lotus with nine retirements and just a single sixth place finish in his last race for the team in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.

The Lotus 81 introduced future world champion Nigel Mansell to Formula One when he became a third member of the team for three races towards the end of the year starting at the 1980 Austrian Grand Prix. Nigel recorded two retirements and a DNQ but had done enough to secure a seat with the team for the following season.

Lotus finished the season in a poor and distant, by their standards 5th place in the constructors championship while Ferrari finished an even more disappointing 10th.

Elio de Angelis is seen above in chassis 81 #R2 on the opening lap of the 1980 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch from which he retired. 81/R2 was used by all three Lotus drivers in 1980, Mario scored a best 7th place finish at Monaco, Elio a best 4th place finish at the 1980 US GP at Watkins Glen while Nigel failed to qualify R2 at the 1980 Italian GP at Monza.

For 1981 chassis 81/R2 was updated to B spec which included a tea tray front wing, as a has been in use by Ferrari since 1974. Nigel Mansell raced the car four times in 1981 scoring a best 10th place finish in the 1981 South African Grand Prix, the cars last race was the 1981 Argentinian Grand Prix from which Nigel retired. The car was subsequently taken to races as a spare car up until the French Grand Prix after which it was replaced by the new Lotus 87/88 design.

Thanks for joining me on this “Improvement Is Not Enough” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !