Your classic grand prix - race one
We have chosen the 1982 South African Grand Prix as the race to highlight in the first edition of this year's classic races series.
There was an overwhelming response when we posted the five picks last week, so thank you for that. It is very gratifying to see that you are all so excited by the return of 'classic grands prix', as well as, of course, by what promises to be a brilliant Formula 1 season.
As regular readers will know, this is not a 'vote' per se. We ask you which of five races is your favourite, then we use those responses to decide which event we give the 'full treatment' to. The winning selection gets the full Grand Prix programme from the time, as well as the shorter edited highlights we cut for all the events.
In this case, though, the race we have chosen was also the most popular - and with good reason. Something of a forgotten classic it may be, but the South African Grand Prix of 1982 is a classic nonetheless.
The full Grand Prix programme of the time is embedded below, with the five short highlights linked below it.
Watch short highlights of the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 1982 South African Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 1990 US Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 2009 Bahrain Grand Prix
The quality of the race itself is reason enough for it to have gone down in history. Alain Prost produced a sensational comeback in his turbocharged Renault after a puncture dropped him from first to seventh place well past half distance. There were also battles throughout the top six to liven things up just when it looked like the Renaults of Prost and team-mate Rene Arnoux were poised to run away with the race.
But it was not just the racing that has secured this event its place in the annals. It has also become notorious for the pre-race actions of the drivers, who decided to strike in a protest over licences.
The drivers were unhappy about a clause in their 'superlicence' which stated they were to drive for their contracted team until a given date. The drivers refused to sign, on the basis that the clause would restrict their freedom to move teams.
With no agreement by the time the F1 circus gathered at Kyalami for the first race of the season, Ferrari driver Didier Pironi - the president of the grand prix drivers' association and the prime mover behind the strike along with team-mate Gilles Villeneuve and McLaren's Niki Lauda, fresh out of retirement - instructed F1 officials that the drivers would not participate unless the clause was removed.
That's when things got very interesting.
When the drivers arrived at the track on the morning of first practice, they were asked to get on a bus by Lauda and Pironi. All climbed on board, with the exception of German journeyman Jochen Mass, and they were ferried off to a nearby hotel.
And despite attempts at negotiation, that is where they stayed for the rest of the day.
They locked themselves away in a conference room, fending off all but one attempt by team bosses to drag their drivers away. The only man to break ranks was Italian novice Teo Fabi, who was persuaded to return to the track by Toleman team boss Alex Hawkridge.
Villeneuve and Elio de Angelis took turns entertaining the drivers by playing the piano - Villeneuve with Scott Joplin rags, De Angelis with classical music. But, as the talks dragged on, it became apparent that they would not be resolved that day, so the drivers settled down to sleep on borrowed mattresses.
Some were forced to share doubles, among them Villeneuve, recognised as the fastest driver in the world at the time, and future four-time world champion Prost. As the lights went out, some wag wondered aloud what kind of super-baby would be the result of that liaison.
Pironi met Balestre again early the following morning but those talks also broke down. Practice subsequently took place with only Fabi's March in attendance, before a second round of negotiations resulted in a breakthrough.
Pironi said he had been given assurances that none of the drivers would be punished for striking, but it appeared initially that they had been tricked. Fines ranging from $5,000-10,000 were announced, while some drivers were handed bans of between two and five races.
The race went ahead anyway and, when everyone got back to Europe, the punishments were eventually dropped. So too was the clause in the licence that had angered the drivers so much in the first place.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of the rows and disagreements, for Kyalami signalled the start of one of the most bad-tempered - and tragic - seasons in F1 history.
The backdrop to the season was poisonous, with rows over safety and politics overshadowing some great racing.
And by the time it was over, Villeneuve and Italian novice Riccardo Paletti had been killed and Pironi's career ended by terrible leg injuries.
As a result of the Ferrari drivers' accidents - both were terrifyingly similar - the cars were changed dramatically for 1983 and F1 was never the same again.