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Unrevisted F1 Throwback Thursday #2

Unrevisted F1 is the Throwback Thursday of UnracedF1. Every Thursday a new post will arrive with randomly old news items, reports or silly season rumours. Most of the news items will come from old magazines such as Autosport. Get yourself some coffee and enjoy the trip back in time with the newest edition of Unrevisted F1!

For the original scan of the article hit the date under the item.

Monza verdict for Patrese
In Milan last week, Riccardo Patrese was found not guilty of the culpable manslaughter of Ronnie Peterson during the Italian Grand Prix of 1978. Patrese was absolved completely, and so, too, was Gianni Restelli, the race starter, who was accused of the same charge. The Public Prosecutor in the Milan court claimed that Patrese’s moving over the white line (on the right of the start-finish straight) at the start started a chain reacting which led to Peterson’s fatal accident. He went on to claim that Patrese then chopped back across the white line, onto the track proper, hit James Hunt’s McLaren, knocking it into Peterson’s Lotus. “My car was almost stationary when the green light went on,” said Patrese, giving evidence. “I got away well, while Hunt, in front of me, was slower. To avoid hitting the back of his car and not wanting to slow abruptly in case those behind hit my car, I moved to the right, over the white line. I overtook Hunt, and then moved back. This was my right: I was in front of Hunt, and it was my line.” The court was asked to decide whether Patrese was actually int front of Hunt when he made his move back onto the track proper, or whether he was actually alongside the Mclaren, thereby forcing it to swerve into Peterson’s car, as Hunt has suggested. Five racing “experts” were asked for their opinion, and four of them agreed that the Arrows had, in fact, been ahead of the Mclaren. One, Arturo Merzario, disagreed, supporting Hunt’s testimony that the Englishman had “steered to the left and hit Peterson to avoid being hit by Patrese.”
Had Patrese committed an infringement of the rules by crossing the white line? Interestingly, it was pointed out that, while there were cones on the line in 1977 and 1979, there were none in 1978…
Patrese has always claimed that his car never struck Hunt’s. “Why, then,” said the Public Prosecutor, “did you ask for a complete tyre change when you got back in the pits?” “I didn’t ask for a tyre change,” replied Patrese. “On the warming up lap, the handling of the car had felt completely different through left-handers. I asked the tyre men to check my tyres when the race was stopped. I don’t know if they changed them or not.”
The Public Prosecutor asked for a suspended eight-month gaol sentence for Patrese, but after an hour’s deliberation, the court found both he and Restelli not guilty. Grand Prix racing may breathe a sigh of relief at this result. No one cares to see civil law involved in motor racing. If the result of the trial had gone against Patrese, the whole future of motor racing in Italy could have been put in jeopardy.
Autosport, 05 November 1981

 F3 Tiga makes debut
Tim schenken’s Eurosports Management/Team Tiga outfit brought their new Tiga F381 out for its first race on Sunday. James Weaver performing well to claim fourth place. The car had been extensively revisited since its recent outing, for practice only, at Oulton Park and Weaver professed himself pleased with progress. “It had a big problem with the brakes,” said James after practice, “but it seems to handle pretty well. It is proving very sensitive to ride-height changes but I think that’s probably because the car’s still not yet stiff enough.” Further revisions are expected prior to the car’s next outing at Thruxton in ten days’ time.
Autosport, 15 october 1981

Neve tests Pilbeam
Belgian Patrick Neve tested the new Hart-engined Pilbeam Formula 2 car at Snetterton last week, and was apparently impressed with the chassis. No problems were encountered and, although he was not lapping at record speeds, enough was learned to enable the team to look forward to giving it “a bit of bashing,” as Mike Pilbeam put it, next time out. The car will be run from Mike Earle’s Bognor Regis workshops, and the first race will be the Silverstone International Trophy meeting on March 25, an event which Patrick very nearly won, it will be remembered, back in 1977 with the works’ March 772P. Plans to run a second car are continuing, we hear, although it is unlikely that the driver will be British. The car will definitely not be ready for the first race, Pilbeam preferring to concentrate on sorting out the first chassis before any further work is undertaken.
Autosport, 08 March 1979