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From the Motor Sport Archive
— An air of foreboding
Zolder, May 9th
WITH the Imola "strikers" returned to the lucrative world of Formula One, the Belgian entry was full to overflowing, but their union shop-steward made it clear that he and his men intended to employ "disruptive methods" and protest against anything and everything. Consequently, although the entire entry was ready to go on Friday morning a lot of people were looking over their shoulders wondering what the FOCA "special-builders" would get up to.
The absurdly crowded conditions in the Zolder circuit pit lane have at last been dealt with and it is a pity that we had to wait until the death of the Osella mechanic last year for any serious action to be taken. A total rebuild of the pit and paddock area was completed well on time and full marks to the organisation for the way it was carried out. With 32 drivers in the line up there had to be some sorting out before the Friday afternoon qualifying session and this was done according to the Concorde Agreement, one of the rules nobody has found fault with yet. During the Friday morning test-session lap times were taken for Boesel (March), Jarier and Paletti (Osella), Warwick and Fabi (Toleman) and Villota (March) and the two slowest were destined to become spectators. The remaining four could join in the rest of practice on an equal footing with the graded-team drivers to try and get in the select 26 that would actually start the race. Among those assured of full practice, thanks to their team scoring points in the Manufacturers Championship last year, there were a few changes. The courageous Swiss driver Marc Surer was back with the Arrows team, fully recovered from his crash while testing at Kyalami in January, Brian Henton was continuing as number two in the Tyrrell team, having "negotiated" Slim Borgudd out of the way, Jan Lammers was being given a drive in the Theodore, Emilio de Villota financed himself into a third March car, but most important of all Derek Daly was making his debut as number two in the Williams team, Reutemann having retired and Andretti unwilling to break his American track-racing contract. From almost being out of work last October Keijo Rosberg was now number one in the Williams team that won the Manufacturers Championship last year.