British F3 round 10 / European F3 round 6 – Silverstone
12 June 1983.
Qualifying: 1:32.27 (1); 1:24.08(2). Front row
Pole: Brundle 1:23.99 (1).
Result: Retired after 7 laps, accident.
The nature of the race brought some leading C o n t i n e n t a l s , including John Nielsen (Denmark), Didier Theys (Belgium), Roberto Ravaglia (Italy) and future Formula 1 drivers Pierluigi Martini, Emanuele Pirro and, qualifying twenty-first, Gerhard Berger.
A wet first session but Senna seemed to have a pole in the second, dry. However, with 15 minutes left Brundle put on a new set of Yokohama tyre sand stole it. The significance: the British Championship was restricted to Avon tyres so if you ran Yokohama you’d opted to take the Continentals on. Senna opted for that, too.
Brundle finished lap 1 with Senna directly behind and pressing, and Dumfries pressing him. On lap 3 Dumfries tried to pass at Stowe. Senna reportedly had gambled on three different compound tyres on the car – against the advice of the Yokohama technicians – in an effort to have a set which would last the 20 laps. This is the first recorded instance of Senna making his own decisions whatever experts counselled. He soon had over-steer. “After two laps the left rear wasn’t working at all. There was just no grip.” Dumfries says that “I was along side him down Hangar Straight and he put me on the grass. It was interesting because he was under pressure from me and he was also trying to catch Brundle.”
On lap 6 Senna lost control at Club and spun off. He rejoined ninth, took Nielsen and Nissen but went off backwards at Woodcote.
• Podium (European): Brundle, Tommy Byrne, Theys.
• Podium (British): Allen Berg, Jones, Fish.
• Fastest lap: Dumfries.
• Championship: Senna 88, Brundle 54, Jones 35.