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Nelson Piquet, Brabham BT52B BMW, punches the air at the finish
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Special feature

The lax F1 engine policy that BMW exploited for Piquet’s second title

It’s a good thing there were no penalties for changing engines 40 years ago – even for a season finale, says MAURICE HAMILTON…

“Lift and coast.” A familiar phrase as tyres and power unit supplies were eked out in the final races. Each driver is expected to get through a season on three engines, which is a bit like asking the FIA president if he wouldn’t mind limiting his TV cameo appearances to 50. It’s a tough call. Things were more free and easy in the championship shoot-out 40 years ago.

For the final race of 1983, BMW came to South Africa with no fewer than 13 engines. For one team. Or to be perfectly honest, for one driver. Nelson Piquet was BMW’s man as the Brabham number one went head-to-head with Renault’s Alain Prost (Ferrari’s René Arnoux was an outsider in this championship mathematical mix).

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