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Comeback embarrassment



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The early eighties were known for a lot but 1982 and '83 certainly had this strange F1 theme: great Champions of the past being seduced out of F1 retirement and returning for more glory.

Monza '82 saw Mario's tremendous comeback in a tragic Ferrari year, sticking the 126C2 firmly on pole on his return, while the year also marked McLaren's coup in bringing back F1's greatest living legend of the time, Niki Lauda. The Austrian showed he hadn't lost his touch while running his airline, taking just three races to win again.

The track which saw Lauda's comeback win also saw the return of Alan Jones to the F1 scene one year later. His comeback was proudly announced by Arrows team boss Jackie Oliver but as it happened it was by far the least successful of the returning Champions. Jones qualified a satisfactory 12th but in the race he clearly wasn't up to the job, retiring from exhaustion in lap 58. The driver then wisely decided he had no business in F1 anymore.

Nevertheless, two years on Jones was lured back into F1 once more by American Carl Haas' Beatrice Lola team, and this time his stay lasted a while longer. But once again he didn't figure, a 4th in Austria '86 his best result.

Since then, "Jonesy" has been a factor in the Shell Australian Touring Car Championship, driving big 5-litre Fords and Holdens and winning on occasion. For several years he has also been Murray Walker's co-commentator for the Australian Grand Prix, often spicing up the show with one-liners like "I wouldn't like Michael Schumacher coming all over the back of me either!" Well, who would?