The sad 1982 season was coming to an end. It had been a cursed year for Scuderia Ferrari, to put it mildly. In the space of just a few Grands Prix, the sport had lost Gilles Villeneuve, who died in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, then Didier Pironi was involved in a terrible accident in practice for the German Grand Prix. Nevertheless, the 126 C2 was a very competitive car, so much so that despite having competed in one less race than their competitors, the Scuderia was leading the Constructors’ Championship.
The Italian Grand Prix in Monza was the penultimate race of the year and as often happens, announcements were made relating to the following season. One was regarding the Scuderia itself, who on the eve of the Italian weekend announced that in 1983 its two drivers would be René Arnoux and Patrick Tambay, who confirmed his place in the team after replacing Villeneuve halfway through the season. However the Frenchman’s participation was in doubt right up to the last minute due to a neck problem which forced him to miss the Swiss Grand Prix. He was treated at a clinic in Lausanne and arrived at Monza ready to race.
For the final two races of the season, the Scuderia had considered the Englishman Rupert Keegan and the 1980 World Champion Alan Jones, but in the end they reached an agreement with Mario Andretti. He had raced for the Scuderia ten years previously and in the meantime had been crowned Formula 1 World Champion before deciding to return home, accepting offers from American teams who paid him large sums to race in the IndyCar Series.