1981 Formula One season

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1981
FIA Formula One World Championship season
Previous: 1980 Next: 1982

The 1981 Formula One season was the 32nd season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1981 FIA Formula One World Championship which was contested over a fifteen race series that commenced on 15 March and ended on 17 October. Formula One cars also contested the 1981 South African Grand Prix, although this was technically a Formula Libre race and was not part of the Formula One World Championship.[1]

The 1981 championship was the inaugural FIA Formula One World Championship, replacing the former World Championship for Drivers.[2] Nelson Piquet won the Drivers' Championship, claiming the first of his three Formula One titles and Williams won the Constructors' Championship.

Drivers and constructors[edit]

The following teams and drivers contested the 1981 FIA Formula One World Championship:

The Drivers' Championship was won by Nelson Piquet, who drove for the Brabham team.
Carlos Reutemann, driving for Williams, placed second in the Drivers' Championship by just one point
Reutemann's team mate Alan Jones placed third in the Drivers' Championship
Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Tyres No Driver Rounds
United Kingdom Albilad Williams Racing Team
United Kingdom TAG Williams Racing Team
Williams-Ford FW07C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
G
1 Australia Alan Jones All
2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann All
United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Team Tyrrell-Ford 010
011
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
A
3 United States Eddie Cheever All
4 United States Kevin Cogan 1
Argentina Ricardo Zunino 2–3
Italy Michele Alboreto 4–15
United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham-Ford BT49C
BT50
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
G
5 Brazil Nelson Piquet All
6 Mexico Hector Rebaque All
United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren International McLaren-Ford M29F
MP4/1
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M 7 United Kingdom John Watson All
8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris All
West Germany Team ATS ATS-Ford D4
D5
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
A
9 Netherlands Jan Lammers 1–4
Sweden Slim Borgudd 5–15
10 Sweden Slim Borgudd 4
United Kingdom Team Essex Lotus
United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus
Lotus-Ford 81B
87
88
88B
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
G
11 Italy Elio de Angelis 1–3, 5–15
12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell 1–3, 5–15
United Kingdom Ensign Racing Ensign-Ford N180B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
A
14 Switzerland Marc Surer 1–6
Colombia Ricardo Londoño 2
Chile Eliseo Salazar 7–15
France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE20B
RE30
Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t M 15 France Alain Prost All
16 France René Arnoux All
United Kingdom March Grand Prix Team March-Ford 811 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
A
17 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly 1–3, 7–15
Chile Eliseo Salazar 4–6
18 Chile Eliseo Salazar 1–3
Republic of Ireland Derek Daly 4–6
Brazil Fittipaldi Automotive Fittipaldi-Ford F8C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
A


P

20 Finland Keke Rosberg 1–10, 12–15
21 Brazil Chico Serra 1–10, 12–15
Italy Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 179B
179C
179D
Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 M 22 United States Mario Andretti All
23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli All
France Equipe Talbot Gitanes Ligier-Matra JS17 Matra MS81 3.0 V12 M 25 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 1–2
France Jean-Pierre Jabouille 3–7
France Patrick Tambay 8–15
26 France Jacques Laffite All
Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 126CK Ferrari 021 1.5 V6t M 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve All
28 France Didier Pironi All
United Kingdom Ragno Arrows Beta Racing Team Arrows-Ford A3 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
P
29 Italy Riccardo Patrese All
30 Italy Siegfried Stohr 1–13
Canada Jacques Villeneuve, Sr. 14–15
Italy Osella Squadra Corse Osella-Ford FA1B
FA1C
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M 31 Argentina Miguel Ángel Guerra 1–4
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani 5
Italy Beppe Gabbiani 6–15
32 Italy Beppe Gabbiani 1–5
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani 6
Italy Giorgio Francia 7
Argentina Miguel Ángel Guerra 8
France Jean-Pierre Jarier 9–15
United Kingdom Theodore Racing Team Theodore-Ford TY01 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
A
33 France Patrick Tambay 1–7
Switzerland Marc Surer 8–15
United Kingdom Candy Toleman Motorsport Toleman-Hart TG181 Hart 415T 1.5 L4t P 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton 4–15
36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick 4–15

Season review[edit]

Rnd Race Date Location Pole Position Fastest Lap Race Winner Constructor Report
1 United States United States Grand Prix West 15 March Long Beach Italy Riccardo Patrese Australia Alan Jones Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Report
2 Brazil Brazilian Grand Prix 29 March Jacarepaguá Brazil Nelson Piquet Switzerland Marc Surer Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford Report
3 Argentina Argentine Grand Prix 12 April Buenos Aires Brazil Nelson Piquet Brazil Nelson Piquet Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Report
4 Italy San Marino Grand Prix 3 May Imola Canada Gilles Villeneuve Canada Gilles Villeneuve Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Report
5 Belgium Belgian Grand Prix 17 May Zolder Argentina Carlos Reutemann Argentina Carlos Reutemann Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford Report
6 Monaco Monaco Grand Prix 31 May Monaco Brazil Nelson Piquet Australia Alan Jones Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari Report
7 Spain Spanish Grand Prix 21 June Jarama France Jacques Laffite Australia Alan Jones Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari Report
8 France French Grand Prix 5 July Dijon-Prenois France René Arnoux France Alain Prost France Alain Prost France Renault Report
9 United Kingdom British Grand Prix 18 July Silverstone France René Arnoux France René Arnoux United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Report
10 West Germany German Grand Prix 2 August Hockenheimring France Alain Prost Australia Alan Jones Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Report
11 Austria Austrian Grand Prix 16 August Österreichring France René Arnoux France Jacques Laffite France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra Report
12 Netherlands Dutch Grand Prix 30 August Zandvoort France Alain Prost Australia Alan Jones France Alain Prost France Renault Report
13 Italy Italian Grand Prix 13 September Monza France René Arnoux Argentina Carlos Reutemann France Alain Prost France Renault Report
14 Canada Canadian Grand Prix 27 September Île Notre-Dame Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom John Watson France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra Report
15 United States Caesars Palace Grand Prix 17 October Caesars Palace Argentina Carlos Reutemann France Didier Pironi Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Report

Notes: The final race was originally supposed to be held at Watkins Glen, but this track was dropped from the calendar in May due to the circuit's financial difficulties. And the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami on February 7 was originally on the calendar, but difficulties from the ongoing FOCA–FISA war led to the event being run as a non-championship race; and it was contested only by the Ford-Cosworth powered teams all running cars that had aerodynamic devices which were banned for the 1981 championship season.

1981 Drivers' Championship final standings[edit]

Pos Driver USW
United States
BRA
Brazil
ARG
Argentina
SMR
San Marino
BEL
Belgium
MON
Monaco
ESP
Spain
FRA
France
GBR
United Kingdom
GER
West Germany
AUT
Austria
NED
Netherlands
ITA
Italy
CAN
Canada
CPL
United States
Points
1 Brazil Nelson Piquet 3 12 1 1 Ret Ret Ret 3 Ret 1 3 2 6 5 5 50
2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 2 1 2 3 1 Ret 4 10 2 Ret 5 Ret 3 10 8 49
3 Australia Alan Jones 1 2 4 12 Ret 2 7 17 Ret 11 4 3 2 Ret 1 46
4 France Jacques Laffite Ret 6 Ret Ret 2 3 2 Ret 3 3 1 Ret Ret 1 6 44
5 France Alain Prost Ret Ret 3 Ret Ret Ret Ret 1 Ret 2 Ret 1 1 Ret 2 43
6 United Kingdom John Watson Ret 8 Ret 10 7 Ret 3 2 1 6 6 Ret Ret 2 7 27
7 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ret Ret Ret 7 4 1 1 Ret Ret 10 Ret Ret Ret 3 DSQ 25
8 Italy Elio de Angelis Ret 5 6 WD 5 Ret 5 6 DSQ 7 7 5 4 6 Ret 14
9 France René Arnoux 8 Ret 5 8 DNQ Ret 9 4 9 13 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret 11
10 Mexico Hector Rebaque Ret Ret Ret 4 Ret DNQ Ret 9 5 4 Ret 4 Ret Ret Ret 11
11 Italy Riccardo Patrese Ret 3 7 2 Ret Ret Ret 14 10 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 10
12 United States Eddie Cheever 5 NC Ret Ret 6 5 NC 13 4 5 DNQ Ret Ret 12 Ret 10
13 France Didier Pironi Ret Ret Ret 5 8 4 15 5 Ret Ret 9 Ret 5 Ret 9 9
14 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ret 11 Ret WD 3 Ret 6 7 DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 4 8
15 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Ret NC 10 Ret 9 Ret 10 15 Ret 15 Ret Ret 8 4 3 7
16 Switzerland Marc Surer Ret 4 Ret 9 11 6 12 11 14 Ret 8 DNQ 9 Ret 4
17 United States Mario Andretti 4 Ret 8 Ret 10 Ret 8 8 Ret 9 Ret Ret Ret 7 Ret 3
18 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Ret Ret 11 6 Ret Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret 8 DNS 7 Ret 12 1
19 France Patrick Tambay 6 10 Ret 11 DNQ 7 13 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 1
20 Sweden Slim Borgudd 13 DNQ DNPQ DNQ DNQ 6 Ret Ret 10 Ret Ret DNQ 1
21 Chile Eliseo Salazar DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ DNPQ 14 Ret DNQ NC Ret 6 Ret Ret NC 1
France Jean-Pierre Jarier Ret 7 8 8 10 Ret 9 Ret Ret 0
Italy Siegfried Stohr DNQ Ret 9 DNQ Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret 12 Ret 7 DNQ 0
Republic of Ireland Derek Daly DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNPQ 16 Ret 7 Ret 11 Ret Ret 8 DNQ 0
Brazil Chico Serra 7 Ret Ret DNQ Ret DNQ 11 DNS DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 0
Finland Keke Rosberg Ret 9 Ret Ret Ret DNQ 12 Ret Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 10 0
Italy Michele Alboreto Ret 12 Ret DNQ 16 Ret DNQ Ret 9 Ret 11 13 0
United Kingdom Brian Henton DNQ DNQ DNPQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 10 DNQ DNQ 0
Netherlands Jan Lammers Ret DNQ 12 DNQ 0
Argentina Ricardo Zunino 13 13 0
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani 13 DNQ 0
France Jean-Pierre Jabouille DNQ NC Ret DNQ Ret 0
Italy Beppe Gabbiani Ret DNQ DNQ Ret Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 0
United Kingdom Derek Warwick DNQ DNQ DNPQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret 0
Argentina Miguel Angel Guerra DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret 0
Canada Jacques Villeneuve, Sr. DNQ DNQ 0
United States Kevin Cogan DNQ 0
Italy Giorgio Francia DNQ 0
Colombia Ricardo Londoño DNP 0
Pos Driver USW
United States
BRA
Brazil
ARG
Argentina
SMR
San Marino
BEL
Belgium
MON
Monaco
ESP
Spain
FRA
France
GBR
United Kingdom
GER
West Germany
AUT
Austria
NED
Netherlands
ITA
Italy
CAN
Canada
CPL
United States
Points
Key
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Race cancelled (C)
Light blue Practiced only (PO)
Friday test driver (TD)
(from 2003 onwards)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Excluded (EX)
Did not arrive (DNA)

Championship points were awarded on a 9–6–4–3–2–1 basis to the top six finishers in each race.[3]

1981 Constructors' Championship final standings[edit]

Williams FW07C. Williams won the 1981 Constructors' Championship
Brabham BT49C. Brabham placed second in the Constructors' Championship
Renault RE30. Renault placed third in the Constructors' Championship
Pos Constructor Car
no.
USW
United States
BRA
Brazil
ARG
Argentina
SMR
San Marino
BEL
Belgium
MON
Monaco
ESP
Spain
FRA
France
GBR
United Kingdom
GER
West Germany
AUT
Austria
NED
Netherlands
ITA
Italy
CAN
Canada
CPL
United States
Pts
1 United Kingdom Williams-Ford 1 1 2 4 12 Ret 2 7 17 Ret 11 4 3 2 Ret 1 95
2 2 1 2 3 1 Ret 4 10 2 Ret 5 Ret 3 10 8
2 United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 5 3 12 1 1 Ret Ret Ret 3 Ret 1 3 2 6 5 5 61
6 Ret Ret Ret 4 Ret DNQ Ret 9 5 4 Ret 4 Ret Ret Ret
3 France Renault 15 Ret Ret 3 Ret Ret Ret Ret 1 Ret 2 Ret 1 1 Ret 2 54
16 8 Ret 5 8 DNQ Ret 9 4 9 13 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret
4 France Ligier-Matra 25 Ret 7 DNQ NC Ret DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 44
26 Ret 6 Ret Ret 2 3 2 Ret 3 3 1 Ret Ret 1 6
5 Italy Ferrari 27 Ret Ret Ret 7 4 1 1 Ret Ret 10 Ret Ret Ret 3 DSQ 34
28 Ret Ret Ret 5 8 4 15 5 Ret Ret 9 Ret 5 Ret 9
6 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 7 Ret 8 Ret 10 7 Ret 3 2 1 6 6 Ret Ret 2 7 28
8 Ret Ret 11 6 Ret Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret 8 DNS 7 Ret 12
7 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 11 Ret 5 6 WD 5 Ret 5 6 DSQ 7 7 5 4 6 Ret 22
12 Ret 11 Ret WD 3 Ret 6 7 DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 4
8 United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 29 Ret 3 7 2 Ret Ret Ret 14 10 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 10
30 DNQ Ret 9 DNQ Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret 12 Ret 7 DNQ DNQ DNQ
9 Italy Alfa Romeo 22 4 Ret 8 Ret 10 Ret 8 8 Ret 9 Ret Ret Ret 7 Ret 10
23 Ret NC 10 Ret 9 Ret 10 15 Ret 15 Ret Ret 8 4 3
10 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 3 5 NC Ret Ret 6 5 NC 13 4 5 DNQ Ret Ret 12 Ret 10
4 DNQ 13 13 Ret 12 Ret DNQ 16 Ret DNQ Ret 9 Ret 11 13
11 United Kingdom Ensign-Ford 14 Ret 4 Ret 9 11 6 14 Ret DNQ NC Ret 6 Ret Ret NC 5
12 Hong Kong Theodore-Ford 33 6 10 Ret 11 DNQ 7 13 12 11 14 Ret 8 DNQ 9 Ret 1
13 West Germany ATS-Ford 9 Ret DNQ 12 DNQ DNQ DNPQ DNQ DNQ 6 Ret Ret 10 Ret Ret DNQ 1
10 13
United Kingdom March-Ford 17 DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ DNPQ 16 Ret 7 Ret 11 Ret Ret 8 DNQ 0
18 DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNPQ
Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford 20 Ret 9 Ret Ret Ret DNQ 12 Ret Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 10 0
21 7 Ret Ret DNQ Ret DNQ 11 DNS DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
Italy Osella-Ford 31 DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret 13 DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 0
32 Ret DNQ DNQ Ret Ret DNQ DNQ WD 8 8 10 Ret 9 Ret Ret
United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 35 DNQ DNQ DNPQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 10 DNQ DNQ 0
36 DNQ DNQ DNPQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret
Pos Constructor Car
no.
USW
United States
BRA
Brazil
ARG
Argentina
SMR
San Marino
BEL
Belgium
MON
Monaco
ESP
Spain
FRA
France
GBR
United Kingdom
GER
West Germany
AUT
Austria
NED
Netherlands
ITA
Italy
CAN
Canada
CPL
United States
Pts

Championship points were awarded on a 9–6–4–3–2–1 basis to the top six finishers in each race.[3]

Non-Championship race results[edit]

A non-Championship Formula One race was also held in 1981, which did not count towards the World Championship. It was technically a Formula Libre race, since the cars did not conform to the current Formula One regulations. Although not a part of the Championship, the 1981 South African Grand Prix attracted high-calibre drivers and cars and was won by Carlos Reutemann in a Williams.

Race Name Circuit Date Winning driver Constructor Report
South Africa South African Grand Prix Kyalami 7 February Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Cosworth Report

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mattijs Diepraam & Felix Muelas, The one that didn't count, forix.autosport.com Retrieved on 24 February 2013
  2. ^ Mattijs Diepraam, 1981 – long live the FIA F1 World Championship, forix.autosport.com Retrieved on 24 February 2013
  3. ^ a b Peter Higham, The Guinness Guide to International Motor Racing, 1995, page 6

External links[edit]