1981 Italian Grand Prix

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Italy  1981 Italian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 13 of 15 in the 1981 Formula One season
Monza 1976.jpg
Date September 13, 1981
Official name L Gran Premio d'Italia
Location Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza
Course Permanent racing facility
5.800 km (3.60 mi)
Distance 52 laps, 301.600 km (187.400 mi)
Weather Dry and sunny
Pole position
Driver France René Arnoux Renault
Time 1:33.467
Fastest lap
Driver Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford
Time 1:37.528 on lap 48
Podium
First France Alain Prost Renault
Second Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford
Third Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford

The 1981 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monza on September 13, 1981.

Formula One returned to the Monza circuit after a year's absence; the year previous's Italian Grand Prix had been held at the Imola circuit.

Coming into Italy, both Nelson Piquet and Carlos Reutemann were tied on points in the Drivers' Championship; Reutemann would eventually leave with the lead. Alain Prost was also becoming a challenger for the world title, having been challenging both leaders in the recent races.

The race would be known for the first time a Toleman-Hart qualified and finished in a race with Brian Henton qualifying the car in 23rd place.

Race[edit]

When the race started, pole-man René Arnoux fell back to third while Prost and Reutemann battled for the lead. Behind, Didier Pironi was fourth after overtaking four cars on the run up to the first chicane. Pironi continued his charge with Reutemann and Arnoux soon behind him. As his opponents dropped behind, Prost increased his lead and would keep it for the rest of the race. Jacques Laffite also made an excellent start, and was running third when he retired from the race with a puncture on lap 11.

One Lap 19, John Watson lost control of his car at the Lesmo and smashed into the barriers at high speed, igniting a small fire at the back of the car. His McLaren's engine tub broke off from the car and debris littered the track. Michele Alboreto, who was behind Watson, crashed into the broken off engine, while Carlos Reutemann took to the grass and brushed a barrier whilst avoiding the accident, losing a place and sustaining minor damage. Fortunately, Watson escaped unharmed.

As the race reached the halfway point, the standings stood as: Prost, Jones, Piquet, Reutemann and de Angelis. In an incredible case of misfortune, Piquet's engine blew on the last lap, promoting Reutemann into third and drastically turning the tables for title hopes of the two.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 16 France René Arnoux Renault 1:33.467 -
2 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 1:34.140 0.673
3 15 France Alain Prost Renault 1:34.374 0.907
4 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 1:35.062 1.575
5 1 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford 1:35.359 1.892
6 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 1:35.449 1.982
7 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford 1:35.557 2.090
8 28 France Didier Pironi Ferrari 1:35.596 2.129
9 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 1:35.627 2.160
10 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 1:35.946 2.479
11 11 Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 1.36.158 2.691
12 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Lotus-Ford 1:36.210 2.743
13 22 United States Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo 1:36.296 2.829
14 6 Mexico Hector Rebaque Brabham-Ford 1:36.472 3.005
15 25 France Patrick Tambay Ligier-Matra 1:36.515 3.048
16 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Ford 1:37.019 3.552
17 3 United States Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Ford 1:37.160 3.693
18 32 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Ford 1:37.264 3.797
19 17 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly March-Ford 1:37.309 3.842
20 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 1:37.355 3.888
21 9 Sweden Slim Borgudd ATS-Ford 1:37.807 4.340
22 4 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 1:37.912 4.445
23 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton Toleman-Hart 1:38.012 4.545
24 14 Chile Eliseo Salazar Ensign-Ford 1:38.053 4.586
DNQ 33 Switzerland Marc Surer Theodore-Ford 1:38.114 4.647
DNQ 31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Ford 1:38.474 5.007
DNQ 36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart 1:39.279 5.812
DNQ 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Ford 1:39.713 6.246
DNQ 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford 1:40.345 6.878
DNQ 21 Brazil Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Ford 1:40.437 6.970

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 15 France Alain Prost Renault 52 1:26:36.897 3 9
2 1 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford 52 + 22.175 5 6
3 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 52 + 50.587 2 4
4 11 Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 52 + 1:32.902 11 3
5 28 France Didier Pironi Ferrari 52 + 1:34.522 8 2
6 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 51 Engine 6 1
7 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Ford 51 Puncture 16  
8 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 50 + 2 Laps 10  
9 32 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Ford 50 + 2 Laps 18  
10 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton Toleman-Hart 49 + 3 Laps 23  
Ret 22 United States Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo 40 Engine 13  
Ret 17 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly March-Ford 36 Gearbox 19  
Ret 25 France Patrick Tambay Ligier-Matra 22 Puncture 15  
Ret 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Lotus-Ford 21 Suspension 12  
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford 19 Accident 7  
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 18 Gearbox 20  
Ret 4 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 17 Accident 22  
Ret 14 Chile Eliseo Salazar Ensign-Ford 13 Spun Off 24  
Ret 16 France René Arnoux Renault 12 Spun Off 1  
Ret 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 11 Puncture 4  
Ret 3 United States Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Ford 11 Spun Off 17  
Ret 9 Sweden Slim Borgudd ATS-Ford 10 Spun Off 21  
Ret 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 5 Engine 9  
Ret 6 Mexico Hector Rebaque Brabham-Ford 1 Electrical 14  
DNQ 33 Switzerland Marc Surer Theodore-Ford    
DNQ 31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Ford    
DNQ 36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart    
DNQ 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Ford    
DNQ 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford    
DNQ 21 Brazil Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Ford        

Notes[edit]

  • Haunted by the trauma of nearly killing mechanic Dave Luckett in the previous race, Siegfried Stohr crashed his Arrows during the qualifying session. He ultimately decided to stop racing and started a successful motor racing academy.
  • Nelson Piquet was running 3rd when his engine expired on the next to last lap.
  • John Watson had a huge accident at the Lesmo curves when he went wide coming out of the second Lesmo curve, touched the grass and spun across the track, and his carbon-fibre McLaren slammed backwards violently into the Armco barrier, exploded and tore the car in half and strew bits of the car across the track, which caused Michele Alboreto to crash, who escaped with only a few bruises. But Watson walked away unhurt- proving the strength of the McLaren's carbon fibre construction.[1][2]

Standings after the race[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John Watson Accidente en Monza, GP Italia 1981". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  2. ^ "Italian GP, 1981 Race Report - GP Encyclopedia - F1 History on". Grandprix.com. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 

Unless otherwise indicated, all race results are taken from "The Official Formula 1 website". Retrieved 2007-06-16. 


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