1981 Austrian Grand Prix

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Austria  1981 Austrian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 11 of 14 in the 1981 Formula One season
The Österreichring Circuit (1977-1987)
The Österreichring Circuit (1977-1987)
Date August 16, 1981
Official name XIV Großer Preis von Osterreich
Location Österreichring, Spielberg, Austria
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.942 km (3.692 mi)
Distance 54 laps, 314.926 km (195.686 mi)
Weather Mild, Dry
Pole position
Driver Renault
Time 1:32.018
Fastest lap
Driver France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra
Time 1:37.62 on lap 47
First Ligier-Matra
Second Renault
Third Brabham-Ford

The 1981 Austrian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Österreichring on August 16, 1981.



In qualifying, just like the previous year, it was an all-French front row; René Arnoux planted his turbocharged Renault on pole, alongside his teammate Alain Prost. Next was Gilles Villeneuve in his turbocharged Ferrari, Jacques Laffite in the Ligier, Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones in the Williams cars were 5th and 6th, then Nelson Piquet in a Brabham and then Didier Pironi in the other turbocharged Ferrari.

The Fittipaldi team was not present because they did not have enough engines.[1]


At the start, Villeneuve got the jump on the 2 Renaults and led into the Hella-Licht chicane. On the next lap, Prost passed Villeneuve into the Hella-Licht chicane; Villeneuve tried to outbrake Prost but he locked up solid and went into some runoff area; as did Reutemann. Both the Canadian and Argentine drivers were able to rejoin, but with time lost.

At the high-speed Österreichring, a power advantage paid dividends. Prost and Arnoux were able to pull away from the rest of the field. Around lap 4, Pironi (who had made a lightning start from 8th on the grid) was running 3rd, and Laffite, Piquet, Jones and eventually Reutemann had caught up to Pironi. None of them could find a way past, and were held up by Pironi for a number of laps. In a similar situation to the Spanish Grand Prix earlier in the year, the Ferrari had more power than any of the cars behind it did, but its handling was way worse; so they were able to stay with the Ferrari. The 5 drivers battled it out, with Piquet, Laffite, Jones and Reutemann keeping with and desperately trying to find a way past Pironi, but not being able to because of the Ferrari's power pulling away on the straights; made more difficult by the fact that the scenic Österreichring was made up almost entirely of long corners and straights.

Villeneuve crashed heavily at the Bosch-Kurve on lap 12, and finally, Laffite, having already passed Piquet, managed to outbrake Pironi into the first of the Texaco bends, and then the rest of the three drivers got by as well. Prost retired from the lead with damaged suspension, and Laffite then charged after Arnoux, passing him at the second of the 2 Texaco Bends. Laffite was to hold the lead until the end, and the poor performance of the Ferrari in relation to other cars meant that Pironi managed to hold up more cars.

Laffite crossed the line, followed by Arnoux, Piquet, Jones, Reutemann (who coasted over the finish line with a dead engine) and John Watson in the carbon-fibre McLaren.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 53 1:27:36.47 4 9
2 16 France René Arnoux Renault 53 + 5.17 1 6
3 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 53 + 7.34 7 4
4 1 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford 53 + 12.04 6 3
5 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 53 + 31.85 5 2
6 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford 53 + 1:31.14 12 1
7 11 Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 52 +1 Lap 9  
8 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Ford 52 +1 Lap 18  
9 28 France Didier Pironi Ferrari 52 +1 Lap 8  
10 32 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Ford 51 +2 Laps 14  
11 17 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly March-Ford 47 +6 Laps 19  
Ret 22 United States Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo 46 Engine 13  
Ret 9 Sweden Slim Borgudd ATS-Ford 44 Brakes 21  
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 43 Engine 10  
Ret 14 Chile Eliseo Salazar Ensign-Ford 43 Oil Pressure 20  
Ret 4 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 40 Gearbox 22  
Ret 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 35 Fire 16  
Ret 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Brabham-Ford 32 Clutch 15  
Ret 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Ford 27 Overheating 24  
Ret 15 France Alain Prost Renault 26 Suspension 2  
Ret 25 France Patrick Tambay Ligier-Matra 26 Engine 17  
Ret 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Lotus-Ford 23 Engine 11  
Ret 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 11 Accident 3  
Ret 33 Switzerland Marc Surer Theodore-Ford 0 Distributor 23  
DNQ 3 United States Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Ford        
DNQ 36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart        
DNQ 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton Toleman-Hart        
DNQ 31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Ford        

Championship standings after the race[edit]

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


  1. ^ "GRAND PRIX RESULTS: AUSTRIAN GP, 1981". GrandPrix.com. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "1981 Austrian Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 16 May 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 

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