1981 Formula One World Championship

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1981 FIA Formula One
World Championship
Drivers' Champion: Nelson Piquet
Constructors' Champion: Williams-Ford
Previous: 1980 Next: 1982

The 1981 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 35th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1981 Formula One World Championship for Drivers and the 1981 Formula One World Championship for Constructors, which were contested concurrently 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 both the original World Championship of Drivers and the International Cup for Constructors. Teams were now required to lodge entries for the entire championship, and a standardised set of rules would be in place at every championship race, while the FIA would also set the prize monies.[2]

Nelson Piquet won the Drivers' Championship, claiming the first of his three Drivers' titles, while Williams won the Constructors' Championship for the second consecutive year.

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, driving for the Brabham team
Carlos Reutemann, driving for Williams, placed second in the Drivers' Championship by just one point
Reutemann's teammate 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 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
G
5 Brazil Nelson Piquet All
6 Mexico Héctor 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
HGS1
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 summary[edit]

The 1981 Formula One season was an extraordinary season of Grand Prix racing for many reasons: it was effectively the first season that Briton and Brabham team owner Bernie Ecclestone and FOCA had the Concorde Agreement in place, which would set Formula One on a course to become a profitable business, thanks to the growing professional involvement of outside companies and professional sponsorship.

Non-championship race: South Africa[edit]

The South African Grand Prix, held on 7 February at the Kyalami Circuit near Johannesburg, was originally supposed to be the first round of the 1981 Formula One World Championship – but it was eventually stripped of its championship status. The ongoing FISA–FOCA war resulted in Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA) insisting on a date change which was not acceptable to the race organisers. Approval was ultimately given for the race to go ahead on its original date but as a Formula Libre race rather than as a round of the Formula One World Championship. The downgraded race was supported by the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) aligned teams but not by the teams of the manufacturers, whose allegiances lay with FISA. This race was run with the cars running in 1980-specification trim, with the ground-effect wing cars of the time, equipped with sliding skirts that increased their downforce by ensuring the air under the car did not escape from under the car, where the most important airflow was. This race, run in wet conditions, was won by the Argentine driver Carlos Reutemann in a Williams-Ford.

Race 1: United States West[edit]

The first of two rounds in the United States of America started a trilogy of F1 races in the Americas on March 15 at the Long Beach street circuit in southern California, just outside the metropolis of Los Angeles. The cars were now running in new 1981-specification cars, with the sliding skirts now banned and cars required to have a 6 cm ground clearance, in order to reduce downforce. Australian Alan Jones won this race in a Williams-Ford after pole-sitter Riccardo Patrese in an Arrows-Ford fell out and Jones's teammate Carlos Reutemann made a costly error that Jones took advantage of.

Race 2: Brazil[edit]

The Formula One circus moved from North to South America to start a two-stop tour there. The first round was at the Jacarepagua Autodrome in Rio de Janeiro – only the second time F1 had been there. F1 had previously visited the 5-mile Interlagos circuit in São Paulo in 1972–1980; this circuit was effectively dropped after 1980 because of safety issues with the circuit and the growing slums around the circuit being at odds with Formula One's glamorous image. This rain-soaked race saw Reutemann disobey team orders to let Jones through, and a furious Jones did not appear on the podium afterwards.

Race 3: Argentina[edit]

The other half of the South American tour in Reutemann's home country of Argentina was usually held in January; this time it was in April. This race was a procession: at the varied circuit located in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, Brabham designer Gordon Murray had come up with a hydraulic suspension to get his BT49C closer to the ground, and therefore be faster. This proved effective – as Brabham driver Nelson Piquet took pole ahead of French up-and-comer Alain Prost and the two Williams drivers, he and Mexican teammate Héctor Rebaque dominated the race, driving a car that was embarrassingly superior to all the others. The Brazilian won handily from home favorite Reutemann and Renault driver Prost. Due to internal politics and the drivers' strike at the 1982 South African Grand Prix, the Argentine GP would not return to the calendar until 1995.

Race 4: San Marino (Imola, Italy)[edit]

Four weeks later, the GP circus returned to Europe to start the 4 month long tour there. The first race was a new race – a second Italian race called the San Marino Grand Prix at the Autodromo Dino Ferrari near Imola, just outside Bologna. Unlike the South American races, both of which had been uncommon disappointments; the inaugural San Marino GP was an exciting race all the way through. Brazilian Nelson Piquet won again for Brabham in changing conditions, with intermittent rain soaking the course throughout the race.

Race 5: Belgium[edit]

In stark contrast to San Marino, the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder was a shambolic event filled with tragedies and frustration. Politics dominated this event – Gordon Murray's hydraulic suspension gave his Brabhams considerable performance advantages, and the teams had been heavily protesting the system's legality within the revised rules for the season. The tragedy, however, started with Carlos Reutemann accidentally running over an Osella mechanic, Giovanni Amadeo – who died of a fractured skull the Monday after the race. The race, however, was an appalling embarrassment by top motor racing standards – at the start, there was a drivers' strike concerning mechanic and team personnel safety – which delayed the start. And when the race started, an Arrows mechanic, Dave Luckett, jumped onto the grid just as the lights went green in an attempt to start Riccardo Patrese's stalled car. Luckett was run over by the other Arrows driver, Sigfried Stohr – and as Luckett laid sprawled unconscious on the track with broken legs, the marshals were able to get him off the track, and the disorganization continued: as the drivers started their second lap with both Arrows cars still on the narrow start–finish straight, a number of marshals jumped onto the track – mere feet from the cars going at full racing speeds – and attempted to stop the race by waving at the drivers to stop, without the approval of the clerk of the course (who is the ultimate authority on the race's direction). The drivers continued on – because they had not been shown the red flag by the clerk of the course. But by the time they completed another lap, they decided to stop themselves without the clerk's approval. In the meantime, Luckett was taken to hospital, and survived. So the second race started, and Alan Jones took the lead, crashed out, Nelson Piquet also crashed out and Carlos Reutemann took the chequered flag after it was decided to call the race early.

Race 6: Monaco[edit]

The historic Monaco Grand Prix was the scene of an ultra-exciting race – as Piquet led for most of the race distance, and crashed out at Tabac. Jones took the lead, but had fuel feed problems, and Gilles Villeneuve in a poor-handling Ferrari took the lead and won.

Race 7: Spain[edit]

The narrow and tight Jarama circuit just outside Madrid produced one of the best races of the year: after Jones crashed out, Reutemann took the lead, and then Villeneuve overtook Reutemann on the main straight at Jarama. Villeneuve, in a powerful but very ill-handling Ferrari, managed to keep 4 better-handling cars behind him in a car badly suited to the slow, narrow and twisty Jarama circuit. Villeneuve, Jacques Laffite, John Watson, Reutemann and Elio de Angelis were all separated by 1.2 seconds at the finish. The small crowd, the inappropriately very hot time of year this race was held in and the waning interest of the organizers caused this race to be the last Spanish Grand Prix until 1986, when it was moved south to the new Jerez circuit near Seville.

Race 8: France[edit]

The alternating French Grand Prix moved from the Paul Ricard circuit near Marseille to the fast, sweeping Prenois circuit near Dijon, located in the Burgundy countryside. This race was run as two races: it was interrupted by heavy rain, so the organizers decided to stop the race to wait for the rain to pass, which it did – and Alain Prost, who was to become one of the greatest drivers in Formula One history, won his first of 51 championship Grands Prix at home in a Renault.

Race 9: Britain[edit]

The British Grand Prix was held at the flat Silverstone circuit this year, which was the fastest Grand Prix circuit in the world at the time. The grid was dominated by four turbos, the two Renaults of Alain Prost and René Arnoux, and the two Ferraris of Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi, and during the race (which was on a Saturday), Prost effectively walked away from the field and dominated most of the race. At the start of lap 5, near the Woodcote chicane, Villeneuve lost control, taking out Alan Jones (Williams) and Andrea de Cesaris (McLaren) who were both unable to avoid the Canadian, while Briton John Watson, in the other McLaren, narrowly missed the wreckage. On lap 12, Nelson Piquet, who was 3rd at that point, crashed his Brabham, and had to be carried by an ambulance due to leg injuries. Later in the race, Prost was forced to pit due to problems with an engine plug that could not be replaced without dismantling much of the car, forcing the Frenchman to retire and leaving his teammate, Arnoux, in the lead. Arnoux, however, also had problems in the last laps of the race, losing his turbo, which forced him to retire and allowed Watson to take the win from Reutemann and Laffite.

Race 10: Germany[edit]

The German Grand Prix at the fast Hockenheimring produced a long battle between Alain Prost and Alan Jones, until Jones passed Prost in the stadium section, after a mistake by Prost's teammate, René Arnoux, who was being lapped, and allowed the Australian to slip by both Renaults. Nelson Piquet also found his way past Alain Prost, and took the lead after Alan Jones was forced to pit. It started to rain in the last laps of the race, but Piquet won with a comfortable lead over Prost, in 2nd, and Jacques Laffite, in 3rd.

Race 11: Austria[edit]

The high-altitude and fast Österreichring enabled turbo-powered cars to take the first three places in qualifying, with René Arnoux on pole from Renault teammate Alain Prost, and Gilles Villeneuve third in the Ferrari. Villeneuve made a fast start to lead briefly, but went off on the second lap, leaving Prost and Arnoux to pull away while Didier Pironi in the second Ferrari held up the rest of the pack. Eventually, Jacques Laffite got past Pironi and closed up to the Renaults. Prost led until his suspension failed; Arnoux then led until Laffite overtook him with 15 laps remaining. Laffite thus took the win with Arnoux second and Piquet third; Reutemann was fifth, meaning that his lead in the Drivers' Championship was now down to six points.

Race 12: Holland[edit]

The Zandvoort circuit near Amsterdam provided Prost with his second win of the year, ahead of Piquet and Jones. Reutemann and Laffite took each other out on lap 18, meaning that Piquet now led the Drivers' Championship by virtue of having more wins than Reutemann. In a race of attrition, only ten cars were classified at the end, with Chilean rookie Eliseo Salazar finishing sixth in an Ensign and thus scoring his first point in Formula One.

Race 13: Italy[edit]

The second Italian and last European race of the year, the Italian Grand Prix, returned to the historic Monza circuit just outside Milan after a year's stay at Imola. Prost won again, with Jones and Reutemann finishing second and third respectively to effectively seal the Constructors' Championship for Williams. Piquet was running third on the last lap when his engine blew, dropping him to sixth and thus putting Reutemann back into the lead in the Drivers' Championship by three points.

Race 14: Canada[edit]

The season concluded with two races in North America, the first of these being in Montreal, Canada. In a wet, cold race, Jones and Prost both retired, while Reutemann collided with Jones early on and eventually finished tenth. Laffite took the win, with Watson second and Villeneuve third; fifth for Piquet put him just one point behind Reutemann in the Drivers' Championship going into the final race, with Laffite five points further back.

Race 15: Caesars Palace (United States)[edit]

New York State's Watkins Glen circuit was struck off the calendar in May due to bankruptcy of the company running the circuit, resulting in a three-week gap between the Canadian Grand Prix and a new American race that would require the teams to move across the country to a circuit located in a car park outside of the Caesar's Palace hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, effectively named the Caesar's Palace Grand Prix, only 350 miles from Long Beach/Los Angeles. Reutemann took pole position, but made a poor start in the race and eventually finished out of the points in eighth, while Laffite could only manage sixth and Piquet battled to fifth – which was enough for the Brazilian driver to win the championship by one point from Reutemann. Jones' final drive with Williams ended with the 12th and final win of his career in this difficult and demanding race, which caused Piquet to vomit over himself in the cockpit.

Results and standings[edit]

Grands Prix[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

Calendar changes[edit]

  • The United States Grand Prix 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.
  • The South African Grand Prix at Kyalami on 7 February was originally on the calendar, but difficulties from the ongoing FISA–FOCA 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.

World Drivers' Championship – final standings[edit]

Pos Driver USW
United States
BRA
Brazil
ARG
Argentina
SMR
Italy
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 Héctor 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
Italy
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 Other points position
Blue Other classified position
Not classified, finished (NC)
Purple Not classified, retired (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Excluded (EX)
Did not arrive (DNA)
Withdrawn (WD)

Bold – Pole position
Italics – Fastest lap

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

World Constructors' Championship – final standings[edit]

Williams won the 1981 Constructors' Championship with the FW07C
Brabham placed second in the Constructors' Championship with the BT49C
Renault placed third in the Constructors' Championship with the RE30
Pos Constructor Car
no.
USW
United States
BRA
Brazil
ARG
Argentina
SMR
Italy
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
Italy
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-Ford Report

References[edit]

  1. ^ Diepraam, Mattijs; Muelas, Felix (Christmas 2000). "The one that didn't count". 8W. Autosport. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Diepraam, Mattijs (3 January 2008). "1981 – long live the FIA F1 World Championship". 8W. Autosport. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Peter Higham, The Guinness Guide to International Motor Racing, 1995, page 6

External links[edit]