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1981 Belgian Grand Prix

The 1981 Belgian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Zolder on 17 May 1981.

1981 Belgian Grand Prix
Race 5 of 15 in the 1981 Formula One World Championship
Circuit Zolder-1975-1985.svg
Race details
Date 17 May 1981
Location Circuit Zolder, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium
Course length 4.262 km (2.648 mi)
Distance 54 laps, 230.148 km (143.007 mi)
Scheduled distance 70 laps, 298.340 km (185.380 mi)
Weather Wet/Dry
Pole position
Driver Williams-Ford
Time 1:22.28
Fastest lap
Driver Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford
Time 1:23.30 on lap 37
Podium
First Williams-Ford
Second Ligier-Matra
Third Lotus-Ford

Mechanic safety and chaotic first raceEdit

The race was marred by two serious incidents involving mechanics, one fatal. In Friday practice a mechanic from the Osella team, Giovanni Amadeo, stumbled off the pitwall into the path of the Williams of Carlos Reutemann. Reutemann was unable to avoid the mechanic, who suffered a fractured skull. He died from his injuries on the Monday after the race. Before the start of the race the mechanics of all the teams staged a protest over the safety measures protecting them, which was soon joined by several drivers (Villeneuve, Prost, Laffite, Pironi and Scheckter)[1] who left their cars. According to 1976 World Champion James Hunt during the BBC commentary for the race, the protest was largely over the narrow pits at Zolder and that the pits were overcrowded, especially with people who were nothing more than 'hangers on' who were there to be seen and not for the actual racing.

The race organisers nevertheless flagged the warm-up lap at the normal time, leaving several cars delayed on the grid, either stalled or with their cockpits vacant. The resulting chaos when the grid formed up again at the end of this lap was exacerbated when Nelson Piquet missed his starting position and was sent round on another lap, with the other cars being held in position. As the cars began to overheat, several drivers turned off their engines, among them Arrows driver Riccardo Patrese, expecting another formation lap due to Piquet's error. However, the organisers began the start sequence as usual once Piquet had regained his position. Patrese was unable to restart his car and waved his arms to signal that he could not take the start. His mechanic, Dave Luckett, came onto the track to restart the car from behind. As he did so, the lighting sequence to start the race was already underway, and the start went ahead despite his presence and Patrese's gesticulations. The other Arrows driver, Siegfried Stohr, ploughed into the back of his teammate's car, hitting Luckett. Luckett suffered a broken leg and lacerations but survived the incident. The race continued, and as the field was about to start the second lap, with marshals and Stohr's disabled car still on the circuit, cars passed by with very little space on the narrow track, and the marshals frantically waved at the drivers to slow down.

As a result of these events, a new rule was introduced forbidding mechanics from being on the grid within fifteen seconds of the formation lap, and the race starter would use greater caution.[2]

Race reportEdit

In the race, Reutemann was passed by Didier Pironi going into the first corner. Then Alan Jones nudged off Nelson Piquet at the early stages of the race and Piquet crashed into some catch fencing at the chicane. A few laps later, Jones's gearbox failed, and he ploughed into the barriers and badly burned his left thigh after the gearbox oil leaked into his cockpit. Following Jones's retirement, Piquet, still furious after their previous incident, stormed to the Williams garage and had an altercation with Jones and the Williams personnel. Pironi had fallen back and after Jones's accident, Reutemann took the lead, keeping it until the race was called off early because of rain starting to fall on the track. It was his second victory of the season and the 12th and ultimately final victory of his career.

ClassificationEdit

QualifyingEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 2   Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 1:22.28 1:36.27  —
2 5   Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 1:23.13 no time +0.85
3 28   Didier Pironi Ferrari 1:23.47 1:36.76 +1.19
4 29   Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 1:23.67 1:38.28 +1.39
5 7   John Watson McLaren-Ford 1:23.73 1:30.92 +1.45
6 1   Alan Jones Williams-Ford 1:23.82 1:27.43 +1.54
7 27   Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 1:23.94 1:27.33 +1.66
8 3   Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Ford 1:24.38 1:31.00 +2.10
9 26   Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 1:24.41 1:44.07 +2.13
10 12   Nigel Mansell Lotus-Ford 1:24.44 no time +2.16
11 20   Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford 1:24.46 no time +2.18
12 15   Alain Prost Renault 1:24.63 1:43.35 +2.35
13 30   Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Ford 1:24.66 no time +2.38
14 11   Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 1:24.96 no time +2.68
15 14   Marc Surer Ensign-Ford 1:25.19 no time +2.91
16 25   Jean-Pierre Jabouille Ligier-Matra 1:25.28 1:38.87 +3.00
17 23   Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 1:25.31 1:37.77 +3.03
18 22   Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo 1:25.56 1:32.17 +3.28
19 4   Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 1:25.91 1:32.21 +3.63
20 21   Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Ford 1:25.93 no time +3.65
21 6   Héctor Rebaque Brabham-Ford 1:26.52 2:49.14 +4.24
22 32   Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Ford 1:26.69 no time +4.41
23 8   Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Ford 1:26.95 1:30.99 +4.67
24 31   Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford 1:27.48 no time +5.20
25 16   René Arnoux Renault 1:27.93 1:30.71 +5.65
26 18   Eliseo Salazar March-Ford 1:28.38 1:35.66 +6.10
27 9   Slim Borgudd ATS-Ford 1:28.98 1:35.79 +6.70
28 33   Patrick Tambay Theodore-Ford no time 1:32.47 +10.19
29 36   Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart 1:35.97 no time +13.69
30 35   Brian Henton Toleman-Hart 1:36.37 1:42.95 +14.09
31† 17   Derek Daly March-Ford  —  —  —
Source:[3]
  • † — time disallowed.

RaceEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 2   Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 54 1:16:31.61 1 9
2 26   Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 54 + 36.06 9 6
3 12   Nigel Mansell Lotus-Ford 54 + 43.69 10 4
4 27   Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 54 + 47.64 7 3
5 11   Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 54 + 49.20 14 2
6 3   Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Ford 54 + 52.51 8 1
7 7   John Watson McLaren-Ford 54 + 1:01.66 5
8 28   Didier Pironi Ferrari 54 + 1:32.04 3
9 23   Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 54 + 1:35.58 17
10 22   Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo 53 + 1 Lap 18
11 14   Marc Surer Ensign-Ford 52 + 2 Laps 15
12 4   Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford 52 + 2 Laps 19
13 31   Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Ford 50 + 4 Laps 24
Ret 6   Héctor Rebaque Brabham-Ford 39 Accident 21
Ret 25   Jean-Pierre Jabouille Ligier-Matra 35 Transmission 16
Ret 21   Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Ford 29 Engine 20
Ret 32   Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Ford 22 Engine 22
Ret 1   Alan Jones Williams-Ford 19 Accident 6
Ret 8   Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Ford 11 Gearbox 23
Ret 5   Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 10 Accident 2
Ret 20   Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford 10 Gearbox 11
Ret 15   Alain Prost Renault 2 Clutch 12
Ret 29   Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 0 Collision 4
Ret 30   Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Ford 0 Collision 13
DNQ 18   Derek Daly March-Ford
DNQ 16   René Arnoux Renault
DNQ 17   Eliseo Salazar March-Ford
DNQ 9   Slim Borgudd ATS-Ford
DNQ 33   Patrick Tambay Theodore-Ford
DNQ 36   Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart
DNQ 35   Brian Henton Toleman-Hart
Source:[4]

NotesEdit

  • First podium: Nigel Mansell
  • Last win: Carlos Reutemann
  • Race scheduled for 70 laps, but stopped after 55 because of rain, with the results taken from the end of the 54th lap. As more than three-quarters of the scheduled laps were run, full points were awarded.
  • As of November 2019, this is the last race victory for an Argentine driver.

Championship standings after the raceEdit

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

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sopeña, German. "Reutemann se llevó todo". F1-Web. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Blighted by restart chaos". forix.com. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  3. ^ Hamilton, Maurice, ed. (1981). AUTOCOURSE 1981–82. Hazleton Publishing Ltd. p. 126. ISBN 0-905138-17-1.
  4. ^ "1981 Belgian Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 16 May 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Belgium 1981 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 12 March 2019.


Previous race:
1981 San Marino Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1981 season
Next race:
1981 Monaco Grand Prix
Previous race:
1980 Belgian Grand Prix
Belgian Grand Prix Next race:
1982 Belgian Grand Prix