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The 1981 Austrian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Österreichring on 16 August 1981. Jacques Laffite took his first win of the 1981 Formula One season.


BackgroundEdit

Heading into Austria, the championship battle had tightened significantly. The championship leader Carlos Reutemann had failed to finish in Germany whilst Hockenheim race winner, Nelson Piquet had closed to within eight points of Reutemann's 43 point lead in the championship. Jacques Laffite had been the most consistent driver in recent races, continuously finishing on the podium. Although his Ligier had proved not to be the fastest it was certainly the most reliable and his consistency meant he was now third in the world championship on 25 points, one point ahead of reigning champion Alan Jones.

The Österreichring was once again expected to favour the turbo cars with its high altitude and long straights. The Renault team with its drivers' René Arnoux and Alain Prost were considered the fastest team in Formula One, albeit certainly not the most reliable and were expected to be the pacemakers in Austria. One team that notably would not be competing in Austria was that of the Brazilian Fittipaldi team ran by former world champion Emerson Fittipaldi and his brother and former racer Wilson Fittipaldi. The Fittipaldi team was strapped for cash and had notably been struggling in recent races. The team elected to miss the Austrian round as it could not afford to run the Ford-Cosworth DFV power unit that was being supplied to them. This meant that their drivers Keke Rosberg and Chico Serra would have to sit the weekend out.

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

As was expected the Renault's held a stranglehold over qualifying. Arnoux took a convincing pole with teammate Prost in tow not far behind. Gilles Villeneuve was in third place ahead of Jacques Laffite who had seen an improvement in qualifying performance for Ligier. The two Williams cars of Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones were next on the grid ahead of Nelson Piquet, Didier Pironi, Elio de Angelis and Riccardo Patrese.

Of those failing to qualify were surprisingly Eddie Cheever, who was unhappy with the handling of the new Tyrrell 011, the two Toleman's of Brian Henton and Derek Warwick as well as Beppe Gabbiani's Osella.

Qualifying ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor
16 France René Arnoux France Renault
2 15 France Alain Prost France Renault
3 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari
4 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra
5 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford
6 1 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford
7 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford
8 28 France Didier Pironi Italy Ferrari
9 11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom McLaren-Ford
10 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford
11 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Lotus-Ford
12 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford
13 22 United States Mario Andretti Italy Alfa Romeo
14 32 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Italy Osella-Ford
15 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Brabham-Ford
16 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo
17 25 France Patrick Tambay France Ligier-Matra
18 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris United Kingdom McLaren-Ford
19 17 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March-Ford
20 14 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom Ensign-Ford
21 10 Sweden Slim Borgudd Germany ATS-Ford
22 4 Italy Michele Alboreto United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford
23 33 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Theodore-Ford
24 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr United Kingdom Arrows-Ford
DNQ 3 United States Eddie Cheever United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford
DNQ 36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick United Kingdom Toleman-Hart
DNQ 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton United Kingdom Toleman-Hart
DNQ 31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella-Ford

GridEdit

RaceEdit

Report Edit

The start saw the two Ferrari's make the best start. Gilles Villeneuve took the lead from third on the grid whilst teammate Didier Pironi leapt up to fourth from eighth on the grid. Villeneuve's Ferrari lead was however short lived as he went off the circuit on lap two dropping down to sixth. The same lap saw Carlos Reutemann also go off and drop down the order.

This left the Renault's back in control of the race as Arnoux and Prost began pulling off into the distance ahead of Pironi's Ferrari now in third. Pironi could not keep pace with the Renault's and soon Piquet, Laffite, Jones and Reutemann were snapping at the Ferrari's heals. Pironi's turbo engine had the advantage on the long straights, but in the corners his rivals continued to snap at his heels.

After being held up by Pironi for nine laps, Laffite finally managed to overtake the Ferrari and began chasing after the Renault's 20 seconds ahead. Piquet and the two Williams cars of Jones and Reutemann had soon also managed to pass the Ferrari. Further disappointment for Ferrari came when Villeneuve crashed out of the race on lap eleven.

Laffite slowly began to close in on Arnoux and Prost, however the Renault's continued to control the pace out front. Lap 26 however saw Prost retire with suspension failure, the first dent in Renault's race. By mid-distance race leader René Arnoux had encountered the backmarkers and was beginning to be held up as Laffite's Ligier began to close in.

On lap 39, Arnoux went to overtake a group of backmarkers around the outside, however he ran wide off the circuit and in doing so conceded the lead of the race to Laffite. From thereon Laffite had control of the race, Arnoux was seemingly unwilling to push him being more interested in gaining some much needed points for Renault rather than risk blowing his turbo in the hope of winning the race.

Piquet came home third ahead of the two Williams cars of Jones and Reutemann as well as John Watson's McLaren. Laffite finally took his first win of the season and was now within eleven points of championship leader Carlos Reutemann. Reutemann once again had lost out to his competitors claiming only two points in the race. Nelson Piquet who was second in the championship continued to creep closer, now only six points off Reutemann.

ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 53 1:27:36.47 4 9
2 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 53 +5.17s 1 6
3 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 53 +7.34s 7 4
4 1 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford 53 +12.04s 6 3
5 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford 53 +31.85s 5 2
6 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 54 +1:31.14 12 1
7 11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 52 +1 lap 9
8 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 52 +1 lap 18
9 28 France Didier Pironi Italy Ferrari 52 +1 lap 8
10 32 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Italy Osella-Ford 51 +2 laps 14
11 17 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March-Ford 47 +6 laps 19
Ret 22 United States Mario Andretti Italy Alfa Romeo 46 Engine 13
Ret 9 Sweden Slim Borgudd Germany ATS-Ford 44 Brakes 21
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 43 Engine 10
Ret 14 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom Ensign-Ford 43 Engine 20
Ret 4 Italy Michele Alboreto United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 40 Engine 22
Ret 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 35 Engine / Fire 16
Ret 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 31 Clutch 15
Ret 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 27 Spin 24
Ret 15 France Alain Prost France Renault 26 Front suspension 2
Ret 25 France Patrick Tambay France Ligier-Matra 26 Engine 17
Ret 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 23 Engine 11
Ret 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 11 Accident 3
Ret 33 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Theodore-Ford 0 Distributor 23
DNQ 3 United States Eddie Cheever United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford
DNQ 36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick United Kingdom Toleman-Hart
DNQ 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton United Kingdom Toleman-Hart
DNQ 31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella-Ford

MilestonesEdit

Standings after raceEdit

Austria Austrian Grand Prix
Circuits Airfield Circuit (1963–1964), Red Bull Ring (1970–1987, 1997-2003, 2014-present)
Circuit Red Bull Ring
Races 1963 • 1964 • 1965–1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988–1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004–2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017
Red Bull Ring was previously called Österreichring and A1-Ring.


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