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The 1981 United States Grand Prix West was the first round of the 1981 Formula One Championship. The race was won by reigning champion Alan Jones with teammate Carlos Reutemann in second place. The Brabham of Nelson Piquet finished in third place.


BackgroundEdit

The United States Grand Prix West was originally scheduled to be the third round of the championship. However, due to the delay of the Argentinian race and the loss of world championship status of the South African Grand Prix following the disputes between FISA and FOCA, the Long Beach race happened to be the first race of the season. The FOCA teams hoped to form a breakaway series for 1981, running the 1981 South African Grand Prix to seperate regulations from the FIA. However following low popularity in South Africa for viewers due to the lack of manufacturer teams such as Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo who continued to support the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and FOCA caved in and rejoined the FIA Formula One World Championship.

For 1981, skirts that had been producing the ground effect which had been the key to success in Formula One since 1978 was banned by the FIA. Reigning world champions Williams maintained its 1980 driver line-up of reigning champion Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann. Reutemann winning the non-championship race last time out in South Africa. Brabham retained Nelson Piquet and Héctor Rebaque. Rebaque recovering from Hepatitis that had caused him to miss the race in South Africa.  Jean-Pierre Jabouille had signed for Ligier for 1981, the team returning to the use of Matra engines, however since Jabouille had still not recovered from his injuries sustained in the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix, Jean-Pierre Jarier was called into replace him until he was fit enough to return. Long time Ligier driver, Jacques Laffite remained in the team for 1981. After a poor 1980, Lotus had lost Mario Andretti to Alfa Romeo, the team replacing him with Nigel Mansell who had made his debut with the team the previous year. Elio de Angelis remained in the team for 1981.

After a disaster of a season in 1980, McLaren had become increasingly under the control of Ron Dennis, determined to return the team to its winning ways for 1981. The team had lost its young talent Alain Prost to Renault for 1981, however he was replaced by another young talent, Andrea de Cesaris who was to line-up alongside veteran driver John Watson. Another front runner that suffered in 1980 was Ferrari. Gilles Villeneuve remained in the team whilst Didier Pironi moved from Ligier to take the place of the retiring Jody ScheckterArrows continued with Riccardo Patrese being partnered in 1981 with new driver, Siegried Stohr.Tyrrell had a new driver line-up for 1981, Eddie Cheever had moved to the team from Osella. Ken Tyrrell's team had yet to confirm a full time driver in time for the first race of the season, the team using CART driver Kevin Cogan for the Long Beach race.

In Fittipaldi, Emerson Fittipaldi had finally retired from racing and instead moved into the management of the team. His place in the team was taken by Brazilian racer Chico Serra who partnered the team's rising talent Keke RosbergMarc Surer had moved to ATS to Ensign, whilst Jan Lammers swapped places with Surer moving to ATS. After a year out of Formula One, competing in Can-Am ( and becoming the series champion ), Patrick Tambay returned to F1 with the Theodore team. The team rising from the ashes of what was the Shadow team. Osella had a new driver line-up of young drivers Beppe Gabbiani and  Miguel Ángel Guerra


Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 1981 United States Grand Prix West is displayed below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Albilad Williams Racing Team Williams FW07C Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Albilad Williams Racing Team Williams FW07C Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
3 United States Eddie Cheever United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Team Tyrrell 010 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
4 United States Kevin Cogan United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Team Tyrrell 010 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT49C Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT49C Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren International McLaren M29F Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren International McLaren M29F Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
9 Netherlands Jan Lammers West Germany Team ATS ATS D4 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Team Essex Lotus Lotus 81B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Team Essex Lotus Lotus 81B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
14 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign Racing Ensign N180B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
15 France Alain Prost France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE20B Renault EF1 V6t 1.5 M
16 France René Arnoux France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE20B Renault EF1 V6t 1.5 M
17 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March Grand Prix Team March 811 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
18 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom March Grand Prix Team March 811 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
20 Finland Keke Rosberg Brazil Fittipaldi Automotive Fittipaldi F8C Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
21 Brazil Chico Serra Brazil Fittipaldi Automotive Fittipaldi F8C Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
22 United States Mario Andretti Italy Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 179C Alfa Romeo 1260 V12 3.0 M
23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 179C Alfa Romeo 1260 V12 3.0 M
25 France Jean-Pierre Jarier France Equipe Talbot Gitanes Ligier JS17 Matra MS81 V12 3.0 M
26 France Jacques Laffite France Equipe Talbot Gitanes Ligier JS17 Matra MS81 V12 3.0 M
27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 126CK Ferrari 021 V6t 1.5 M
28 France Didier Pironi Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 126CK Ferrari 021 V6t 1.5 M
29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Ragno Arrows Beta Racing Team Arrows A3 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
30 Italy Siegfried Stohr United Kingdom Ragno Arrows Beta Racing Team Arrows A3 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
31 Argentina Miguel Ángel Guerra Italy Osella Squadra Course Osella FA1B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
32 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella Squadra Course Osella FA1B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M
33 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom Theodore Racing Team Theodore TY01 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 M

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 1:19.399
2 1 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford 1:19.408 + 0.009
3 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford 1:20.149 + 0.750
4 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 1:20.289 + 0.890
5 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 1:20.462 + 1.063
6 22 United States Mario Andretti Italy Alfa Romeo 1:20.476 + 1.077
7 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 1:20.573 + 1.174
8 3 United States Eddie Cheever United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 1:20.643 + 1.244
9 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 1:20.664 + 1.265
10 25 France Jean-Pierre Jarier France Ligier-Matra 1:20.787 + 1.388
11 28 France Didier Pironi Italy Ferrari 1:20.909 + 1.526
12 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 1:20.925 + 1.542
13 11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 1:20.928 + 1.545
14 15 France Alain Prost France Renault 1:20.980 + 1.581
15 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 1:21.000 + 1.601
16 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford 1:21.001 + 1.602
17 33 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Theodore-Ford 1:21.298 + 1.899
18 21 Brazil Chico Serra Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford 1:21.409 + 2.010
19 14 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford 1:21.522 + 2.123
20 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 1:21.540 + 2.141
21 9 Netherlands Jan Lammers Germany ATS-Ford 1:21.758 + 2.359
22 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 1:22.028 + 2.629
23 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 1:22.183 + 2.784
24 32 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella-Ford 1:22.213 + 2.814
DNQ 4 United States Kevin Cogan United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 1:22.284 + 2.885
DNQ 17 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March-Ford 1:22.356 + 2.957
DNQ 31 Argentina Miguel Ángel Guerra Italy Osella-Ford 1:22.673 + 3.274
DNQ 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 1:23.504 + 4.105
DNQ 18 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom March-Ford 1:24.383 + 4.984

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Riccardo Patrese 2
______________ Alan Jones
Row 2 3 ______________
Carlos Reutemann 4
______________ Nelson Piquet
Row 3 5 ______________
Gilles Villeneuve 6
______________ Mario Andretti
Row 4 7 ______________
Nigel Mansell 8
______________ Eddie Cheever
Row 5 9 ______________
Bruno Giacomelli 10
______________ Jean-Pierre Jarier
Row 6 11 ______________
Didier Pironi 12
______________ Jacques Laffite
Row 7 13 ______________
Elio de Angelis 14
______________ Alain Prost
Row 8 15 ______________
Héctor Rebaque 16
______________ Keke Rosberg
Row 9 17 ______________
Patrick Tambay 18
______________ Chico Serra
Row 10 19 ______________
Marc Surer 20
______________ René Arnoux
Row 11 21 ______________
Jan Lammers 22
______________ Andrea de Cesaris
Row 12 23 ______________
John Watson 24
______________ Beppe Gabbiani

RaceEdit

ReportEdit

Gilles Villeneuve got a flying start from fifth on the grid to move ahead of Riccardo Patrese on the run down to the first corner. However the Canadian was too late on the brakes and went wide into the first corner, dropping down to sixth. Further down the field, the cars were bunched up in the mid-field. Alain Prost in his first race for Renault spun out crashing into Andrea de Cesaris's McLaren, taking both cars out of the race.

Didier Pironi had made a fantastic start to climb to fourth from eleventh on the grid. Behind him came Nelson Piquet, Villeneuve and the two native driver's Eddie Cheever and Mario Andretti. Patrese had meanwhile maintained his lead ahead of the two Williams cars of Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann. On the second lap, Reutemann overtook Jones for second allowing the order to stabilise with the two Williams cars chasing Patrese's Arrows.

On lap ten, Andretti overtook Cheever to take seventh position from the Tyrrell driver. The seventeenth lap saw Pironi make a move on Piquet to take fourth position. Things went less well for his Ferrari teammate Gilles Villeneuve. Villeneuve retired the same lap with halfshaft failure whilst racing in fifth position. Patrese who was at the time enjoying a comfortable lead of the race then began to falter on lap 25 with fuel feed problems. Reutemann quickly took the lead from Patrese and a few laps later Jones was also through into second place. Increasingly losing power, Patrese headed to the pits where he disappointingly retired his Arrows.

Jones then began to close up on teammate Reutemann where he began to apply the pressure. Reutemann whilst lapping Marc Surer's Ensign went wide and off the circuit where he dropped behind Jones who inherited the lead of the race. Further back Andretti had dropped behind Cheever again and then lost sixth to Jacques Laffite's Ligier.

Cheever began to drop back with tyre trouble and came under the pressure from Laffite. Laffite attempted to overtake on lap 41 where he slammed the front of his Ligier into the back of Cheever's Tyrrell. The Frenchman saw his nose cone bent upwards where he was forced to come into the pits to retire. The same lap Bruno Giacomelli and Jan Lammers had a major coming together, both drivers exited their wrecks unhurt and walked back to the pits.

The following lap, Mario Andretti overtook his fellow American Eddie Cheever to take fifth position. Andretti then began to chase down Pironi, whilst Andretti's Alfa Romeo was faster in the corners, Pironi's new turbo charged Ferrari proved faster on the straights. Andretti was finally able to overtake Pironi in the later stages of the race. Pironi began to drop further back as he continued to suffer from engine troubles. Cheever was then also able to move ahead of Pironi to take fifth position. Pironi would then retire on lap 67 when his engine troubles became terminal.

As the race concluded, Alan Jones started his title defence in the best possible way by winning the opening round of the championship. Reutemann took second making it a Williams 1-2 with Nelson Piquet in third position. It was a good day for the American fans as Mario Andretti and Eddie Cheever were fourth and fifth. Patrick Tambay on his return to F1 racing took the final point for Theodore who managed to score points on the team's debut.

ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford 80 1:50.41.33 2 9
2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford 80 +9.19 3 6
3 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 80 +34.92 4 4
4 22 United States Mario Andretti Italy Alfa Romeo 80 +49.31 6 3
5 3 United States Eddie Cheever United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 80 +1:06.70 8 2
6 33 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Theodore-Ford 79 +1 lap 17 1
7 21 Brazil Chico Serra Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford 78 +2 laps 18
8 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 77 +3 laps 20
Ret 14 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford 70 Electrics 19
Ret 28 France Didier Pironi Italy Ferrari 67 Engine 11
Ret 25 France Jean-Pierre Jarier France Ligier-Matra 64 Fuel pump 10
Ret 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 49 Accident 15
Ret 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 41 Accident 12
Ret 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 41 Accident 9
Ret 9 Netherlands Jan Lammers Germany ATS-Ford 41 Accident 21
Ret 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford 41 Distributor 16
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 33 Fuel filter 1
Ret 32 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella-Ford 26 Accident 24
Ret 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 25 Accident 7
Ret 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 17 Driveshaft 5
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 16 Engine 23
Ret 11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 13 Accident 13
Ret 15 France Alain Prost France Renault 0 Accident 14
Ret 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 0 Accident 22
DNQ 4 United States Kevin Cogan United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford
DNQ 17 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March-Ford
DNQ 31 Argentina Miguel Ángel Guerra Italy Osella-Ford
DNQ 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr United Kingdom Arrows-Ford
DNQ 18 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom March-Ford

MilestonesEdit

Standings after raceEdit

        
Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 Australia Alan Jones 9 ▲6
2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 6 ▲5
3 Brazil Nelson Piquet 4 ▲4
4 United States Mario Andretti 3 ▲3
5 United States Eddie Cheever 2 ▲2
6 France Patrick Tambay 1 ▲1
World Constructors Championship
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 United Kingdom Williams-Ford 15 ▲5
2 United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 4 ▲4
3 Italy Alfa Romeo 3 ▲3
4 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 2 ▲2
5 Hong Kong Theodore-Ford 1 ▲1

External LinksEdit

V T E United States United States Grand Prix West
Circuit Long Beach (1976-1983)
Long Beach 1978
Formula One Races 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983
See also United States Grand Prix • Indianapolis 500 • Detroit Grand Prix • Caesars Palace Grand Prix • Dallas Grand Prix • Questor Grand Prix
V T E 1981 Formula One Season
Teams Alfa Romeo • Arrows • ATS • Brabham • Ensign • Ferrari • Fittipaldi • Ligier • Lotus • March • McLaren • Osella • Renault • Theodore • Toleman • Tyrrell • Williams
Engines Alfa Romeo • Ferrari • Ford Cosworth • Hart • Matra • Renault
Drivers Alboreto • Andretti • de Angelis • Arnoux • Borgudd • de Cesaris • Cheever • Cogan • Daly • Francia • Gabbiani • Giacomelli • Ghinzani • Guerra • Henton • Jabouille • Jarier • Jones • Laffite • Lammers • Londoño • Mansell • Patrese • Piquet • Pironi • Prost • Rebaque • Reutemann • Rosberg • Salazar • Serra • Stohr • Surer • Tambay • G. Villeneuve • J. Villeneuve, Sr. • Warwick • Watson • Zunino
Cars Alfa Romeo 179 • Arrows A3 • ATS D4 • ATS HGS1 • Brabham BT49 • Ensign N180 • Ferrari 126CK • Fittipaldi F8 • Ligier JS17 • Lotus 81 • Lotus 87 • Lotus 88 • March 811 • McLaren M29 • McLaren MP4/1 • Osella FA1 • Renault RE20 • Renault RE30 • Theodore TY01 • Toleman TG181 • Tyrrell 010 • Tyrrell 011 • Williams FW07
Tyres Avon • Goodyear • Michelin • Pirelli
Races United States West • Brazil • Argentina • San Marino • Belgium • Monaco • Spain • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Netherlands • Italy • Canada • Caesars Palace
See also 1980 Formula One Season • 1982 Formula One Season • Category

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