Belgian GP 1981
MAY 17, 1981
Belgian GP, 1981
The political bickering over the Concorde Agreement meant that with 32 entries there were too many cars and pressure was applied to ATS and Theodore to withdraw. ATS withdrew Jan Lammers but ran its second car for Slim Borgudd while Patrick Tambay was left without a drive. The Osella team had Piercarlo Ghinzani driving in place of the injured Miguel Angel Guerra. After that there was more controversy about the 6cm ground clearance rule dominated Zolder until Friday afternoon when Carlos Reutemann was unable to avoid an Osella mechanic who slipped on the pitwall and fell into the path of the Williams. Giovanni Amedeo later died in hospital. This accident led to complaints from the drivers about the congestion in the pits.
Qualifying resulted in pole position for Reutemann with Nelson Piquet second for Brabham and Didier Pironi third in his turbocharged Ferrari. Fourth place went to Riccardo Patrese (Arrows) with the top 10 being completed by John Watson (McLaren MP4/1), Alan Jones (Williams), Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari), Eddie Cheever (Tyrrell), Jacques Laffite (Talbot Ligier) and Nigel Mansell (Lotus).
Before the start the drivers decided to organize a strike to complain that their views were being ignored. By the time the grid had formed up after a second parade lap, the field had become strung out and Patrese stalled his Arrows. One of his mechanics Dave Luckett jumped over the pitwall and tried to restart the car but at the same moment the race was started. Most of the cars avoided the Arrows but Patrese's team mate Siegfried Stohr was unsighted and swerved across the track, thinking he had seen a gap in the traffic and he ran into the back of Patrese. Fortunately Luckett was not seriously injured. When the field, led by Piquet, returned at the end of the second lap, with the track still partially blocked, all the drivers with the exception of Piquet and Reutemann (who slowed right down) decided to stop the race of their own accord.
When the race restarted neither Arrows took part. Pironi took the lead with Reutemann, Piquet, Watson and Jones chasing him. The Australian looked very strong in the early laps as he passed Watson and Reutemann an d then had a brush with Piquet which left the Brabham in the catchfencing. On lap 12 he took the lead from Pironi but eight laps later the Williams jumped out of gear and smashed into the barriers. He was fortunate to escape with a scalded thigh caused by water from a demolished radiator. This left Reutemann in the lead from Laffite and Mansell, Pironi having dropped back after going off. Watson was fourth with Villeneuve fifth and de Angelis sixth. In the closing laps Watson faded with gearbox trouble and so Villeneuve finished fourth, de Angelis fifth and Cheever sixth.
|2||26||Jacques Laffite||Talbot Ligier-Matra||54||1h17m07.670s||9|
|5||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Cosworth||54||1h17m20.810s||14|
|9||23||Bruno Giacomelli||Alfa Romeo||54||1h18m07.190s||17|
|10||22||Mario Andretti||Alfa Romeo||53||18|
|r||25||Jean-Pierre Jobouille||Talbot Ligier-Matra||35||Transmission||16|
|r||8||Andrea de Cesaris||McLaren-Cosworth||11||Gearbox||23|
|r||20||Keke Rosberg||Fittipaldi-Cosworth||10||Gear Lever||11|
|r||29||Riccardo Patrese||Arrows-Cosworth||0||Stalled On Grid/ Accident*||4|