Brazilian GP 1981
MARCH 29, 1981
Brazilian GP, 1981
There was only a fortnight between the Long Beach race and the Brazilian GP. Tyrrell rented its second car to Ricardo Zunino but otherwise the field was exactly the same, although the new McLaren MP4/1 which had been seen in Long Beach was not taken to South America. Jean-Pierre Jabouille tried to qualify the Talbot Ligier but his legs were clearly not well enough healed and so the car was handed over to Jean-Pierre Jarier again. Lotus again ran into trouble with the twin-chassised Lotus 88 and there were murmurs about a new hydro-pneumatic suspension on the Brabhams which enabled the cars to be 6cm off the ground when they were measured but much closer to the ground when they were out on the track. Pole position went to local hero Nelson Piquet in his Brabham with the two Williams cars of Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones behind him. Fourth was Riccardo Patrese in the impressive Arrows while Alain Prost put his Renault fifth ahead of Bruno Giacomelli's Alfa Romeo, Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari 126CK, the second Renault of Rene Arnoux, Mario Andretti's Alfa Romeo and the Lotus 81B of Elio de Angelis.
It was wet on race morning and at the start took place with the track damp but the rain holding off. Piquet decided to go on slick tires (but everyone else except Didier Pironi and Siegfried Stohr decided to use wets).
Prost made a bad start and this caused the fast-starting Villeneuve to have to lift off. Andretti hit the rear of Villeneuve and went over the Ferrari. Behind them Arnoux, Eddie Cheever, Stohr and Chico Serra were all involved. At the front Reutemann went into the lead with Jones, Patrese, Giacomelli, de Angelis and the rest in pursuit. In the early laps de Angelis overtook Giacomelli to take fourth place and when Giacomelli spun off fifth place went to Keke Rosberg's Fittipaldi. John Watson made good progress from a poor grid position and on lap 14 he overtook Rosberg for fourth. The Finn then dropped behind Jean-Pierre Jarier (Talbot Ligier) as well.
The order at the front remained unchanged until lap lap 29 when Jarier went wide and dropped behind Marc Surer (Ensign) and Jacques Laffite (Talbot Ligier). On lap 35 Watson spun as the rain increased and so Surer moved to fifth with Laffite sixth. Surer's remarkable run went on and on lap 49 he overtook de Angelis for fourth place while behind him Jarier repassed Laffite for fifth. In the closing laps the two Talbot Ligiers switched positions again (Jarier being told to drop back by the team), while Jones waited for Reutemann to move aside the World Champion was the team number one. Reutemann did not budge. The team showed pitboards indicating that Reutemann should move over but he did not. Everyone thought he must be waiting for the last lap but Reutemann took the flag first and Jones was furious. Patrese finished third with the remarkable Surer fourth ahead of the Talbot Ligiers.
|5||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Cosworth||62||2h01m50.080s||10|
|6||26||Jacques Laffite||Talbot Ligier-Matra||62||2h01m50.490s||16|
|7||25||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Talbot Ligier-Matra||62||2h01m53.910s||23|
|nc||23||Bruno Giacomelli||Alfa Romeo||40||6|
|r||27||Gilles Villeneuve||Ferrari||25||Turbo Wastegate||7|
|r||6||Hector Rebaque||Brabham-Cosworth||22||Rear Suspension||11|
|r||8||Andrea de Cesaris||McLaren-Cosworth||9||Electrics||20|
|r||22||Mario Andretti||Alfa Romeo||0||Accident||9|
|nq||25||Jean-Pierre Jobouille||Talbot Ligier-Matra||Car Raced By Jarier||26|