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.

Carlos Reutemann Williams-Cosworth  54 1h16m31.610s  
26 Jacques Laffite Talbot Ligier-Matra  54 1h17m07.670s  
12 Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth  54 1h17m15.300s  10 
27 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  54 1h17m19.250s  
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth  54 1h17m20.810s  14 
Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Cosworth  54 1h17m24.120s  
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  54 1h17m33.270s  
28 Didier Pironi Ferrari  54 1h18m03.650s  
23 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo  54 1h18m07.190s  17 
10 22 Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo  53  18 
11 14 Marc Surer Ensign-Cosworth  52  15 
12 Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth  52  19 
13 31 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Cosworth  50  24 
Hector Rebaque Brabham-Cosworth  39 Accident 21 
25 Jean-Pierre Jobouille Talbot Ligier-Matra  35 Transmission 16 
21 Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth  29 Engine 20 
32 Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Cosworth  22 Engine 22 
Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth  19 Accident 
Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Cosworth  11 Gearbox 23 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-Cosworth  10 Accident 
20 Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Cosworth  10 Gear Lever 11 
15 Alain Prost Renault  Clutch 12 
30 Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Cosworth  Accident* 13 
29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  Stalled On Grid/ Accident* 
nq 16 Rene Arnoux Renault    25 
nq 17 Eliseo Salazar March-Cosworth    26 
nq 10 Slim Borgudd ATS-Cosworth    27 
nq 33 Patrick Tambay Theodore-Cosworth    28 
nq 36 Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart    29 
nq 35 Brian Henton Toleman-Hart    30 
nq 18 Derek Daly March-Cosworth    31