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.

Carlos Reutemann Williams-Cosworth  62 2h00m23.660s  
Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth  62 2h00m28.100s  
29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  62 2h01m26.740s  
14 Marc Surer Ensign-Cosworth  62 2h01m40.690s  18 
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth  62 2h01m50.080s  10 
26 Jacques Laffite Talbot Ligier-Matra  62 2h01m50.490s  16 
25 Jean-Pierre Jarier Talbot Ligier-Matra  62 2h01m53.910s  23 
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  61  15 
20 Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Cosworth  61  12 
10 33 Patrick Tambay Theodore-Cosworth  61  19 
11 12 Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth  61  13 
12 Nelson Piquet Brabham-Cosworth  60  
13 Ricardo Zunino Tyrrell-Cosworth  57  24 
nc Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Cosworth  49  14 
nc 23 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo  40  
27 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  25 Turbo Wastegate 
Hector Rebaque Brabham-Cosworth  22 Rear Suspension 11 
30 Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Cosworth  20 Accident 21 
15 Alain Prost Renault  20 Accident 
28 Didier Pironi Ferrari  19 Accident 17 
Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Cosworth  Electrics 20 
21 Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth  Accident 22 
16 Rene Arnoux Renault  Accident 
22 Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo  Accident 
nq Jan Lammers ATS-Cosworth    25 
nq 25 Jean-Pierre Jobouille Talbot Ligier-Matra   Car Raced By Jarier 26 
nq 32 Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Cosworth    27 
nq 31 Miguel-Angel Guerra Osella-Cosworth    28 
nq 18 Eliseo Salazar March-Cosworth    29 
nq 17 Derek Daly March-Cosworth    30