British GP 1981

JULY 18, 1981

British GP, 1981

The field was almost the same as at Dijon a fortnight earlier except that Jean-Pierre Jarier had been hired to drive for Osella in place of Miguel Angel Guerra. Team Lotus appeared with the Lotus 88B but once again the team ran into trouble with the FISA over the legality of the car and eventually the cars were disqualified and as they had been built by cannibalizing the 87s the team had no choice but to withdraw.

Qualifying resulted in a 1-2 for the Renaults of Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost with Nelson Piquet third in his Brabham. The Brazilian used a new BMW turbo-engined BT50 in the course of practice but set his time in the old BT49C. Didier Pironi was fourth fastest for Ferrari and then came the two McLarens of John Watson and Andrea de Cesaris. The fourth row featured Alan Jones (Williams) alongside Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari while the top 10 was completed by Carlos Reutemann (Williams) and Riccardo Patrese (Arrows).

In the race Prost was ahead at the end of the first lap with Pironi, Villeneuve, Arnoux and Piquet behind him. Arnoux quickly moved ahead of the Ferraris and on lap 3 the race became a Renault 1-2 with Piquet third, having got past Villeneuve. Shortly afterwards the Canadian hit a curb at Woodcote and spun. Jones tried to avoid the Ferrari but was taken out by it while behind them de Cesaris locked up and went off heavily into the barriers. Villeneuve managed to get the Ferrari going again but only got as far as Stowe Corner before parking.

Piquet was now after Pironi and he passed him on the fifth lap. The order then stabilized until lap 12 when Piquet suffered a tire explosion at Becketts and crashed heavily. Nelson was taken off to hospital.

Watson was now fighting back after being delayed by the Villeneuve-Jones incident he overtook Reutemann and Mario Andretti (Alfa Romeo) and closed on Pironi. As he overtook the Ferrari it blew up and went out and so Watson was a safe third with only the two Renault drivers ahead. On the 17th lap Prost's engine blew but Arnoux remained firmly ahead with Watson second, Reutemann third, Andretti fourth, Patrese fifth and Hector Rebaque (Brabham) sixth. Patrese soon moved ahead of Andretti while Rebaque dropped down the order when he stopped for new tires, Laffite moving into sixth place. The order was then settled until the 50th lap when the Renault engine began to sound odd and Watson began to close up quickly. On the 60th lap he went ahead. At the same moment Andretti disappeared with a throttle cable failure and as Arnoux faded through the field Patrese went out with an engine failure. This meant that the final order was Watson, Reutemann, Laffite, Eddie Cheever (Tyrrell), Rebaque and Slim Borgudd (ATS).

John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  68 1h26m54.800s  
Carlos Reutemann Williams-Cosworth  68 1h27m35.450s  
26 Jacques Laffite Talbot Ligier-Matra  67  14 
Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Cosworth  67  23 
Hector Rebaque Brabham-Cosworth  67  13 
10 Slim Borgudd ATS-Cosworth  67  21 
17 Derek Daly March-Cosworth  66  17 
32 Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Cosworth  65  20 
9r 16 Rene Arnoux Renault  64 Engine 
10r 29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  64 Engine 10 
11r 33 Marc Surer Theodore-Cosworth  61 Out Of Fuel 24 
22 Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo  59 Throttle Linkage 11 
20 Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Cosworth  56 Rear Suspension 16 
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth  25 Black-flagged/ Withdrew 22 
15 Alain Prost Renault  17 Engine 
25 Patrick Tambay Talbot Ligier-Matra  15 Ignition 15 
28 Didier Pironi Ferrari  13 Engine 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-Cosworth  11 Tyre Burst/ Accident 
23 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo  Gearbox 12 
27 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  Accident 
Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth  Accident 
Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Cosworth  Accident 
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth  Clutch 19 
30 Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Cosworth  Accident 18 
nq 21 Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth    25 
nq 35 Brian Henton Toleman-Hart    26 
nq 12 Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth    27 
nq 14 Eliseo Salazar Ensign-Cosworth    28 
nq 36 Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart    29 
nq 31 Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Cosworth    30