Canadian GP 1981

SEPTEMBER 27, 1981

Canadian GP, 1981

Between the Italian and Canadian GPs Alan Jones announced that he was retiring for Formula 1 and there were rumors that Mario Andretti would do the same. At the same time Niki Lauda was spotted testing one of the new McLaren MP4/1s at Donington Park and it looked like he would be making a comeback. At the same time Siegfried Stohr decided that he no longer wanted to be an F1 driver and a deal was struck for Riccardo Patrese to be partnered in Canada by Jacques Villeneuve, Gilles Villeneuve's brother.

Qualifying resulted in pole position for Nelson Piquet with his title rival Carlos Reutemann alongside. Jones was third while Alain Prost was fourth in his Renault. Nigel Mansell was an impressive fifth for Lotus while Hector Rebaque was a fine sixth in the second Brabham. The top 10 was completed by Elio de Angelis (Lotus), Rene Arnoux (Renault), John Watson (McLaren) and Jacques Laffite (Talbot Ligier). Gilles Villeneuve was 11th while his brother Jacques failed to qualify along with the two Fittipaldis, the two Tolemans and Beppe Gabbiani's Osella.

The weather had turned wet by race day and at the start Jones took the lead after banging wheels with Reutemann. The Argentine driver had to lift off and he was overtaken by rival Piquet, Prost and de Angelis. Further back Villeneuve tipped Arnoux into a spin, the Renault bashing into Pironi's Ferrari as it went off.

In the laps that followed Villeneuve moved up to take third on lap 7 when Jones spun and Piquet dropped back as he tried to avoid the Williams. This let Prost take the lead with Laffite second. Watson moved to fourth and things began to settle down until lap 13 when Laffite moved into the lead. He was followed through into second place a few laps later by Villeneuve and as Prost faded further he fell behind Watson as well. Watson was then able to catch and pass Villeneuve as well and that was how the race ended with fourth place going to Bruno Giacomelli (Alfa Romeo), fifth to Piquet and sixth to de Angelis. Piquet's two point mean that he and Reutemann headed to Las Vegas separated by a point while Laffite had an outside chance of winning the title.

26 Jacques Laffite Talbot Ligier-Matra  63 2h01m25.205s  10 
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  63 2h01m31.438s  
27 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  63 2h03m15.480s  11 
23 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo  62  15 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-Cosworth  62  
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth  62  
22 Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo  62  16 
17 Derek Daly March-Cosworth  61  20 
33 Marc Surer Theodore-Cosworth  61  19 
10 Carlos Reutemann Williams-Cosworth  60  
11 Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth  59  22 
12r Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Cosworth  56 Engine 14 
Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Cosworth  51 Spin 13 
15 Alain Prost Renault  48 Accident 
12 Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth  45 Accident 
10 Slim Borgudd ATS-Cosworth  39 Spin 21 
Hector Rebaque Brabham-Cosworth  35 Spin 
32 Jean-Pierre Jarier Osella-Cosworth  26 Accident 23 
28 Didier Pironi Ferrari  24 Engine 12 
Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth  24 Handling 
14 Eliseo Salazar Ensign-Cosworth  Spin 24 
25 Patrick Tambay Talbot Ligier-Matra  Spin 17 
29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  Spin 18 
16 Rene Arnoux Renault  Accident 
nq 20 Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Cosworth    25 
nq 21 Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth    26 
nq 35 Brian Henton Toleman-Hart    27 
nq 30 Jacques Villeneuve Arrows-Cosworth    28 
nq 36 Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart    29 
nq 31 Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Cosworth    30