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The 1981 Monaco Grand Prix was the sixth race of the 1981 Formula One season. Gilles Villeneuve won the race for Ferrari, taking the team's first win since 1979.



BackgroundEdit

Heading into Monaco, Carlos Reutemann continued to enjoy a comfortable lead in the world championship on 34 points, however Nelson Piquet was slowly creeping closer in the standings, now only 12 points behind the Williams driver. Reigning champion Alan Jones in the other Williams was three points behind Piquet whilst Riccardo Patrese was impressing with his consistency to sit fourth in the standings for Arrows. The consistent success of the Williams paring of Reutemann and Jones meant that Williams had an enormous points advantage in the constructors championship, sitting on 58 points in comparison to nearest challenger Brabham's 25.

The Formula One grid had expanded to 31 cars, the overcrowding of the pits had been the cause of tragedy with the death of an Osella mechanic in the previous round at Belgium. As a result the even more tightly packed and congested circuit of Monaco would host a pre-qualifying session ahead of the usual qualifying session in order to downsize the field. Monaco would only host 20 cars in the race as opposed to the usual 24 due to its congested nature. This meant 11 cars would fail to make it onto the grid for the Sunday race.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Albilad-Williams Racing Team Williams FW07C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Albilad-Williams Racing Team Williams FW07C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
3 United States Eddie Cheever United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Team Tyrrell 010 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
4 Italy Michele Alboreto United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Team Tyrrell 010 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT49C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT49C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren International McLaren MP4/1 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren International McLaren MP4/1 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
9 Netherlands Jan Lammers West Germany Team ATS ATS HGS1 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
10 Sweden Slim Borgudd West Germany Team ATS ATS HGS1 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Team Essex Lotus Lotus 87 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Team Essex Lotus Lotus 87 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
14 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign Racing Ensign N180B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
15 France Alain Prost France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE30 Renault EF1 1.5 V6t M
16 France René Arnoux France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE30 Renault EF1 1.5 V6t M
17 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom March Grand Prix Team March 811 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
18 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March Grand Prix Team March 811 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
20 Finland Keke Rosberg Brazil Fittipaldi Automotive Fittipaldi F8C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 A
21 Brazil Chico Serra Brazil Fittipaldi Automotive Fittipaldi F8C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 A
22 United States Mario Andretti Italy Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 179C Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 M
23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 179C Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 M
25 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Equipe Talbot Gitanes Ligier JS17 Matra MS81 3.0 V12 M
26 France Jacques Laffite France Equipe Talbot Gitanes Ligier JS17 Matra MS81 3.0 V12 M
27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 126CK Ferrari 021 1.5 V6t M
28 France Didier Pironi Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 126CK Ferrari 021 1.5 V6t M
29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Ragno Arrows Beta Racing Team Arrows A3 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
30 Italy Siegfried Stohr United Kingdom Ragno Arrows Beta Racing Team Arrows A3 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella Squadra Corse Osella FA1B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
32 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Italy Osella Squadra Corse Osella FA1B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
33 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Theodore Racing Team Theodore TY01 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M
35 United Kingdom Brian Henton United Kingdom Candy Toleman Motorsport Toleman TG181 Hart 415T 1.5 L4t P
36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick United Kingdom Candy Toleman Motorsport Toleman TG181 Hart 415T 1.5 L4t P

Practice OverviewEdit

Pre-QualifyingEdit

Pre-Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full pre-qualifying results for the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 33 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Theodore-Ford Cosworth 1:30.492
2 14 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:31.249 +0.757s
3 32 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Italy Osella-Ford Cosworth 1:32.704 +2.212s
4 31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella-Ford Cosworth 1:33.189 +2.697s
DNPQ 10 Sweden Slim Borgudd West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth 1:33.285 +2.793s
DNPQ 18 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:33.800 +3.308s
DNPQ 17 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:35.249 +4.757s
DNPQ 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 1:37.528 +7.036s
DNPQ 36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 1:41.966 +11.474s
WD 9 Netherlands Jan Lammers West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth Withdrawn

QualifyingEdit

The unfortunate cars that would have to endure the pre-qualifying session were the two Toleman's, the two March's and the lone cars of Slim Borgudd's ATS, Patrick Tambay's Theodore and Marc Surer's Ensign. Tambay and Surer were the two cars to survive pre-qualifying and advance into the main qualifying session.

Failing to qualify were the two Fittipaldi cars of Keke Rosberg and Chico Serra, Jean-Pierre Jabouille's Ligier, the two Osella's and surprisingly Héctor Rebaque's Brabham.

In contrast to Rebaque, teammate Nelson Piquet took the pole position. Gilles Villeneuve put in a strong performance for Ferrari to take second whilst behind him came Nigel Mansell, Carlos Reutemann and Riccardo Patrese.

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2
1 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:25.710T 1:28.667
2 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 1:26.891 1:25.788 +0.078s
3 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:27.174 1:25.815 +0.105s
4 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:27.643 1:26.010 +0.300s
5 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:27.447 1:26.040 +0.330s
6 11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:28.381T 1:26.259 +0.549s
7 1 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:26.938 1:26.538 +0.828s
8 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 1:27.468 1:26.704 +0.994s
9 15 France Alain Prost France Renault 1:27.623 1:26.953 +1.243s
10 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:28.137 1:27.058 +1.348s
11 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:28.966 1:27.122 +1.412s
12 22 United States Mario Andretti Italy Alfa Romeo 1:27.512 1:28.162 +1.802s
13 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 1:28.613T 1:27.513T +1.803s
14 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:29.789 1:27.564 +1.854s
15 3 United States Eddie Cheever United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:29.282 1:27.594 +1.884s
16 33 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Theodore-Ford Cosworth 1:28.897 1:27.939 +2.229s
17 28 France Didier Pironi Italy Ferrari 1:29.150 1:28.266 +2.556s
18 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 1:28.335 1:28.323 +2.613s
19 14 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:29.611 1:28.339 +2.629s
20 4 Italy Michele Alboreto United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:30.699 1:28.358 +2.648s
DNQ 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:29.924 1:28.436 +2.726s
DNQ 25 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Ligier-Matra 1:29.752 1:28.841 +3.131s
DNQ 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:29.188 1:29.256T +3.478s
DNQ 21 Brazil Chico Serra Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:32.109 1:29.434 +3.724s
DNQ 32 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Italy Osella-Ford Cosworth 1:29.649 +3.939s
DNQ 31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella-Ford Cosworth 1:30.983 1:29.795 +4.085s
DNPQ 10 Sweden Slim Borgudd West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth 1:33.285
DNPQ 18 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:33.800
DNPQ 17 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:35.249
DNPQ 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 1:37.528
DNPQ 36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 1:41.966
WD 9 Netherlands Jan Lammers West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth Withdrawn

GridEdit

RaceEdit

ReportEdit

Nelson Piquet maintained his lead at the start with Gilles Villeneuve, Nigel Mansell, Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones in hot pursuit. Andrea de Cesaris and Mario Andretti collided at St Devote forcing both drivers out of the race. Piquet and Villeneuve began to pull away from the pack whilst Mansell's Lotus had began to hold up Reutemann behind him.

Mansell and Reutemann duelled for a number of laps, however Reutemann's Williams was unable to find a way past the young Brit. Mansell's strong drive was brought to an end on lap 16 when he suffered suspenson failure. A number of retirements followed, Riccardo Patrese went out on lap 29 from sixth with gearbox troubles. Elio de Angelis inherited his position but then three laps later retired with engine troubles. The same lap René Arnoux crashed his Renault into the barriers. Carlos Reutemann who had been released from the slower Mansell had managed to catch up to the two leaders of Piquet and Villeneuve only to retire on lap 34 with gearbox troubles.

This meant Alan Jones was left as the sole remaining Williams, where he began to put pressure on Villeneuve whose Ferrari was beginning to suffer from handling and performance issues. After three laps Villeneuve conceded the position and Jones began to chase after his old rival Nelson Piquet.

Lower down the field, Alain Prost retired from fifth with engine troubles on lap 45 and five later Bruno Giacomelli and Michele Alboreto collided putting themselves out of the race. As this occurred Jones had caught up to Piquet and had began to apply the pressure.

On lap 53, as Piquet attempted to lap a backmarker he spun off the circuit and hit the barriers, bringing his race to a premature end. Jones therefore enjoyed a comfortable 30 second lead over the crippled Villeneuve in second place, the win was there for the taking. However disaster struck for Jones when his engine began to misfire.

With nine laps to go, Jones came into the pits on lap 67. The mechanics noticing air bubbles in Jones's fuel could not fix the problem and sent Jones back on his way. Jones exited the pits still in the lead although was now only six seconds ahead of Villeneuve behind him. Both Jones and Villeneuve battled mechanical troubles, however this did not deter Villeneuve from closing on Jones. The race was heading for an excellent climax as Jones and Villeneuve duelled for the lead. With four laps to go Villeneuve made his move and the Ferrari driver took the lead of the race. A euphoric Villeneuve then began to pull away from the now dejected Jones at a rapid pace. Villeneuve took the flag, a full 30 seconds ahead of Jones. A minute and a half behind Villeneuve was Jacques Laffite's Ligier. Didier Pironi secured more points for Ferrari with fourth whilst Eddie Cheever was fith and Marc Surer sixth. The smaller teams of Tyrrell and Ensign getting some much needed points in the race.

ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 27 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 76 1:54.23.38 2 9
2 1 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford 76 +39.91s 7 6
3 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 76 +1:29.24 8 4
4 28 France Didier Pironi Italy Ferrari 76 +1 lap 17 3
5 3 United States Eddie Cheever United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 74 +2 laps 15 2
6 14 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford 64 +2 laps 19 1
7 33 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom Theodore-Ford 72 +4 laps 16
Ret 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 53 Accident 1
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 53 Engine 10
Ret 4 Italy Michele Alboreto United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 50 Accident 20
Ret 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 50 Accident 18
Ret 15 France Alain Prost France Renault 45 Engine 9
Ret 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford 34 Gearbox 4
Ret 6 France René Arnoux France Renault 32 Accident 13
Ret 11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 32 Engine 6
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 29 Gearbox 5
Ret 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 16 Rear suspension 3
Ret 30 Italy Siegfried Stohr United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 15 Electrical misfire 14
Ret 8 Italy Andrea de Cesaris United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 0 Accident 11
Ret 22 United States Mario Andretti Italy Alfa Romeo 0 Accident 12
DNQ 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford
DNQ 25 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Ligier-Matra
DNQ 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Brabham-Ford
DNQ 21 Brazil Chico Serra Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford
DNQ 32 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Italy Osella-Ford
DNQ 31 Italy Beppe Gabbiani Italy Osella-Ford
DNPQ 10 Sweden Slim Borgudd Germany ATS-Ford
DNPQ 18 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom March-Ford
DNPQ 16 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom March-Ford
DNPQ 35 United Kingdom Brian Henton United Kingdom Toleman-Hart
DNPQ 36 United Kingdom Derek Warwick United Kingdom Toleman-Hart

MilestonesEdit

Standings after raceEdit

NotesEdit

V T E Monaco Monaco Grand Prix
Circuits Circuit de Monaco (1929–present)
Circuit Monaco 2007
Races 1950 • 1951–1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020
Non-F1 races 1929 • 1930 • 1931 • 1932 • 1933 • 1934 • 1935 • 1936 • 1937 • 1948 • 1952
V T E 1981 Formula One Season
Teams Alfa Romeo • Arrows • ATS • Brabham • Ensign • Ferrari • Fittipaldi • Ligier • Lotus • March • McLaren • Osella • Renault • Theodore • Toleman • Tyrrell • Williams
Engines Alfa Romeo • Ferrari • Ford Cosworth • Hart • Matra • Renault
Drivers Alboreto • Andretti • de Angelis • Arnoux • Borgudd • de Cesaris • Cheever • Cogan • Daly • Francia • Gabbiani • Giacomelli • Ghinzani • Guerra • Henton • Jabouille • Jarier • Jones • Laffite • Lammers • Londoño • Mansell • Patrese • Piquet • Pironi • Prost • Rebaque • Reutemann • Rosberg • Salazar • Serra • Stohr • Surer • Tambay • G. Villeneuve • J. Villeneuve, Sr. • Warwick • Watson • Zunino
Cars Alfa Romeo 179B • Alfa Romeo 179C • Alfa Romeo 179D • Arrows A3 • ATS D4 • ATS HGS1 • Brabham BT49C • Ensign N180B • Ferrari 126CK • Fittipaldi F8C • Ligier JS17 • Lotus 81B • Lotus 87 • Lotus 88 • Lotus 88B • March 811 • McLaren M29F • McLaren MP4/1 • Osella FA1B • Osella FA1C • Renault RE20B • Renault RE30 • Theodore TY01 • Toleman TG181 • Tyrrell 010 • Tyrrell 011 • Williams FW07C
Tyres Avon • Goodyear • Michelin • Pirelli
Races United States West • Brazil • Argentina • San Marino • Belgium • Monaco • Spain • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Netherlands • Italy • Canada • Caesars Palace
Non-championship Races South Africa
See also 1980 Formula One Season • 1982 Formula One Season • Category
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