Welcome to nicheforSpeed.com

Current Motorsport Status and History including Formula 1 (F1), World Endurance and GT (WEC, IMSA, Weathertech), IndyCar (NTT), and NASCAR (Monster Cup) racing. Please explore and enjoy your niche for speed.

Prior Season

1981 FIA Formula 1 Season

Next Season

1981 FIA Formula 1 Season
Photo Credit: Attribution Unascertained.
Champion Constructor: Williams Ford (GB,2,2)
Putative Constructor: Williams Ford (GB)
Champion Driver: Nelson Piquet (BR,1,1)
Putative Driver: Nelson Piquet (BR)
Putative Constructor Entry Specification: Model FW07C/D, 2.99-liter, eight-cylinder vee DFV, magnesium alloy engine, DOHC, fuel injection, five-speed, ventilated disc brakes, aluminum monocoque, double wishbone independent active suspension, 495 horsepower (Patrick Head).

The Formula 1 constructors for the first time sign the Concorde Agreement in March 1981, a secret protocol that prescribes the distribution of commercial revenues generated by the sport among the teams in exchange for FOCA abandoning its attempts to establish a breakaway series. In the technical realm, the FIA bans the ever successful aerodynamic skirts for the 1981 season, however, the teams respond by implementing active suspension systems that automatically maintain the new ground clearance requirement while still generating the desired downforce effect. The sanctioning body also banishes the new Lotus entry with its innovative and independently sprung chassis-within-chassis design, designating the same as a moveable aerodynamic device. The swift Williams FW07 C/D entry easily claims the constructors' crown for the second consecutive season as Brabham driver Nelson Piquet caps off a compelling campaign with a fifth place finish in the season finale at Las Vegas in October to narrowly pip Williams driver Carlos Reutemann for his maiden drivers' title. F1 makes its inaugural visit to Las Vegas in October. Departures: Osella mechanic due to Reutemann pitlane shunt, GP Belgium, Heusden-Zolder, May. New Racing Makes: Hong Konger Theodore. Racing Evolution: Active pneumatic suspension (Brabham). Carbon fibre composite chassis construction (McLaren). Dual independently sprung chassis-within-chassis (Lotus).

HeM applies the Putative Model to all racing seasons for two primary purposes: First, to effectively normalize all racing seasons for empirical comparison across the decades, and second, to step clear of series organizers which score season championships primarily out of commercial interest or to attract manufacturer participation. The Putative Model simply scores all seasons in the same fashion as a standard track and field meeting, with the only purpose of tracking what takes place at the finishing stripe If the Putative Champion differs from the nominal Series Champion, please note the (SC) notation below.

Williams Ford122     Piquet68
Brabham Ford75     Reutemann65
Renault Gordini70     Jones Aln59
Ligier Matra57     Prost59
Scuderia Ferrari41     Laffite58
McLaren Ford36     Watson J35

Noteworthy 1981 Races

1981 X Grande Prêmio do Brasil Rio de Janeiro, Brazil1981 1981 X Grande Prêmio do Brasil At Jacarepagua for the Brazilian Grand Prix (211.5 kilometers) in March, the race comes to a British Williams FW07C Ford under Carlos Reutemann (AR) in rainy conditions in 2:00:23.7 (average 96.60 mph), under five seconds ahead of a companion Williams driven by Alan Jones. Reutemann moves out front early as teammate and defending drivers' champion Jones climbs up through field over the distance. As the race winds down, Williams orders Reutemann to allow his teammate Jones through for the lead, yet Reutemann refuses, crosses the wire for victory, and draws the ire from his own team for his defiance as Jones refuses to join the Argentine on the podium. Photo Credit: Attribution Unascertained.
1981 Grand Prix of Belgium Heusden-Zolder, Belgium1981 1981 Grand Prix of Belgium At Zolder for the Belgian Grand Prix (298.5 kilometers) in May, a British Williams FW07C Ford under Carlos Reutemann (AR) takes race honors in heavy rains in 1:16:31.6 (average 112.14 mph), under thirty-seven seconds ahead of a Ligier entry. The race weekend begins in horrific fashion as Reutemann strikes an Osella mechanic during a practice session who subsequently succumbs to his injuries. The pending race start devolves into a debacle as the drivers stage a moving protest on the formation lap that in turn strings out the field. Just prior to the start, the stalled Arrows entry of Riccardo Patrese creates bedlam on the grid and in the ensuing chaos Siegried Stohr in his Arrows slams into the back of Patrese, who in turn strikes and runs over an Arrows mechanic, who suffers a pair of broken legs in the melee. The madness continues as the entries roar off the grid while trackside marshals perilously attempt to wave off the start. After the drivers learn of the incident at the lights, all simply stop after the completion of Lap 1 and refuse to immediately restart the contest. The race finally restarts under wet conditions after an extended period and Reutemann moves out front on Lap 20 of 70 after race leader Alan Jones in his Williams drops a gear and crashes out. Race officials halt the event at Lap 54 due to incessant rains and the teams somberly depart Zolder after a calamitous weekend. Photo Credit: Williams Racing.
1981 XXXIX Grand Prix de Monaco Monte Carlo1981 1981 XXXIX Grand Prix de Monaco At Monaco for the Grand Prix (251.5 kilometers) in May, an Italian Scuderia Ferrari 126CK under Gilles Villeneuve (CA) takes the flag in 1:54:23.4 (average 82.04 mph), under forty seconds ahead of a Williams entry. Villeneuve moves out front after passing race leader Alan Jones in his faltering Williams with only four laps remaining. Only seven of twenty entries complete the contest as Villeneuve wins for the first time in two seasons while Scuderia Ferrari ascends as the all-time winning constructor in the principality with its fifth triumph. Photo Credit: Attribution Unascertained.
1981 XXXIV British Grand Prix Silverstone, England1981 1981 XXXIV British Grand Prix At Silverstone for the British Grand Prix (321 kilometers) in July, a British McLaren MP4 Ford under John Watson (GB) notches a victory in 1:26:54.8 (average 137.66 mph), under forty-one seconds ahead of a Williams entry. Watson moves out front after race leader Rene Arnoux in his Renault drops a turbocharger with only seven laps remaining. Photo Credit: LAT Photographic Archive.