22px-Flag of Spain  1981 Spanish Grand Prix
Race details
Race 7 of 15 in the 1981 Formula One season
Circuito Permanente del Jarama 1980.svg
Date June 21, 1981
Official name XXVII Gran Premio de España
Location Circuito Permanente Del Jarama, Jarama, Spain
Course Permanent racing facility
3.312 km (2.06 mi)</td></tr>
Distance 80 laps, 264.96 km (164.70 mi)</td></tr>
Weather Sunny, hot
Pole position
Driver 22px-Flag of France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra
Time 1:13.754[1]
Fastest lap
Driver 25px-AustraliaFLAG Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth
Time 1:17.818 on lap 5[2]
First 25px-Canadaflag Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari
Second 22px-Flag of France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra
Third 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford

The 1981 Spanish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on June 21, 1981, at the Circuito Permanente Del Jarama, Jarama, Spain.


The 1981 Spanish Grand Prix featured the second closest finish ever of a Formula One race: after Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari, the four following cars finished in just 1.24 seconds. This was Villeneuve's last victory, often regarded as his tactical masterpiece.[3]

There were some changes for this race: Eliseo Salazar had left March to join Ensign, replacing Marc Surer. Also, John Player Special sponsorship and livery returned to Team Lotus after a 2-year hiatus.

The pole went to Jacques Laffite on his Ligier-Matra with the two Williams-Cosworth of Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann second and third ahead of John Watson's McLaren, Alain Prost's Renault and the Alfa Romeo of Bruno Giacomelli. Gilles Villeneuve was seventh.

Race day was unusually hot. At the beginning of the race Jones and Reutemann went into the lead, as Laffite made a poor start. Villeneuve jumped into third place at the first corner, damaging Prost's front wing as he took the position. At the end of the first lap Villeneuve pulled out of Reutemann's slipstream and took second place. Jones began to build a lead but on lap 14 he went off the track, when he was 10 seconds ahead of the Canadian.

This left Villeneuve with Reutemann on his tail. Behind them Watson, Laffite and Elio de Angelis began to close on the dueling leaders. Reutemann was having some trouble with his gearbox and when Laffite arrived behind him there was little the Argentinian could do to stop him from overtaking. Reutemann would later drop behind Watson. The five front-runners became a train of cars, packed together for the remaining laps of the race.

Villeneuve used the power of his Ferrari engine on the straight to gain a little margin and not get overtaken by his rivals, but in the corners they were all over him. Many times Laffite pulled alongside the Canadian as they went out a corner but the Ferrari would stay ahead as the horsepower kicked in. The five remained locked together right to the flag, crossing the line covered by just 1.24 seconds to record the second closest race in the history of Formula One.

This would be the last Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama, owing to criticism of the track being too narrow for modern Formula One, the unpleasant conditions and the small crowd [4] (the small turn-out was probably due to the backlash of the previous year's race not being counted as a World Championship race, the announcement was made on the weekend itself); and the last Spanish Grand Prix until 1986, when it would be held at the newly-built Jerez circuit.

Classification Edit

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 27 25px-Canadaflag Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 80 1:46:35.01 7 9
2 26 22px-Flag of France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 80 + 0.22 1 6
3 7 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford 80 + 0.58 4 4
4 2 25px-ARGENntina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 80 + 1.01 3 3
5 11 22px-Flag of Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 80 + 1.24 10 2
6 12 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Lotus-Ford 80 + 28.58 11 1
7 1 25px-AustraliaFLAG Alan Jones Williams-Ford 80 + 56.58 2  
8 22 USAflagsmall Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo 80 + 1:00.80 8  
9 16 22px-Flag of France René Arnoux Renault 80 + 1:07.08 17  
10 23 22px-Flag of Italy Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 80 + 1:13.65 6  
11 21 25px-Brazilflag Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Ford 79 + 1 Lap 21  
12 20 22px-Flag of Finland Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford 78 + 2 Laps 15  
13 33 22px-Flag of France Patrick Tambay Theodore-Ford 78 + 2 Laps 16  
14 14 22px-Flag of Chile Eliseo Salazar Ensign-Ford 77 + 3 Laps 24  
15 28 22px-Flag of France Didier Pironi Ferrari 76 + 4 Laps 13  
16 17 22px-Flag of Ireland Derek Daly March-Ford 75 + 5 Laps 22  
NC 3 USAflagsmall Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Ford 62 Not Classified 20  
Ret 25 22px-Flag of France Jean-Pierre Jabouille Ligier-Matra 51 Brakes 19  
Ret 6 25px-Mexicoflag Hector Rebaque Brabham-Ford 46 Gearbox 18  
Ret 30 22px-Flag of Italy Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Ford 43 Ignition 23  
Ret 5 25px-Brazilflag Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 43 Accident 9  
Ret 15 22px-Flag of France Alain Prost Renault 28 Spun Off 5  
Ret 29 22px-Flag of Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 21 Brakes 12  
Ret 8 22px-Flag of Italy Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Ford 9 Accident 14  
DNQ 4 22px-Flag of Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford    
DNQ 31 22px-Flag of Italy Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Ford    
DNQ 9 22px-Flag of Sweden Slim Borgudd ATS-Ford    
DNQ 35 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom Brian Henton Toleman-Hart    
DNQ 36 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart    
DNQ 32 22px-Flag of Italy Giorgio Francia Osella-Ford        

Standings after the raceEdit

Drivers' Championship standings
Pos Driver Points
1 25px-ARGENntina Carlos Reutemann 37
2 25px-AustraliaFLAG Alan Jones 24
3 25px-Brazilflag Nelson Piquet 22
4 25px-Canadaflag Gilles Villeneuve 21
5 22px-Flag of France Jacques Laffite 17
Constructors' Championship standings
Pos Constructor Points
1 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom Williams-Ford 61
2 22px-Flag of Italy Ferrari 26
3 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 25
4 22px-Flag of France Ligier-Matra 17
5 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 12
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. Lang, Mike (1992). Grand Prix! Vol 4. Haynes Publishing Group. p. 40. 
  2. Lang, Mike (1992). Grand Prix! Vol 4. Haynes Publishing Group. p. 43. 
  3. Gerald Donaldson. Gilles Villeneuve: The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver (London: Motor Racing Publications, 1996) ISBN 978-0-947981-44-0
  4. "1981-FIA-Review-07-Spain". YouTube. 2006-07-17. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 

Unless otherwise indicated, all race results are taken from "The Official Formula 1 website". Retrieved 2007-06-16. 

Previous race:
1981 Monaco Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1981 season
Next race:
1981 French Grand Prix
Previous race:
1979 Spanish Grand Prix
Spanish Grand Prix Next race:
1986 Spanish Grand Prix
Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at 1981 Spanish Grand Prix. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Autopedia, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.