Half-term report

With the 1981 season halfway done, it’s time to have a look back through the teams and see how things are panning out over the first half.

Carlos Reutemann at Imola

A fantastic start to the season with maximum points in Long Beach and Rio, and haven’t failed to score in a race yet. Not totally dominant but with both drivers scoring, lead the constructors’ race comfortably.

Cheever scores in the lower points when he finishes, but Tyrrell’s second drivers have been a disappointment. Promising, but still plenty of work to do in the second half of the season.

Piquet fast but inconsistent: two wins and a third place, but also three retirements and a 12th. Still the best challenger for the WIlliams pair. Rebaque a little unfortunate at times but generally disappointing with two DNQs

Dreadful start to the season with old M29 chassis and delayed introduction of new MP4/1 but John Watson has been going well recently and a first podium of the year in Spain bodes well for the second half. De Cesaris erratic though with 5 retirements.

Lammers and/or Borgudd have had to watch most races from the sidelines after failing to qualify. At least out of three qualifications they have two finishes, suggesting ATS might get lucky if they can qualify more often.

De Angelis races Alboreto at Zolder
De Angelis races Alboreto at Zolder

The frustrating saga of the Lotus 88 distracted the team at the start of the season, but when the new 87 came in it was immediately competitive. Good things to come for Lotus, especially the talented de Angelis?

The promise of a fourth-place finish in Brazil hasn’t been met since, while a further point for Surer in Monaco didn’t stop him being dropped in favour of Salazar’s sponsorship dollars.

The little yellow kettles have spent much of the season brewing up regularly, but when they’re running, they’re fast. Double points finish in Argentina but precious few finishes altogether. Turbo engines still not right.

Experienced team finding returning to F1 much harder than they can have imagined: One qualification from 14 attempts so far. Will things improve with just one car to concentrate on.

The Brazilian team limps on without its talismanic namesake driver, with Rosberg doing his best but while both cars usually qualify, just two finishes on the board tells its own story.

Alfa Romeo
Another Turbo team struggling with reliability and a seeming inability to get out of midfield. Mario Andretti’s fourth place in Long Beach the sole bright spot so far.

Laffite's Ligier - a race winner in '81?
Laffite’s Ligier – a race winner in ’81?

Talbot Ligier
A disappointing start to the season for the French team touted as championship dark horses but while Jabouille is still struggling for form and fitness, Laffite has found his groove with three podiums on the trot. A win on the cards.

Awful early season with double-retirements in the first three races, but when they finish they usually score, and Villeneuve’s two wins in the last two racesmean this might just be the good year the Prancing Horse need at last.

A strong start with a pole position and two podium visits for Patrese marred by unreliability and team-mate Stohr’s inexperience, and terrible luck in Zolder incident with Dave Luckett.

The little Italian team can’t catch a break so far this year, with tragic loss of mechanic Giovanni Amadeo at Zolder and injury to Guerra in San Marino debut. 14 attempts; 5 qualifications; 1 finish (13th in Belgium).

A single point on their debut the high point so far, but ex-McLaren man Tambay has done well for them, qualifying for every race bar one, and finishing all bar one of the races he’s started. Deserve more reward for their efforts.

Experimental car misses first three races and yet to start a Grand Prix, but team all-conquering in F2 and will hope to make progress onto the grid later in the season


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