1. Alan Jones
2. Carlos Reutemann
The team successfully defended its constructors title in style, but was unable to secure the drivers’ title for Jones or Reutemann. Despite early season dominance, Williams had lost ground to the others after the mid-season point and had just two thirds, two seconds and one win from the second half of the season.
3. Eddie Cheever
4. Kevin Cogan / Ricardo Zunino / Michele Alboreto
A disappointing season for the venerable British team, posting four DNQs over the season, the first time the team had ever failed to qualify a car. Eddie Cheever was the only points-scoring driver in the first car, while a series of pay-drivers in car two failed to impress. Switching tyre suppliers several times mid-season can’t have helped.
5. Nelson Piquet
6. Héctor Rebaque
Pretty good season for Bernie Ecclestone and co, with Piquet winning the drivers’ title and the team placing second in the constructors’ race. However, Héctor Rebaque had proved a disappointment in the second car – even failing to qualify in Monaco while Nelson took pole. Brabham can look forward to an interesting 1982 as they move to turbo engines.
7. John Watson
8. Andrea de Cesaris
A rough start to the season as the team readied its new car, but the MP4/1 made an instant impact giving John Watson a win and three more podiums and possibly saving his life in Italy. Andrea de Cesaris a major disappointment though, scoring just one point all year and makes way for Niki Lauda next year.
9. Jan Lammers / Slim Borgudd
10. Slim Borgudd
Another dreadful year for the German team, though they improved as the season went on, replacing failures to qualify with failures to finish but picking up a point at Silverstone for their efforts. The team try hard, and deserve better success.
11. Elio de Angelis
12. Nigel Mansell
The saga of the Lotus 88 cast a pall over the whole season, but de Angelis was a regular visitor to the lower points and Mansell showed flashes of talent with a third place in Belgium and a fine drive in Vegas, but was generally erratic and prone to retirement.
14. Marc Surer / Ricardo Londoño-Bridge / Eliseo Salazar
4th place and the fastest lap for Surer in Brazil promised much but proved a false dawn, and the unfortunate Surer was the victim of economic forces rather than his own failures in losing the drive to the well-financed Salazar later in the season. Nonetheless, the team’s biggest points haul and only one DNQ all season is promising for the little team’s future.
15. Alain Prost
16. René Arnoux
Reliability the usual problem for Renault in the early part of the season, with third in Argentina for Prost the only points in the first half of the season. Once the problems began to fade, though, Prost put on a late charge for the title, winning three races – more than any other driver. Arnoux continued to struggle though, and was rumoured to have fallen out with Prost as well.
17. Derek Daly / Eliseo Salazar
18. Eliseo Salazar / Derek Daly
Absolutely dreadful comeback season for the team, though things improved after the decision to cut back to one car after Monaco and focus on Derek Daly. Nonetheless, 23 attempts, 9 qualifications and 4 finishes tells its own story. The experienced March organisation undoubtedly found it harder than they expected.
20. Keke Rosberg
21. Chico Serra
Early-season form was promising, with the cars sometimes running in the points, but dogged by reliability problems. However, the wheels came off in a big way in the back straight, with the team only qualifying once after Germany and having to withdraw from Austria due to lack of engines.
22. Mario Andretti
23. Bruno Giacomelli
Dogged by bad reliability from their in-house engines, Mario Andretti’s home fourth place in Long Beach was the highlight of the season with the “other” Marlboro cars usually running in midfield. At least until the last few races of the season when Giacomelli scored a fourth and third place, and Andretti had run well until retiring. The former champion rumoured to be on the way out.
25. Jean-Pierre Jarier / Jean-Pierre Jabouille / Patrick Tambay
26. Jacques Laffite
The French team were tipped to be title contenders after good 1979 and 1980 seasons, and after a bad start Jacques Laffite really came good in the second half of the season, winning two races and taking 5 more podium places to remain a title contender until the last race. Not a single point from car 25 though, with Jarier, Jabouille and Tambay all underperforming.
27. Gilles Villeneuve
28. Didier Pironi
Villeneuve and Pironi usually struggled with their powerful but evil-handling cars and their unreliable turbo engines. Villeneuve usually delivered the goods in qualification but apart from the back to back wins in Monaco and Spain, and a battling third place in Canada, another bad year for the prancing horse.
29. Riccardo Patrese
30. Siegfried Stohr / Jacques Villeneuve
A great start to the season as Patrese takes pole in Long Beach, then takes 3rd in Brazil and 2nd in San Marino – but then it all goes wrong after the traumatic Belgian GP and the team don’t post another point. Team will hope to put issues behind them in the off-season and retain talented Patrese.
31. Miguel-Angel Guerra / Piercarlo Ghinzani / Beppe Gabbiani
32. Beppe Gabbiani / Piercarlo Ghinzani / Giorgio Francia / Miguel-Angel Guerra / Jean-Pierre Jarier
Another season-long bust for the little Italian team and desperately unfortunate for Guerra, whose GP career currently holds “shortest ever” record. Once Jarier arrived, he qualified regularly and showed up “team leader” Gabbiani. Team still searching for elusive first point.
33. Patrick Tambay / Marc Surer
A point on the team’s first outing promised much, and the new boys did well to qualify for all but two races, and finish all but three of those – no more points, but the Hong Kong-based team have a good base to build on for the future.
35. Brian Henton
36. Derek Warwick
The team that had dominated Formula Two found the step up to F1 harder than they could have imagined, but Henton and Warwick did at least manage one qualification each and made friends around the grid with their cheerful, easygoing attitudes.