Saturday, February 7, 2015


In the 1981 Formula One Grand Prix du Monaco, 1980 World Champion Alan Jones, 1981 points leader Carlos Reutemann, and the Williams team were in a strong position to claim victory. Both Williams' FW07 cars were performing well with Patrick Head's highly successful approach to 'ground effect', and it didn't appear any team could disrupt Williams' plans for grabbing the chequered flag.

But, hey, this is motor racing we're dealing with. The best laid plans and all that.

Alan Jones started from 7th spot on the grid, and the early part of the race was dominated by Reutemann and Piquet. Villeneuve and Pironi had hugely powerful turbocharged Ferraris, but the inconsistent power delivery was difficult to manage. Reutemann was forced out with a failed gearbox, and Piquet took over the lead with Alan Jones right on his tail.

Alan intimidated the Brazilian lap after lap and I was located at Mirabeau corner watching him put intense pressure on Piquet, constantly feinting to the right and left under brakes for the tight right-hander. On lap 53 the Williams was virtually up the exhaust pipes of Piquet's Brabham-Ford.

Then, on lap 54 Piquet surrendered to the pressure and spun. As I waited for the duo to appear in tandem at Mirabeau Alan Jones arrived all alone, for this great photo.

With just 11 laps to go, Jones was suffering from air in the fuel lines, so he dashed into the pits so the engineers could take a quick look.

They could do nothing. So Gilles Villenueve converted a 60 second deficit to a 60 second advantage and took over the lead, Jones went back out and fought gamely to keep the Canadian in sight.

Villeneuve took the chequered flag and Alan Jones finished just 40 seconds behind the Ferrari, making the 1981 event one of the most thrilling and nail-biting Grands Prix I have seen. It was great to be there!

No comments:

Post a Comment