1981 San Marino Grand Prix

Race Winner
Country
Italy
Circuit
Round
4
Laps
60
Pole
Fastest Lap
Villeneuve , 1m 48.064s
1981 Season

Imola, May 3rd

To fill out the ranks of the Grand Prix races in the European part of the 1981 season the Italians came up with the splendid idea of holding a second event in Italy. As the International rules do not allow this unless the circuits are more than a specified distance apart (to allow two events in the USA) the Automobile Club of San Marino put in a claim for a Grand Prix as San Marino is an autonomous Principality within the Italian mainland. As San Marino is a recognised FIA country the claim was accepted and as there is no racing circuit within the Principality it was agreed to hold the first San Marino Grand Prix at nearby Imola. Everyone was delighted. While many of us prefer Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, where it will be run this year, there is nothing wrong with the present-day Imola circuit and nobody was going to complain about a second race in Italy. If you do not like motor racing in Italy you do not like motor racing.

Nothing is ever perfect these days, and the first thing was the banning of the Lotus 88 by an FIA Tribunal the previous week and Colin Chapman’s withdrawal of Team Lotus from the entry. Briefly, this came about from pressure from his “friends” and rivals in the other teams, over minute nit-picking on word definitions. When everyone presented themselves for the usual pre-practice scrutineering the Italian scrutineers said in so many words, “If you want to play silly b–s and nit-pick, all right” and they promptly disqualified all the cars except those of Renault, Talbot, and the new Toleman team. With Ferrari and Alfa Romeo thrown out the scrutineers could not be accused of being biased. The detail on which they caught everyone was that any specific part of the car influencing the aerodynamic performance of the car must remain immobile in relation to the vehicle. For a long time most designers have been using rubber sheet or plastic sheet to fill the gap between the bodywork and the rear wheels, or to form a rubbing strip on the bottom of the side-plates on nose fins, or as “trim” to the bottom edge of the side-pods. The chief scrutineer went round all the cars and tweaked these appendages between his finger and thumb and merely said “It moves”.

Race Results

Qualifying

Circuit - Imola

Country

Italy

Location

Imola, Emilia-Romagna

Type

Permanent road course

Length

3.132 (Miles)

Record

Damon Hill (Williams FW16-Renault), 1m24.335, 133.696 mph, F1, 1994

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