1981: NELSON PIQUET

Model produced by: Paul’s Model Art (Minichamps)

Year: 1981
Driver: Nelson Piquet (Brazil)
Team: Brabham Ford
Car: Brabham BT49C
Results: 3 wins, 7 podiums, 4 poles, 1 fastest lap

In 81 FIA decided to ban side-skirts, introducing a new rule: cars should have a minimum of 60 mm ground distance. But team Brabham, with designer Gordon Murray, immediately created a hydropneumatic suspension that adjust the car to be grazing the ground when speeding, but not when the car were in slow speed or parked. So, all the teams adopted the idea, that was legalized in San Marino GP. The season saw 7 different race winners (Jones, Reutemann, Piquet, Villeneuve, rising new star Prost, Watson and Laffite) and in the last race of the season only three of them were left: Reutemann (Williams), Piquet (Brabham) and Laffite (Ligier). Only Reutemann could afford to be more conservative, as he should be fourth in case of Laffite wins, but should finish in front of Piquet. In the practices he was on pole, with Piquet in 4th and Laffite 12th. At the start, Jones took the lead. Reutemann seemed to be controlling the race running in 4th, but suddenly lost his position to Mansell. Then Piquet, who avoid a collision with him in the first corner, overtook him for fifth place, as did Laffite. Reutemann finished seventh apparently struggling with his car. Piquet took his first driver’s title by one point, but Williams took the constructors’ championship.

See the season highlights

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