1981

Villeneuve driving the Ferrari, 1981

 After 1980’s total fiasco and Jody Scheckter’s departure, reaction was the word at Maranello’s headquarters. And the promising French Didier Pironi was drafted to partner Gilles Villeneuve – in theory, to help the Canadian to fulfil his promise and bring the team back to the top. If the turbo engines proved to be more than a match for the aspirated counterparts, then, the venerable 12cyl boxer could finally rest in peace.

The then new 126CK proved fragile and had a quite poor aerodynamic efficiency. The V6 turbo was also brutal – too much power, but hardly on the right time. Villeneuve was quoted to saying that its handling was similar to a truck. And by the Canadian hands, it even won two GPs, Monaco and Spain, but that was 100% drivers merit. The fifth place on Constructors Championship was way less than Ferrari could expect – better things should come in 1982, but that wasn’t to be. Once more, the DFVs had the better, this time with a young Brazilian called Nelson Piquet, who would show more of his talent way ahead.

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