F1 Las Vegas decided 2 titles: Piquet and Rosberg triumphs. Italy, first Alboreto victory

F1 has competed twice in Nevada, always awarding championships. The 1981 turnaround was incredible, while the following year the Finn thrillingly triumphed in the race won by the Milanese, the first success of his career

Federico Mariani

Probably, at the beginning of the season, the fans of F1 80s will have been excited at the idea of ​​finding again Las Vegas. The third to last stage of the World Championship attracted champions such as Nelson Piquet And Keke Rosberg and missing stars, starting from Carlos Reutemann. All protagonists in the epic finales of 1981 he was born in 1982, the Nevada city’s first and so far only appearances in the Circus. Without forgetting another peculiarity: the titles were awarded on Saturday, exactly like in this season, dominated by Max Verstappen. The superiority of the Dutch over Red Bull will make the Las Vegas stage irrelevant for the first time in the world championship contention, without diluting the memory of two epic sprints.


Three drivers enclosed in six points: this was the scenario on the eve of Las Vegas GP 1981. In front of everyone, at 49, the Argentine Reutemann is up Williamsfollowed within one by Piquet, Brazilian from Brabham, with the Frenchman from Ligier, Jacques Laffite, in the role of the third wheel. The nightmare of a comeback didn’t seem to concern the leader who took pole. The October 17instead, a crazy race took place, won by the “wrong” Williams, that of Alan Jones. Reutemann, on the contrary, went into crisis, finishing eighth. To secure the title, however, Piquet, himself in difficulty, would have had to hope for Laffite’s failure to win. The combination was achieved perfectly: after a good comeback, the Ligier went into tire trouble and finished in sixth position. With the two points of fifth place, Nelson beat Reutemann, 50 to 49, to win the title.


Carlos’ crisis was as clear as it was suspicious. Reutmann himself confessed to his daughter that he suspected sabotage had been carried out during the night between qualifying and the race to ruin the set-up on his Williams. And in fact there was external interference. A few months ago, Bernie Ecclestone, Piquet’s Brabham team manager at the time, declared that he had bribed Carlos’ masseur. The Argentine, weakened by the heat and unnerved by the tension, collapsed and ended up outside the points.

first time

The edition is no less surprising 1982. In Las Vegas, the sixteenth round of the world championship, it was Keke Rosberg to present themselves as world championship leader with 42 points. The problem didn’t come so much from the first pursuer: in fact the unlucky driver Ferrari Didier Pironi, being injured, would not have recovered the three-point deficit. For the Williams Finn the dangers came from John Watson: nine points away, he could have won the title with a success combined with a “zero” from the leader. Despite the poor qualifications, on September 25, the pilot McLaren he started a great comeback, which took him to second place, behind Michele Alboreto. Rosberg finished in fifth place. A retirement and a simultaneous victory could have changed everything, but the turnaround did not occur, giving Alboreto the first success of his career and Keke the world title.