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The 1979 British Grand Prix, otherwise officially advertised as the XXXII Marlboro British Grand Prix, was the ninth round of the 1979 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Silverstone Circuit on the 14 July 1979.[1] The race would see Williams claim their first ever victory in F1, courtesy of the combined efforts of Clay Regazzoni and Alan Jones.[1]

It would be the latter who would start the race from pole, with Jones beating the flying Renault of Jean-Pierre Jabouille by half a second.[1] Regazzoni, meanwhile, would start the race from fourth alongside Nelson Piquet, while Championship leader Jody Scheckter would start down in eleventh.[1]

Jones duly aced the start to claim an early lead, leaving Jabouille to fend off the attentions of his teammate Regazzoni into the first corner.[1] Piquet led the rest of the field through ahead of his Brabham-Alfa Romeo teammate Niki Lauda, but would find himself pointing in the wrong direction and out of the race come the end of the opening tour.[1]

The top three quickly pulled away from Lauda during the early stages, who soon found himself fighting a losing battle with those behind.[1] Indeed, René Arnoux, Gilles Villeneuve and Scheckter would all barge their way past before the tenth tour, although they were all a long way behind the leaders.[1]

Indeed, the top three were setting a ferocious pace up front, as was shown when Jabouille had to abandon second place and pit for fresh Michelin tyres on lap seventeen.[1] Regazzoni was hence left to stare at the back of Jones' rear wing, having past Jabouille moments before the Frenchman's stop, although the Swiss ace did not attack his Australian teammate.[1]

The race soon settled after that point, with half-distance coming and going without any major revisions to the order.[1] Yet, on lap 38 disaster would strike for the dominant Jones, with the #27 Williams slowing dramatically halfway around the lap with a cooked Ford Cosworth engine.[1] Regazzoni was hence left on his own at the head of the field, with Arnoux beginning to make ground.[1]

Ultimately, however, there would be no battle for victory, for Regazzoni had enough in hand to claim victory by over twenty seconds come the chequered flag.[1] Arnoux duly finished second as the only man on the lead lap, while a late charge by Jean-Pierre Jarier carried him onto the podium, ahead of John Watson, Scheckter and Jacky Ickx.[1]

BackgroundEdit

The F1 circus of 1979 headed to the amble expanse of the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, UK, for the ninth round of the season, which remained unchanged from the series' last visit in 1977.[2] As such, all of the attention heading into the race was placed on the events of the previous race in France, with winners Renault being forced into proving that Jean-Pierre Jabouille's race winning engine had not been illegal.[2] There was also some minor fall-out over the last-lap battle for second during that race, which had been nothing short of spectacular, and several new cars set to debut.[2]

Unsporting Acts?Edit

The first issue concerning Jabouille's engine was to be solved in the week after the Grand Prix, with Renault taking immediate action to ensure that their twin turbocharged V6 engine was not immediately banned.[2] They duly dismantled Jabouille's race winning engine in front of the scrutineers to demonstrate that it was not a '2.1 litre Le Mans engine' as some theorised, and so the matter was dropped and allowed to fade.[2] Jabouille and teammate René Arnoux would hence arrive at Silverstone as the favourites given their dominant pace at Dijon, although that was to change after a pre-race test.[2]

Arnoux was also the subject of a paddock splitting discussion regarding the his and Gilles Villeneuve's wheel banging battle towards the end of the French Grand Prix, which had seen Villeneuve ultimately deny Arnoux second place.[2] Indeed, while their intense duel had been seen as a battle for the ages by the majority in the paddock, and personally enjoyed by both, there was a small faction led by Niki Lauda, John Watson and Jody Scheckter that believed that it had been too dangerous.[2][3] Lauda would unsuccessfully push for the two to be reprimanded by the Drivers' Safety Committee, with Arnoux replying:[2]

Maybe if this confrontation had occurred between you and Gilles, there could have been a serious accident, but I am convinced that you would have lifted your foot."

Fortunately the issue would not carry through to the British Grand Prix itself, with both F.O.C.A. and FISA remaining quiet on the topic.[2] Regardless, it became clear that there was a distinct divide between the drivers, with a "Stewartian" faction, led by Lauda, Scheckter and Watson, pushing for safety and evoking the crusade Jackie Stewart and the Grand Prix Drivers' Association from the earlier part of the decade.[3] This was countered by the "Petersonians" who thrived on racing wheel-to-wheel regardless of risk, and was particularly championed by the younger members of the field.[3]

Summer SolutionsEdit

Into the entry list for the British Grand Prix and Lauda and Brabham had been busy testing ahead of the latter's home race, with Lauda setting the second fastest time of the test with a 1:13.30.[2] As such both himself and teammate Nelson Piquet would arrive in a fairly happy mood, mechanically at least, with their BT48s arriving with new carbon brake discs.[2] There was, however, news of Brabham's BT48 successor, with Bernie Ecclestone declaring that the team would drop their Alfa Romeo F12 engines for a set of Ford Cosworth V8s for the 1980 campaign.[3]

The aforementioned tyre test, held by Goodyear as they sought to counter the ever improving products from Michelin, would instead be topped by Alan Jones, who broke the circuit record with a stunning effort of 1:12.99.[2] Indeed, the Williams squad were in buoyant mood ahead of their home race, with Jones and teammate Clay Regazzoni using their usual FW07s from the weekend before.[2] It therefore seemed to be between themselves and Renault as favourites for the weekend, with the Renault duo of Jabouille and Arnoux unchanged as well.[2]

Elsewhere, McLaren had rushed through their second new car of the season, handing Watson the new M29, which was a complete redesign compared to its predecessor.[2] Indeed, the new M29 borrowed many design elements from McLaren's rivals, most notably Ligier and Lotus, resulting in a lighter, shorter and smaller car than Patrick Tambay's M28C.[2] The new car also sported a heat exchanger rather than a radiator, buried deep within the right hand sidepod as a more effective way of cooling its oil supply, an innovation that had been developed by Williams.[2]

Another new design in the field appeared in the Wolf garage, with Keke Rosberg keen to try out a car that had not been tested before its debut weekend.[2] The WR9 was, in truth, simply an evolution of the season old WR8 that had convinced James Hunt to retire, and sported a re-sculpted rear-end, designed to reduce the amount of drag/turbulence generated at the back of the car.[2] Otherwise the car was unchanged from its predecessor, with Rosberg left to choose between it, WR8 and the even older WR7 across the weekend.[2]

Merzario, meanwhile, had also been busy developing a new ground-effect car, although Arturo Merzario had been limited by his meagre budget.[2] Indeed, the new Merzario A4 was little more than a revised version of the Kauhsen WK that had appeared earlier in the season, with Merzario's engineers having implemented various elements of their old A2 onto the design.[2] Regardless, Merzario would be satisfied with his new creation and duly entered it as his main car, with his old A2 listed as their sole spare.[2]

Elsewhere Lotus were desperately trying to find a solution to the porpoising issues that had plagued the Lotus 80, with the newest of Type 80s undergoing another re-design.[2] That meant that Mario Andretti would only have access to the original Type 80 at Silverstone, although he would ultimately decide to race his older Lotus 79 having decided that the Type 80 was not competitive enough.[2] For teammate Carlos Reutemann, however, it would be business as usual as he used his familiar Type 79, while privateer Héctor Rebaque continued to champion his privately entered example with hopes of making the grid.[2]

Tyrrell, meanwhile, had once again had to spend a non-racing weekend rebuilding one of their cars, with Didier Pironi getting a whole new front end on his 009, while Jean-Pierre Jarier's car remained untouched.[2] Ferrari, in contrast, would have very little to do during the two week break, and would only participate in a private test session for Michelin as they focused on building another new 312T4 to appease their opposed duo of Villeneuve and Scheckter.[2] Likewise, the Scuderia's main title rivals Ligier were unchanged ahead of the battle of Britain, with Jacques Laffite and Jacky Ickx hoping that the flat Silverstone circuit would suit their JS11s better that Dijon's undulating sweeps.[2]

Shadow were another team seemingly unchanged after the French Grand Prix, still fielding Jan Lammers and Elio de Angelis in-spite of their increasing lack of budget.[2] Arch-rivals Arrows, meanwhile, had been away analysing their performance following the debut of their new A2 at Dijon, although there would be no upgrades for their duo of Riccardo Patrese and Jochen Mass.[2] The Ensign and Fittipaldi were also unchanged, fielding Patrick Gaillard and Emerson Fittipaldi respectively, while ATS had resolved their differences with Goodyear well enough for Hans-Joachim Stuck to take part.[2]

Into the Championship and with all of the major players bar Villeneuve having failed to score in France there had been no real change at the top of the table. Indeed, only the aforementioned Villeneuve would gain ground, the Canadian ace having moved up into second, four behind teammate Scheckter at the head of the pack. Elsewhere, race winner Jabouille head leapt into the top ten after his victory, while his teammate Arnoux had ended the afternoon in thirteenth.

In the International Cup for Constructors it was Ferrari who arrived in the UK at the head of the pack, holding a fourteen point lead over Ligier-Ford Cosworth. Behind, Team Lotus-Ford Cosworth and Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth had held station in third and fourth, with both getting increasingly drawn in by the ever improving Williams-Ford Cosworth squad in fifth. Renault, meanwhile, had moved to within a point of fifth placed Williams, having become the tenth squad to register a points finish in 1979 after their home triumph.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1979 British Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entreat Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Martini Racing Team Lotus Lotus 79 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Martini Racing Team Lotus Lotus 79 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
3 France Didier Pironi United Kingdom Candy Tyrrell Team Tyrrell 009 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
4 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Candy Tyrrell Team Tyrrell 009 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT48 Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 G
6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT48 Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 G
7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M29 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
8 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M28C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck West Germany ATS Wheels ATS D2 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
11 South Africa Jody Scheckter Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T4 Ferrari 015 3.0 F12 M
12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T4 Ferrari 015 3.0 F12 M
14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi Automotive Fittipaldi F5A Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RS10 Renault EF1 1.5 V6t M
16 France René Arnoux France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RS10 Renault EF1 1.5 V6t M
17 Netherlands Jan Lammers United Kingdom Samson Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN9 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Interscope Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN9 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
20 Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Olympus Cameras Wolf Racing Wolf WR8 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
22 France Patrick Gaillard United Kingdom Team Ensign Ensign N179 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
24 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy Team Merzario Merzario A4 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
25 Belgium Jacky Ickx France Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS11 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS11 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Albilad-Saudia Racing Team Williams FW07 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Albilad-Saudia Racing Team Williams FW07 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Warsteiner Arrows Racing Team Arrows A2 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Warsteiner Arrows Racing Team Arrows A2 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
31 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Mexico Team Rebaque Lotus 79 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
Source:[4]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying returned to its pre-French Grand Prix format for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with two practice sessions followed by two quali-sessions.[2] Indeed, both the Thursday and Friday afternoon sessions would be used to set the grid, while the morning sessions on both days were left for race practice.[2] In terms of a target time the circuit record had been shattered by Alan Jones during the pre-race tyre test, with the Australian believing his new mark of 1:12.99 would be beaten during qualifying.[2]

Thursday QualifyingEdit

It would be a spectacular start to the weekend during Thursday morning's untimed practice session, with several high-speed incidents showing just how much the drivers were pushing.[2] Indeed, as Niki Lauda saw his Alfa Romeo engine expire in his mirrors, Jody Scheckter would go flying off the circuit backwards at Stowe, smashing his rear wing as he slid into the barriers.[2] He pulled away just in time to see Jones have an identical accident in the Williams, which also picked up rear damage, while John Watson sat out most of the session after an early engine failure.[2]

Into the opening qualifying session itself and it instantly became clear that Jones was the man to beat at Silverstone, in spite of the fact that he would complete the session in the spare Williams.[2] Within the opening half-hour of the session the Australian was threatening his circuit record setting mark, before dipping into the 1:12.00s before the halfway point.[2] Yet, he would not stop there, and duly blitzed one of his last laps of the day to record a 1:11.88, and literally find himself in a class of his own.[2]

Indeed, come the end of the session no-one bar Jones had threatened the 1:12.00s, let alone the 1:11.00s, with in-form Renault duo Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux his closest challengers.[2] Their efforts of 1:13.27 and 1:13.29 respectively saw them lead the "ace" section behind Jones, just ahead of Nelson Piquet and Lauda in the Brabhams.[2] The majority of the field then found itself in the 1:14.00s or slower, with the last driver in the 26 strong field, Arturo Merzario, almost eight seconds off of Jones' effort.[2]

Away from the outright performance and most of the drivers would encounter an issue or two during the session, although some were more serious than others.[2] Indeed, the Lotus seemed at a loss for why they were not challenging the "aces" ahead of them, with Carlos Reutemann out pacing World Champion teammate Mario Andretti by a fair margin.[2] Likewise, Ferrari were being made to look a shadow of their selves from earlier in the season, with the 312T4 really struggling at a circuit without a slow speed corner.[2]

Gaillard 1979 British Grand Prix

Patrick Gaillard would fight to make his Grand Prix debut with Ensign.

Elsewhere, Patrick Gaillard was just making the grade at the back of the field, the Frenchman's red Ensign ending the day just ahead of Jan Lammers and Merzario to occupy the final grid spot on the provisional list.[2] Clay Regazzoni, meanwhile, would have a strong run in the second Williams ended by a broken sideskirt, although he was safely in the top ten before his drama.[2] Keke Rosberg was another driver to get himself up the order in-spite of a large amount of lost time, courtesy of some new-car-niggles for the new Wolf, while Jacques Laffite spent the afternoon swapping between his two Ligiers.[2]

Friday QualifyingEdit

Friday morning would see the temperatures rise due to a change in wind direction, with fears that this would deny any improvement enhanced as most of the field failed to match their pace from Thursday.[2] Indeed, Williams would end the session with enough concern about the temperature change the they made some setup changes, opting to swap their aluminium radiators for some more efficient brass ones, at the cost of some added weight.[2] Elsewhere, Andretti tried out the Lotus 80, but was still unhappy, Scheckter destroyed his engine, and both Alfa Romeo engines in the Brabhams were springing oil leaks for no rhyme or reason.[2]

Into the second and final qualifying session and it was Jones who again ended the session as the fastest driver, despite failing to match his effort from Thursday.[2] Indeed, the Australian ace would end the session with a 1:12.13, ensuring that there would be no protest about a change of car, with the added weight of the brass radiators having no negative impacts according to Jones.[2] His pace was backed by teammate Regazzoni, although the Swiss ace was still a second off Jones' Friday best come the end of the session.[2]

That fact ensured that Williams would be denied their first ever front row lockout, with two drivers managing to get in-between the #27 and #28 cars.[2] The first of these would be Jabouille in his Renault, having been only the second driver to break into the 1:12.00s all weekend, and would duly end the session with a 1:12.48.[2] He was to be joined by Piquet in third as the Brazilian quietly went about things, although whether the #6 Brabham could have beaten the Renault became academic when the exhaust system failed.[2]

Elsewhere, the session would be briefly paused when Riccardo Patrese flew into the fences at Becketts, resulting in some bodywork damage to the one race old Arrows.[2] Rosberg, meanwhile, would be forced to switch to the spare Wolf after the new version suffered an electrical failure, while Gilles Villeneuve arrived in the Ferrari pits unannounced, only to find that his pit crew had been moved to service teammate Scheckter's car.[2] Indeed, it was only when a Michelin engineer went to speak with him that Villeneuve was able to receive some attention, causing more speculation about the level of harmony at the Scuderia.[2]

At the back of the field, meanwhile, there would be a late rush to qualify between Gaillard, Héctor Rebaque and Hans-Joachim Stuck, with Merzario a long way off the pace.[2] Indeed, the trio, knowing that one of them would miss out, exchanged a series of times in the 1:17.00s, with a late flurry between the trio ending with Stuck as the man to miss out.[2] With that the grid for the 1979 British Grand Prix was set, with five and a half seconds separating Jones on pole and Rebaque in twenty-fourth.[2]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1979 British Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2
1 27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:11.88T 1:12.13T
2 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 1:13.27 1:12.48 +0.60s
3 6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:13.47 1:12.65 +0.77s
4 28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:14.32 1:13.11 +1.23s
5 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 1:13.29 1:13.67 +1.41s
6 5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:13.92T 1:13.44T +1.56s
7 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:14.45 1:13.57 +1.69s
8 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:14.07 1:13.57 +1.99s
9 1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:14.64 1:14.20 +2.32s
10 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 1:15.04T 1:14.37T +2.49s
11 11 South Africa Jody Scheckter Italy Ferrari 1:15.30T 1:14.60 +2.72s
12 18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:15.82 1:14.87 +2.99s
13 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 1:14.90 1:14.92T +3.02s
14 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 1:15.35T 1:14.96T +3.08s
15 3 France Didier Pironi United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:16.31 1:15.28 +3.40s
16 4 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:15.63 1:16.19 +3.75s
17 25 Belgium Jacky Ickx France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 1:16.76 1:15.63 +3.75s
18 8 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:16.23 1:15.67 +3.79s
19 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:15.83 1:15.77T +3.89s
20 30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:16.48 1:16.19 +4.31s
21 17 Netherlands Jan Lammers United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:19.22 1:16.66T +4.78s
22 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:17.68 1:16.68 +4.80s
23 22 France Patrick Gaillard United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:19.18 1:17.07 +5.19s
24 31 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Mexico Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:17.32 1:17.62 +5.44s
DNQ 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth 1:17.44 1:17.99 +5.56s
DNQ 24 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy Merzario-Ford Cosworth 1:19.57T 1:23.61T +7.69s
Source:[2][5]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 ______________ 1
2 Alan Jones
Jean-Pierre Jabouille ______________
Row 2 ______________ 3
4 Nelson Piquet
Clay Regazzoni ______________
Row 3 ______________ 5
6 René Arnoux
Niki Lauda ______________
Row 4 ______________ 7
8 John Watson
Carlos Reutemann ______________
Row 5 ______________ 9
10 Mario Andretti
Jacques Laffite ______________
Row 6 ______________ 11
12 Jody Scheckter
Elio de Angelis ______________
Row 7 ______________ 13
14 Gilles Villeneuve
Keke Rosberg ______________
Row 8 ______________ 15
16 Didier Pironi
Jean-Pierre Jarier ______________
Row 9 ______________ 17
18 Jacky Ickx
Patrick Tambay ______________
Row 10 ______________ 19
20 Riccardo Patrese*
Jochen Mass ______________
Row 11 ______________ 21
22 Jan Lammers
Emerson Fittipaldi ______________
Row 12 ______________ 23
24 Patrick Gaillard
Héctor Rebaque ______________
  • * Patrese would start the race from the pitlane.[5]

RaceEdit

Raceday dawned bright, warm and with clear skies, with no threat of rain to spoil one of the biggest days on the racing calendar.[2] Indeed, a 100,000 strong crowd would gather throughout a busy morning at Silverstone, with a support package featuring the British Saloon Car Championship, Formula Three and a vintage F1 race.[2] In between those races would be the familiar warm-up session, although the half-hour test session would prove troublesome for some of the major contenders.[2]

Warm-upEdit

Indeed, while pre-race favourite Alan Jones bedded in his new Ford Cosworth engine, his major rivals would hit trouble to disrupt their preparations.[2] Indeed, Jean-Pierre Jabouille would fail to get out at all due to a gearbox failure, while Keke Rosberg had to abandon the new Wolf and switch to the spare.[2] Another casualty proved to be Patrick Gaillard, whose car had to be dragged back to the pits with a dead engine, although Hans-Joachim Stuck's hopes of inheriting the Frenchman's place on the grid were dashed when Ensign managed to swap out the ruined unit for a spare.[2]

After that, Jones would lead the field around onto the grid ahead of the 3:00pm start time, with all 24 qualifiers, bar Riccardo Patrese, completing the formation lap.[2]

ReportEdit

The was the briefest of pauses before the starters lights flashed to green, with Clay Regazzoni's white Williams making a stunning start from fourth.[2] Indeed, the Swiss ace's getaway was so rapid that he accidentally ran teammate Jones wide through Copse, although the Australian was able to slot back in ahead of third placed Jean-Pierre Jabouille.[2] The rest of the field charged in behind them led by Nelson Piquet, with no clashes or incidents of note in-spite of the close proximity.[2]

It proved to be a thrilling opening lap around Silverstone, with Regazzoni holding onto his lead until the top trio hit the hanger straight for the first time.[6] Indeed, as he led the charge towards Stowe Jabouille would get a terrific double slipstream from the two Williams ahead of him, and duly pulled alongside the Swiss racer on the approach to the right hander.[6] Jones, meanwhile, would also manage to draft alongside his teammate ahead of the braking zone for Stowe, with Regazzoni left sandwiched in between.[6]

Regazzoni would hit the brakes first and bail out of the battle, allowed Jabouille to sweep across his nose, only to find that Jones' Williams was still inside.[6] Jones hence claimed the lead as Jabouille had to open his steering, briefly giving Regazzoni a chance of re-passing on the exit.[6] Yet, the Renault V6t would have enough grunt to pull away, leaving Regazzoni to defend from Piquet towards the end of the lap.[6]

Regazzoni 1979 British Grand Prix

Clay Regazzoni would, almost inadvertently, lead the opening half lap of race.

Come the end of the opening tour Jones had established a small lead, although Jabouille was close enough to keep the Australian glancing in his mirrors.[2] Regazzoni was next having fended off a look from Piquet through the Woodcote chicane, with the Brazilian's teammate Niki Lauda watching on in fifth.[6] He was being chased by a fast starting Mario Andretti, who had crept forward on the grid, while René Arnoux led the rest of the field across the line.[2]

The race was not about to settle down however, with Piquet quickly disappearing when harassing Regazzoni through Woodcote on lap two.[2] That gifted fourth to Lauda, although the Austrian ace was already falling away from the leaders, and holding up a huge gaggle of cars behind.[2] Indeed, Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve would quickly pick their way through Lauda's train to harass the Austrian by the end of lap three, and would both blast clear of the #5 Brabham-Alfa Romeo before the end of lap five.[2]

After that the race would begin to settle into some form of rhythm, with Andretti becoming an early casualty with a failed wheel bearing.[2] Out front, meanwhile, Jones would steadily ease away from Jabouille, who was already regretting his choice of Michelin compound and found that he was already losing grip.[2] Regazzoni was a secure third, pacing himself against Jabouille, while Arnoux had the two Ferraris of Villeneuve and Scheckter slithering about in his mirrors as both lacked grip.[2]

At one quarter distance the race seemed to be all but over, for Jabouille would fall behind Regazzoni as his tyres faded, and duly opted to sweep into the pits for a fresh set at the end of lap seventeen.[2] Unfortunately his race was to be ruined by said stop, with an airline for the wheel gun getting tangled in the nose section of the Renault as Jabouille roared away, shredding the front bodywork.[2] The Frenchman returned at the end of the following lap for repairs, although he ultimately spent so long sitting with the engine running that his twin-turbochargers burned themselves out, ending his race.[2]

Ickx 1979 British Grand Prix

Jacky Ickx used his experience to move up the order, eventually inheriting a points finish late on.

With that the two Williams were able to ease off, with Jones keeping his revs low, while Regazzoni kept an eye on his mirrors in case he had to fend off a charge from Arnoux.[2] Elsewhere the two Ferraris swapped places, Scheckter moving ahead of Villeneuve, while Lauda had given up hope of making it to the finish, his carbon brakes simply unable to slow the car.[2] In contrast, John Watson was running surprisingly well with the new McLaren, up in seventh after the early exchanges, although he was soon relegated to the back of the field after picking up a puncture.[2] That put Jacky Ickx and Jean-Pierre Jarier into the top ten, although they were one of a number of drivers already a lap behind the flying Jones out front.[2]

Half-distance came and went without incident, with no signs that Jones' dominant run was going to come to an end any time soon.[2] Regazzoni was steadily inching towards his teammate, and dropping Arnoux at a far greater rate, while Jacques Laffite had caught the two Ferraris, and soon elbowed his way past Villeneuve.[2] Indeed, a huge cheer would greet his second move on Scheckter a couple of laps later, just as Carlos Reutemann came into the pits with a shredded sideskirt.[2]

However, as the British fans cheered the sight of a Ferrari being passed those who supported Williams were about to have their hearts broken, for Jones' car was to appear at Woodcote at the end of lap 39 billowing smoke and steam.[2] Indeed, a water pump failure had allowed his Cosworth engine to cook itself in a matter of seconds, with Jones coasting to a stop in his pit box.[2] Regazzoni duly swept through to inherit his teammate's lead, with Williams immediately signalling to the Swiss racer to nurse his car.[2]

As the Williams crew consoled Jones on what should have been a dominant victory, Laffite saw his recently inherited third place evaporate, his Cosworth unit having decided to cannibalise itself a few laps later.[2] Keke Rosberg would disappear at the same time as his fuel system failed, leaving just four cars on the lead lap.[2] That soon became three when Villeneuve disappeared into the pits for a fresh set of Michelins, rejoining behind Jarier in fifth, only to have his race ended two laps later when his Ferrari F12 developed a vapour lock.[2]

Jarier 1979 British Grand Prix

Jean-Pierre Jarier enjoyed a late move on Jody Scheckter to claim third.

Indeed, all eyes would be on Jarier in the closing stages, for the Frenchman was among the faster cars on track, and was steadily closing in on Scheckter.[2] Furthermore, the Tyrrell was also dragging Watson's McLaren along with it, with both dramatically closing on the sole-surviving Ferrari as it wore through the last of its tyres.[2] They ultimately managed to catch the #11 a couple of laps after Regazzoni put the South African a lap down, with a huge cheer erupting when the Tyrrell of Jarier bumped Scheckter off the podium.[2]

With that the race was done, with Regazzoni cruising home to claim his fifth victory, and the first for Williams, much to the joy of the British crowd.[2] Arnoux was a distant second, the only man on the lead lap, while Jarier was a content third given Tyrrell's lack of pace earlier in the weekend.[2] Watson was next having swept past Scheckter on the final lap, while Ickx inherited the final point after Patrick Tambay ran out of fuel on the penultimate tour.[2]

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1979 British Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 68 1:26:11.17 4 9
2 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 68 +24.28s 5 6
3 4 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 67 +1 Lap 16 4
4 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 67 +1 Lap 7 3
5 11 South Africa Jody Scheckter Italy Ferrari 67 +1 Lap 11 2
6 25 Belgium Jacky Ickx France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 67 +1 Lap 17 1
7* 8 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 66 Out of fuel 18
8 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 66 +2 Laps 8
9 31 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Mexico Lotus-Ford Cosworth 66 +2 Laps 24
10 3 France Didier Pironi United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 66 +2 Laps 15
11 17 Netherlands Jan Lammers United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 65 +3 Laps 21
12 18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 65 +3 Laps 12
13 22 France Patrick Gaillard United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 65 +3 Laps 23
14* 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 63 Fuel system 13
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 45 Gearbox 19
Ret 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 44 Engine 10
Ret 20T Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 44 Fuel system 14
Ret 27T Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 38 Water pump 1
Ret 30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 37 Gearbox 20
Ret 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 25 Engine 22
Ret 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 21 Turbo 2
Ret 5T Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 12 Brakes 6
Ret 1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 3 Wheel 9
Ret 6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1 Spin 3
DNQ 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 24 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy Merzario-Ford Cosworth
Source:[7]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
  • * Tambay and Villeneuve would both still be classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.[7]
  • de Angelis was handed a one minute time-penalty for jumping the start.[2]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Victory for Clay Regazzoni would propel the Swiss ace into the middle of the top ten, moving into sixth ahead of defending Champion Mario Andretti. At the top of the standings, meanwhile, there had been very little change, although Championship leader Jody Scheckter had extended his lead to six points as his closest challengers failed to score. Ergo, Gilles Villeneuve remained in second ahead of Jacques Laffite, while Patrick Depailler remained ahead of Carlos Reutemann.

In the International Cup for Constructors it was another profitable day for Ferrari, with the Italian aces leaving the UK with a fifteen point lead over Ligier-Ford Cosworth. The French squad were in a secure second, largely due to Lotus-Ford Cosworth's dramatic loss of form, while victory had propelled Williams-Ford Cosworth into fourth ahead of Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth. Renault, meanwhile, would slip to sixth, while McLaren-Ford Cosworth finally broke into double figures after their miserable campaign.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 South Africa Jody Scheckter 32 (36)
2 Canada Gilles Villeneuve 26
3 France Jacques Laffite 24
4 France Patrick Depailler 20 (22)
5 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 20 (25)
6 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 16 ▲5
7 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 13 ▲1
8 United States Mario Andretti 12 ▼2
9 United Kingdom John Watson 11 ▲1
10 France René Arnoux 10 ▲3
11 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille 9 ▼4
12 France Didier Pironi 8 ▼3
13 Australia Alan Jones 7 ▼1
14 Italy Riccardo Patrese 2
15 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 1
16 West Germany Jochen Mass 1
17 Austria Niki Lauda 1
18 Belgium Jacky Ickx 1 ▲9
International Cup for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 62
2 France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 47
3 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 37
4 United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 23 ▲1
5 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 21 ▼1
6 France Renault 19
7 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 11
8 United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 3
9 United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1
10 Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1

Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 'British GP, 1979', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr322.html, (Accessed 28/12/2018)
  2. 2.000 2.001 2.002 2.003 2.004 2.005 2.006 2.007 2.008 2.009 2.010 2.011 2.012 2.013 2.014 2.015 2.016 2.017 2.018 2.019 2.020 2.021 2.022 2.023 2.024 2.025 2.026 2.027 2.028 2.029 2.030 2.031 2.032 2.033 2.034 2.035 2.036 2.037 2.038 2.039 2.040 2.041 2.042 2.043 2.044 2.045 2.046 2.047 2.048 2.049 2.050 2.051 2.052 2.053 2.054 2.055 2.056 2.057 2.058 2.059 2.060 2.061 2.062 2.063 2.064 2.065 2.066 2.067 2.068 2.069 2.070 2.071 2.072 2.073 2.074 2.075 2.076 2.077 2.078 2.079 2.080 2.081 2.082 2.083 2.084 2.085 2.086 2.087 2.088 2.089 2.090 2.091 2.092 2.093 2.094 2.095 2.096 2.097 2.098 2.099 2.100 2.101 2.102 2.103 2.104 2.105 2.106 2.107 D.S.J., 'The British Grand Prix: Williams all the way', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/08/1979), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-1979/33/british-grand-prix, (Accessed 28/12/2018)
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 9. Britain 1979', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/grande-bretagne.aspx, (Accessed 28/12/2018)
  4. 'France 1979: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/france/engages.aspx, (Accessed 24/12/2018)
  5. 5.0 5.1 'Britain 1979: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/grande-bretagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 28/12/2018)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 The Fastlane, 'F1 1979 - Race 9 - British Grand Prix [Live] (50fps Remaster)', youtube.com, (YouTube, 27/03/2016), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkkAqFB78M, (Accessed 29/12/2018)
  7. 7.0 7.1 'Britain 1979: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/grande-bretagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 28/12/2018)
  8. 8.0 8.1 '1979 British GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1979&gp=British%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 28/12/2018)
V T E 1979 Formula One Season
Teams Alfa Romeo • Arrows • ATS • Brabham • Ensign • Ferrari • Fittipaldi • Kauhsen • Ligier • Lotus • McLaren • Merzario • Rebaque • Renault • Shadow • Tyrrell • Williams • Wolf
Engines Alfa Romeo • Ferrari • Ford Cosworth • Renault
Drivers Andretti • de Angelis • Arnoux • Brambilla • Brancatelli • Daly • Depailler • Fittipaldi • Gaillard • Giacomelli • Hunt • Ickx • Jabouille • Jarier • Jones • Laffite • Lammers • Lauda • Lees • Mass • Merzario • Patrese • Piquet • Pironi • Rebaque • Regazzoni • Reutemann • Ribeiro • Rosberg • Scheckter • Stuck • Surer • Tambay • Villeneuve • Watson • Zunino
Cars Alfa Romeo 177 • Alfa Romeo 179 • Arrows A1 • Arrows A2 • ATS D2 • ATS D3 • Brabham BT46 • Brabham BT48 • Brabham BT49 • Ensign N177 • Ensign N179 • Ferrari 312T3 • Ferrari 312T4 • Fittipaldi F5A • Fittipaldi F6 • Fittipaldi F6A • Kauhsen WK • Ligier JS11 • Lotus 79 • Lotus 80 • McLaren M26 • McLaren M28 • McLaren M28B • McLaren M28C • McLaren M29 • Merzario A1B • Merzario A2 • Merzario A4 • Rebaque HR100 • Renault RS01 • Renault RS10 • Shadow DN9 • Tyrrell 009 • Williams FW06 • Williams FW07 • Wolf WR7 • Wolf WR8 • Wolf WR9
Tyres Goodyear • Michelin
Races Argentina • Brazil • South Africa • United States West • Spain • Belgium • Monaco • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Netherlands • Italy • Canada • United States
Non-championship Races Race of Champions • Dino Ferrari
See also 1978 Formula One Season • 1980 Formula One Season • Category
V T E United Kingdom British Grand Prix
Circuits Brooklands (1926 - 1927), Silverstone (1948 - Present), Aintree (1955 - 1962), Brands Hatch (1963 - 1986)
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