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The XVIII Grand Prix du Canada, otherwise known as the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix, was the fourteenth and penultimate round of the 1979 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit Île Notre-Dame on the 30 September 1979.[1] The race would be fondly remembered for a race long duel for victory between Alan Jones and Gilles Villeneuve, which helped overshadow Niki Lauda's decision to retire from racing during practice.[1]

Lauda's decision came just ahead of the opening qualifying session of the weekend, with the Austrian's seat being hurriedly filled by Ricardo Zunino.[1] Zunino duly qualified at the back of the field having never driven a F1 car before, as Jones and Villeneuve duelled for pole, the Australian ultimately emerging ahead by two thirds of a second.[1]

However, having lost out in the battle for pole Villeneuve was not in the mood to be beaten in the fight for victory, and duly sprinted ahead of Jones at the start.[1] The Australian ace duly slotted into second behind the Ferrari, with teammate Clay Regazzoni leading the rest of the field through from third.[1]

The top duo would soon disappear at the head of the field, with Jones content to simply shadow Villeneuve in the early stages.[1] That left Regazzoni to fend off Nelson Piquet for the final spot on the podium, with the Brazilian ultimately nudging his way past in the opening stages.[1]

Out front, meanwhile, Jones would wait until he and Villeneuve had built a ten second gap to Piquet before challenging for the lead.[1] Indeed, the Australian would send feint after feint at the Canadian in an attempt to force Villeneuve into a mistake, although Villeneuve was not taking any of Jones' bait.[1]

That, ultimately, resulted in Jones getting more aggressive, with the Australian duly sending a late lunge inside the Ferrari at the hairpin on lap 50.[1] The two would bang wheels through until the exit of the hairpin, with Jones eventually managing to ease ahead down the start/finish straight.[1]

Villeneuve tried to get back ahead immediately, but found that Jones was going to be even more forceful defensively.[1] Yet, the Canadian would continue to harass the Williams until the pair came to the chequered flag, with Jones winning by little more than a second.[1] Third would go to Regazzoni after Piquet's race was ruined by a gearbox failure, with World Champion Jody Scheckter, Didier Pironi and John Watson completing the points.[1]

Background

The class of 1979 headed to the city of Montreal, Quebec and the Circuit Île Notre-Dame for the penultimate round of the season, with the Canadian and US Grand Prix switching places.[2] The circuit itself had been re-profiled slightly around the ess-bends, making them shorter, faster and narrower, a combination with would likely guarantee excitement through either spectacular driving or spectacular accidents.[2] However, most of the pre-race news was to be dominated by political machinations, all down to the fact that the little Canadian street circuit could only have 28 cars on it at any one time.[2]

Indignant Indecision

Ultimately an inflated entry list was submitted for the Canadian Grand Prix, with Alfa Romeo, Tyrrell and Fittipaldi all entering one or more cars than had been expected.[2] Indeed, the Alfa squad had not been expected at all, only to arrive with two 179s for Vittorio Brambilla and Bruno Giacomelli, while Tyrrell and Fittipaldi had both opted to test drivers for 1980, and hence handed Derek Daly and Alex Ribeiro their respective spare cars.[2] The organisers therefore made a late call to hold a pre-qualification session to remove two of the drivers from practice, bringing the entry down the maximum 28.[2]

It was at this point that FOCA leapt into the fight, stating that Daly and Ribeiro should be given automatic places in qualifying, as they were considered full FOCA members, with the Canadian Grand Prix holding a FOCA contract.[2][3] Indeed, their hopes of making it through pre-qualification were very slim, for the two Alfa Romeos had superior power and had easily qualified at the previous round in Italy.[2] Upon hearing this the organisers cancelled the session a few minutes before it was set to begin, and duly put Ribeiro and Daly into the proper practice session.[2]

Upon finding that the session was cancelled and that their cars were not to run at all, Alfa Romeo appealed to FISA, who with the backing of Ferrari and Renault forced FOCA into a series of meetings as the first practice session began.[2] Talks between the two would carry on through to Friday evening, with Alfa eventually given one slot in the official practice session on Saturday.[2] The Italian squad opted to let Brambilla drive at the expense of Giacomelli, although the Italian would remain in the paddock as their reserve.[2]

It was unclear what other compromises had been made during the discussions, while Daly and Ribeiro retained their right to qualify.[2]

Laudian Lamentations

Elsewhere FOCA boss Bernie Ecclestone was having to deal with troubles within his own team, for the team had far from sorted their drivers for the 1980 season, in spite of the fact that Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet had both signed contracts.[2] It was Lauda that was the issue, for the Austrian had lost the will to drive a Formula One car, and duly made his thoughts clear during the opening practice session.[2] Indeed, after just a few minutes of the session gone Lauda spoke with Ecclestone on the pit wall, told him of his loss of heart, with Ecclestone duly agreeing to terminate his contract on the spot.[2]

It was a stunning turn of events, for Lauda had won the non-Championship 1979 Dino Ferrari Grand Prix in the weeks since the Italian Grand Prix, and yet he was seen walking out of the paddock barely a few minutes into a race weekend.[2] Ecclestone, for his part, told the journalists that the Austrian was unwell, although a statement from Lauda, who had not been to the Brabham factory at all during the development of their latest creation, the BT49, revealing the reason for his departure.[2] Some what ironically the new BT49 was a Ford Cosworth engined car, replacing the team's new-for-1979 Alfa Romeo engined BT48s, so Lauda's withdrawal meant that a spot in the field had opened up for the recently "excluded" factory Alfa squad.[2]

Miraculously, however, Lauda's seat would be filled before the engine had even cooled, with a spectating Ricardo Zunino agreeing to take over the #5 entry for the rest of the season.[2] The Argentine racer, who had been competing in the Aurora AFX F1 Championship, had only headed to Argentina in hopes of getting a test at the end of the season, and so it came as something of a shock when the Argentine was sent out towards the end of the opening practice session to join Piquet, using Lauda's helmet and overalls.[2]

Established Entries

Away from the Brabham/Ecclestone/Lauda sagas and the entry list, barring the additional entries from Tyrrell and Fittipaldi, read much as it had in Monza.[2] Indeed, Tyrrell's decision to run Daly swelled their entry to three 009s, with the two familiar faces of Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jarier running as usual.[2] Likewise, Fittipaldi's regular runner Emerson Fittipaldi would race as usual, using a new F6A, while Ribeiro was handed the Brazilian veteran's old car for his F1 return.[2]

Elsewhere, newly crowned Champions Ferrari arrived unchanged, with Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve cleared to race each other now that Scheckter had secured the title.[2] Likewise, Williams landed in Montreal with no changes for their duo of Alan Jones and Clay Regazzoni, although there were suggestions that the ever popular "Regga" would be replaced at the end of the season.[2][3] The man most likely to take his place was to be found at Lotus, with Carlos Reutemann set to leave the Norfolk squad regardless of whether the Canadian Grand Prix brought himself or Mario Andretti better fortune with their Lotus 79s.[2][3]

There were no modifications made to the Ligier line-up, with Jacques Laffite and Jacky Ickx racing as usual.[2] McLaren had also lacked the need to modify their duo of John Watson and Patrick Tambay, although they did manage to complete a third M29 in time to be shipped across the Atlantic for the weekend.[2] Renault's duo of Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux, would also have a new toy to play with, a fourth RS10, although they were confident that their V6t engine would once again dictate the pace at the head of the field.[2]

Home heroes Wolf arrived with their future looking far from secure, with Keke Rosberg looking at other teams, while Walter Wolf looked decidedly un-interested in the whole F1 idea since his team's plummet to the back of the field.[2] ATS, in contrast, came to Canada in a buoyant mood, with Hans-Joachim Stuck very impressed with their latest creation, the ATS D3, although with no spare car available the German had to be careful.[2] Another team in financial strife were Shadow, with Jan Lammers and Elio de Angelis known to be looking for other drives for the 1980 campaign, while rivals Arrows were confident that they would retain their duo of Jochen Mass and Riccardo Patrese.[2] Completing the entry would be Arturo Merzario and his yellow A4, and the brown Rebaque of Héctor Rebaque.[2]

Into the Championship and victory in Italy, combined with the rather bizarre scoring system, meant that Scheckter had been declared as World Champion with two races to spare, despite only being thirteen points clear of Villeneuve. The reason for that was because the dropped score rule meant that Villeneuve could not record more than twelve points, with the same issue preventing Laffite and Jones from challenging the South African for the crown. They would instead spend the rest of the season fighting for second, with Regazzoni also still in that fight.

Unlike their driver Scheckter, Ferrari had been declared as International Cup for Constructors Champions in less acrimonious circumstances on home turf, for they ended the weekend with a 33 point lead, with just 32 available for their rivals. Indeed, Williams-Ford Cosworth had finally climbed into second as they slipped out of the title fight, and were now left to hold onto said position for the rest of the season. The British squad ended the weekend a point clear of Ligier-Ford Cosworth, with a huge gap back to out-going Champions Team Lotus-Ford Cosworth in fourth.

Entry list

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

No. Driver Entrant 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* Argentina Ricardo Zunino United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT48 Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 G
Austria Niki Lauda
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 M29 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck West Germany ATS Wheels ATS D3 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 F6A 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 DN9B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Interscope Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN9B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
19 Brazil Alex Ribeiro Brazil Fittipaldi Automotive Fittipaldi F6A Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
20 Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Olympus Cameras Wolf Racing Wolf WR9 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
22 Switzerland Marc Surer 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 A1B 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 Rebaque HR100 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
33 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom Candy Tyrrell Team Tyrrell 009 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
35 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Autodelta Alfa Romeo 179 Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 G
36 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Italy Autodelta Alfa Romeo 179 Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 G
Source:[4]
  • * Lauda was originally entered by Brabham, but decided to retire midway through the weekend.[1]

Practice Overview

Qualifying

Practice/qualifying would see the now standard format established on F1's last visit to North America in action, with four sessions across Friday and Saturday given over to preparing for the race on Sunday.[2] Of these the sessions on both afternoons would be used to set the grid, leaving the morning sessions to allow teams to experiment with their race setups.[2] In terms of a target time the circuit record of 1:38.015, set by Jean-Pierre Jarier at the end of the 1978 campaign, was set to fall by a significant margin after the revisions to the back of the circuit.[2]

Friday Qualifying

The opening practice session of the weekend would be dominated by the events off circuit regarding Alfa Romeo and Niki Lauda, although it did hint at what was to come later in the day.[2] Indeed, it quickly became clear that the class of the field would be Ferrari and Williams, while Renault were struggling due to the stop-start nature of the circuit.[2] Indeed, the French squad were one of a number to struggle with their brakes during the session, which resulted in various cooling solutions appearing throughout the field.[2]

Into the qualifying session and the two Alfas would still be sat in the pit lane, although neither Bruno Giacomelli nor Vittorio Brambilla would climb in them.[2] At Brabham, meanwhile, Ricardo Zunino borrowed Lauda's helmet, overalls and recently abandoned BT49, heading out early on to gain experience of his new car.[2] Further confusing things at Brabham was the fact that Nelson Piquet was using a new helmet design which was very familiar to Lauda's, although the Brazilian racer was at least demonstrating the qualities he would need to become the team leader.[2]

Indeed, Piquet would end the afternoon at the sharp end of the field, finishing just behind the two Ferraris that had topped the charts during the morning.[2] Unfortunately he was still two seconds off the ultimate pace, for Alan Jones was flying around Montreal in the afternoon, recording a 1:30.625.[2] It was a stunning time compared to the rest of the field, with only two other drivers, including his teammate Clay Regazzoni, managing to record a time below 1:32.000.[2]

The other man to claim a sub-1:32.000 would be Jacques Laffite in the Ligier, while Gilles Villeneuve just fell shy with a 1:32.091.[2] World Champion Jody Scheckter was next, a fraction ahead of Piquet, while Carlos Reutemann was the final man in the 1:32.000s for Lotus.[2] Next up was René Arnoux, sat on a 1:33.303, a tenth clear of fellow Renault pilot Jean-Pierre Jabouille, leaving Patrick Tambay completing the top ten for McLaren.[2]

Into the troubled section of the field and Arturo Merzario had trouble early on, a right-rear hub failure putting him on the sidelines after only a handful of laps.[2] Over at Team Lotus, meanwhile, they would misjudge the amount of fuel required for a flying run, meaning both Reutemann and Mario Andretti would stop out on circuit in closing minutes, adding to their recent woes.[2] John Watson, meanwhile, would be forced to use the spare McLaren, which explained why he was so much slower than teammate Tambay, while Zunino only got in a handful of laps before his new Brabham hit some unspecified trouble.[2]

There were also some major errors in the timesheet released after the session, with revisions to the overall order coming through until the evening.[2]

Saturday Qualifying

Saturday morning would see Brambilla finally join the fray for Alfa Romeo, with the Italian having been chosen by the Italian firm ahead of Giacomelli after the lengthy negotiations between themselves, FOCA and FISA.[2] He was quickly up to speed and among the midfield, with the rest of the field spending the untimed practice session testing new brake cooling systems and spare cars.[2] At one point 28 of the 29 cars were on track, prompting soon-to-be crowned Champion Scheckter to stomp around the paddock after the session, declaring that there were too many cars on the circuit.[2]

Into the final qualifying session and the temperatures were climbing, with Goodyear optimistically claiming that they were finally in an optimum window for their tyres.[2] To prove this Jones would again dictate the pace by a healthy margin, quickly dipping down below his Friday best, before setting a series of laps in the 1:29.000s.[2] Indeed, with half an hour to go Jones would do enough to claim pole, a 1:29.892 leaving him over three quarters of a second clear of anyone else.[2]

The fight to join the Australian on the front row, however, would last until the final moments, with home hero Villeneuve, as well as Brabham's new leader Piquet, trying hard to get ahead of Jones' teammate Regazzoni.[2] Ultimately it was Villeneuve who won their little truel, a last-gasp effort seeing him claim a 1:30.554 and a spot on the front row, edging out Regazzoni by a tenth.[2] Piquet was only a little further behind, claiming a 1:30.775, while Laffite also managed to claim a sub-1:30.000 time in the dying moments of the session.[2]

Elsewhere Keke Rosberg would bring the session to a 45 minute halt midway through, the Finn becoming the first man to hit the barriers in the back section, obliterating the front of his Wolf.[2] Elsewhere, Brambilla successfully qualified for the race, in spite of missing all of Friday's running, while Zunino, now with his own helmet, also making the cut.[2] Out therefore went Jochen Mass (who be listed as first reserve), Marc Surer, Alex Ribeiro, Arturo Merzario and Rosberg, with the latter's result ultimately making up the mind of Walter Wolf in regards to his team's future in F1.[2]

Qualifying Results

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2
1 27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:30.625T 1:29.892T
2 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 1:32.091T 1:30.554 +0.662s
3 28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:31.577 1:30.768 +0.876s
4 6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:32.332 1:30.775T +0.883s
5 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 1:31.895 1:30.820 +0.928s
6 3 France Didier Pironi United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:33.876 1:31.941 +2.049s
7 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 1:33.442 1:32.103T +2.211s
8 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 1:33.303 1:32.116 +2.224s
9 11 South Africa Jody Scheckter Italy Ferrari 1:32.300 1:32.280 +2.388s
10 1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:34.180 1:32.651 +2.759s
11 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:32.682T 1:33.644T +2.790s
12 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth 1:34.627 1:32.858 +2.966s
13 4 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:34.307 1:33.065 +3.173s
14 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:34.267 1:33.090T +3.198s
15 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:35.531 1:33.297 +3.405s
16 25 Belgium Jacky Ickx France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 1:33.355 1:36.387T +3.463s
17 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:35.561T 1:33.362T +3.470s
18 36 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Italy Alfa Romeo 1:33.378 +3.486s
19 5 Argentina Ricardo Zunino United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:41.832 1:33.511 +3.619s
20 8 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:33.603 1:34.404 +3.711s
21 17 Netherlands Jan Lammers United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:34.477 1:34.102 +4.210s
22 31 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Mexico Rebaque-Ford Cosworth 1:36.030 1:34.129 +4.237s
23 18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:34.904 1:34.256 +4.364s
24 33 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:34.980 1:34.301T +4.409s
DNQ 30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:34.365 1:34.572 +4.473s
DNQ 22 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:45.033 1:34.747 +4.855s
DNQ 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 1:35.061 1:35.483 +5.169s
DNQ 19 Brazil Alex Ribeiro Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:38.771 1:36.901 +7.009s
DNQ 24 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy Merzario-Ford Cosworth 1:37.639 1:37.590 +7.698s
WD* 5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth Withdrawn
WD 35 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo Withdrawn
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.
  • * Lauda retired from racing partway through the weekend.[1]
  • Giacomelli's entry was withdrawn after a discussion between Alfa Romeo and the organisers about the entry list.[1]

Grid

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Alan Jones 2
______________ Gilles Villeneuve
Row 2 3 ______________
Clay Regazzoni 4
______________ Nelson Piquet
Row 3 5 ______________
Jacques Laffite 6
______________ Didier Pironi
Row 4 7 ______________
Jean-Pierre Jabouille 8
______________ René Arnoux
Row 5 9 ______________
Jody Scheckter 10
______________ Mario Andretti
Row 6 11 ______________
Carlos Reutemann 12
______________ Hans-Joachim Stuck
Row 7 13 ______________
Jean-Pierre Jarier 14
______________ Riccardo Patrese
Row 8 15 ______________
Emerson Fittipaldi 16
______________ Jacky Ickx
Row 9 17 ______________
John Watson 18
______________ Vittorio Brambilla
Row 10 19 ______________
Ricardo Zunino 20
______________ Patrick Tambay
Row 11 21 ______________
Jan Lammers 22
______________ Héctor Rebaque
Row 12 23 ______________
Elio de Angelis 24
______________ Derek Daly

Race

Raceday would dawn dark and cold, with a strong northerly wind suggesting that sleet could greet the Circuit Île Notre-Dame at any time.[2] Fortunately the clouds would drift away and the wind would disappear ahead of the race, with no issues resulting from the pre-race warm-up.[2] With that the field lined up on the grid for the 2:20pm start, with Jochen Mass standing by as first reserve.[2]

Report

Start 1979 Canadian Grand Prix

Gilles Villeneuve made an excellent start to pull ahead of Alan Jones.

As the lights flashed to green there were to be two streaks of scarlet sprinting off the grid, with the two Ferraris of Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter making excellent starts.[2] Indeed, as Villeneuve pulled ahead of pole sitter Alan Jones heading into the first corner, Scheckter took to the grass to dance around Jean-Pierre Jabouille, having qualified in a measly ninth.[2] Yet, whereas Villeneuve would duly grab the lead from Jones as they braked for the first corner, Scheckter was forced to slip back behind both Renaults.[2]

A thrilling opening lap would see Villeneuve and Jones dance their way clear of third placed Clay Regazzoni, with the Swiss ace instead left to defend from Nelson Piquet.[2] Indeed, come the end of the opening tour the made pace of Villeneuve and Jones had put them over a second clear of the second Williams, while Piquet was joined by Jacques Laffite in harassing Regazzoni.[2] A smaller gap followed before Mario Andretti appeared, leading a group containing Didier Pironi, Jabouille, René Arnoux, Scheckter, and Hans-Joachim Stuck.[2]

The early stages of the race would follow much the same pattern, with Villeneuve and Jones pulling clear, while Regazzoni, Piquet and Laffite scrapped for third.[2] There was also an short-lived battle for sixth, with Scheckter carving his way through the group ahead in short order.[2] Four quick-fire moves on Arnoux, Jabouille, Pironi and Andretti in three laps left the South African ace in the final points paying position, with three identical dives coming at the hairpin.[2]

Elsewhere Piquet finally managed to out-wit Regazzoni in their battle for third, sending the Swiss ace a dummy into the first corner.[2] He duly pulled clear of the #28 Williams to establish himself in third, leaving "Regga" to fend off the attentions of Laffite, with both being steadily caught by Scheckter.[2] Jabouille, meanwhile, was having brake trouble and so stopped in the pits to have his pads replaced, while Héctor Rebaque had already burned through a set of Goodyear tyres.[2]

Other early incidents would see Stuck throw his ATS up the inside of Arnoux at the hairpin, only for a clash of wheels to send both spinning with broken suspension.[2] Scheckter, meanwhile, would abandon his Michelin tyres on lap fifteen, his progress in catching the battle for fourth having stalled.[2] He duly rejoined down in seventeenth, although he was soon carving his way back towards the top ten on a harder set of tyres.[2]

Out front, meanwhile, Jones was happy to let Villeneuve dictate the pace at the head of the field, the pair still easing clear of third placed Piquet.[2] Indeed, whereas the Ferrari was on the verge of drifting around every corner, and would do so every once in a while, Jones' Williams was firmly planted on the road, neither losing nor gaining time on Villeneuve's Ferrari.[2] As such it seemed only a matter of time before Jones moved ahead, although how difficult it would be was far less clear.[2]

Elsewhere more retirements would come to thin the field, with Patrick Tambay the latest to stop when his engine expired in a plume of white smoke.[2] Riccardo Patrese was another casualty, his Arrows stalling after a spin, while Carlos Reutemann dumped oil and smoke along half the circuit as his engine and gearbox separated in the back of the Lotus.[2] Another plume of smoke would signal the demise of Derek Daly in the third of the Tyrrells, moments after Elio de Angelis rolled to a stop when his engine lost its electrical power.[2]

Jan Lammers would inadvertently become a centre of attention as half-distance came and went, first by accidentally forcing Scheckter to take to the grass on the start/finish straight when the South African came to overtake him.[2] Lammers would almost spin while trying to get out of the way, before the two leaders came to lap him a few laps later, this time at the back of the circuit.[2] Villeneuve charged through without issue, although Jones was to suddenly find a Shadow slipping into his path.[2]

Only the Australian ace's quick reflexes prevented a serious accident between the Shadow and the Williams, which danced to the opposite side of the road on opposite lock in avoidance of Lammers.[2] Unflustered, Jones soon powered past the Shadow and set off after Villeneuve, who suddenly found himself with a two second lead over the Australian.[2] However that gap was not to last, for Jones would be back under the Ferrari's rear wing within three laps, although he still refused to make a move.[2] Indeed, it seemed as if Jones was instead waiting for an opportunity, and so when he and Villeneuve came across a fighting trio a few laps later it was believed that Jones would finally make a move.[2]

That trio consisted of Vittorio Brambilla, Jacky Ickx and Scheckter, with the South African ace expected to be the biggest threat to Jones' theorised move.[2] Indeed, neither Villeneuve nor Jones would be troubled by the Alfa Romeo or the Ligier, leaving just Scheckter to be lapped from the trio.[2] Yet, the South African ace would make no attempt to help his teammate's bid for victory, instead pulling right out of the way of both towards the end of lap 45.[2]

It was therefore still status quo at the head of the field, although Jones was now showing signs of preparing to attack, drifting towards the inside of the hairpin on each of the following four laps.[2] These were all feints however, and it was only on lap 51 that Jones finally decided to try a lunge inside the Ferrari, swinging to the right as they both hit the brakes.[2] Villeneuve gave him a car's width on the apex as they ran side-by-side through to the exit, with a touch of rear wheels ultimately seeing Jones gain the advantage on the run down the start/finish straight.[2]

Jones Villeneuve 1979 Canadian Grand Prix

Jones would be unable to shake Villeneuve after taking the lead on lap 51.

With that Jones was free, and duly pushed on to build a three second lead in only a handful of laps.[2] Yet, the moment he eased off Villeneuve would reappear on his tail, with the sister Ferrari of Scheckter also tucked in behind.[2] Indeed Scheckter and Villeneuve were both hoping to use the next set of traffic, Pironi and Andretti, to their advantage: Scheckter to gain more places; Villeneuve to attack and re-pass Jones.[2]

Yet only one Ferrari driver would gain their wish, for both Andretti and Pironi would jump out of the way of the trio trying to lose as little time as possible.[2] Scheckter therefore leapt from seventh to fifth in the space of half a lap, while Villeneuve remained tucked under Jones' wing.[2] Jones then tried to breakaway again, only this time Villeneuve would go with him.[2]

The pair exchanged lap records through the closing stages, with Jones eventually gaining an edge as he set the best lap of the afternoon, a 1:31.272.[2] Behind, Piquet was still holding onto third, although his excellent drive for Brabham was to be ruined by a gearbox failure a few laps from the end.[2] That put Regazzoni, the only other man still on the lead lap, back into third, while Scheckter was now up into fourth, although no longer matching the pace of his teammate.[2]

With that the race was run, with Jones sweeping across the line just a second ahead of Villeneuve, who chased hard until the end.[2] Regazzoni was just on the lead lap in third, while Scheckter put in a Champion's performance to claim fourth after two fights through the field.[2] Andretti, meanwhile, would run out of fuel to leave Pironi on his own for fifth, while John Watson claimed sixth having made a late stop for fuel in the McLaren, denying Ricardo Zunino a debut point.[2]

Results

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 72 1:52:06.892 1 9
2 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 72 +1.080s 2 6
3 28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 72 +1:13.656 3 4
4 11 South Africa Jody Scheckter Italy Ferrari 71 +1 Lap 9 3
5 3 France Didier Pironi United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 71 +1 Lap 6 2
6 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 70 +2 Laps 17 1
7 5 Argentina Ricardo Zunino United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth 68 +4 Laps 19
8 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 67 +5 Laps 15
9 17 Netherlands Jan Lammers United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 67 +5 Laps 21
10* 1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 66 Out of fuel 10
Ret 6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth 61 Gearbox 4
Ret 36 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Italy Alfa Romeo 52 Fuel system 18
Ret 25 Belgium Jacky Ickx France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 47 Gearbox 16
Ret 4 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 33 Engine 13
Ret 33 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 28 Engine 24
Ret 31 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Mexico Rebaque-Ford Cosworth 26 Chassis 22
Ret 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 24 Brakes 7
Ret 18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 24 Ignition 23
Ret 2T Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 23 Suspension 11
Ret 29T Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 20 Spin 14
Ret 8 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 19 Engine 20
Ret 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 14 Collision 8
Ret 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth 14 Collision 12
Ret 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 10 Engine 5
DNQ 30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 22 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 19 Brazil Alex Ribeiro Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 24 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy Merzario-Ford Cosworth
WD 5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth
WD 35 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo
Source:[6]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
  • * Andretti was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.

Milestones

Standings

Jody Scheckter had already been crowned as World Champion in Italy, so all of the attention in Canada had been on the fight for second instead. In that fight it would be advantage Gilles Villeneuve heading to Watkins Glen, the Canadian ace leading his home race four ahead of Alan Jones. Jacques Laffite was also still in the fight, although with an eight point deficit to Villeneuve it seemed unlikely that the Frenchman could catch-up.

Like their driver Scheckter Ferrari had already wrapped up the International Cup for Constructors, with no major revisions to the field resulting from the battle of Montreal. Indeed, while Ferrari had broken the 100 point barrier, Williams-Ford Cosworth had all but secured second, with Ligier-Ford Cosworth only able to move ahead with a one-two finish in the US. The French squad themselves were a secure third ahead of Lotus-Ford Cosworth, who were already classified in fourth ahead of Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 South Africa Jody Scheckter 51 (60)
2 Canada Gilles Villeneuve 44
3 Australia Alan Jones 40 (43) ▲1
4 France Jacques Laffite 36
5 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 29 (32)
6 France Patrick Depailler 20 (22)
7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 20 (25)
8 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 14
9 United Kingdom John Watson 14 ▲1
10 United States Mario Andretti 14 ▼1
11 France René Arnoux 11
12 France Didier Pironi 10 ▲1
13 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille 9 ▼1
14 Austria Niki Lauda 4
15 Brazil Nelson Piquet 3
16 Belgium Jacky Ickx 3
17 West Germany Jochen Mass 3
18 Italy Riccardo Patrese 2
19 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 1
International Cup for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 104
2 United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 74
3 France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 61
4 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 39
5 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 24
6 France Renault 20
7 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 14
8 United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 7
9 United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 5
10 Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1

Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

References

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 1.15 1.16 1.17 'Canadian GP, 1979', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr327.html, (Accessed 09/01/2019)
  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 2.108 2.109 2.110 2.111 2.112 2.113 2.114 D.S.J., 'Canadian Grand Prix: A Race to the Finish', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/11/1979), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/november-1979/73/canadian-grand-prix, (Accessed 09/01/2019)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 '14. Canada 1979', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/canada.aspx, (Accessed 09/01/2019)
  4. 'Canada 1979: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/canada/engages.aspx, (Accessed 09/01/2019)
  5. 'Canada 1979: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/canada/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 09/01/2019)
  6. 'Italy 1979: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/italie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 04/01/2019)
  7. '1979 Canadian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1979&gp=Canadian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 09/01/2019)
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 Alphabetically 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
Drivers by Numbers 1 Andretti • 2 Reutemann • 3 Pironi • 4 Jarier • 4 Lees • 4/22/33 Daly • 5 Lauda • 5 Zunino • 6 Piquet • 7 Watson • 8 Tambay • 9 Stuck • 11 Scheckter • 12 Villeneuve • 14 Fittipaldi • 15 Jabouille • 16 Arnoux • 17 Lammers • 18 de Angelis • 19 Ribeiro • 20 Hunt • 20 Rosberg • 22 Gaillard • 22 Surer • 24 Merzario • 24/36 Brancatelli • 25 Depailler • 25 Ickx • 26 Laffite • 27 Jones • 28 Regazzoni • 29 Patrese • 30 Mass • 31 Rebaque • 35 Giacomelli • 36 Brambilla
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 Canada Canadian Grand Prix
Circuits Mosport Park (1967, 1969, 1971–1974, 1976–1977), Mont-Tremblant (1968, 1970), Montreal (1978–1986, 1988–2008, 2010–present)
CircuitGillesVilleneuve
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