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The 1979 Italian Grand Prix, otherwise known as the L Gran Premio d'Italia, was the thirteenth round of the 1979 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on the 9 September 1979.[1] The race would see Jody Scheckter claim his maiden World Championship crown as he swept to victory at the head of a Ferrari one-two.[1]

Qualifying would see the two Renaults sweep to a front row lock-out, however, with their V6 turbocharged engines outclassing the rest of the field.[1] Jean-Pierre Jabouille was the faster of the pair, beating René Arnoux by a tenth of a second, with Scheckter and Alan Jones sharing the second row.[1]

At the start, however, it would be a different story, with Scheckter streaking between the two sluggish Renaults off the line to claim an early lead.[1] Scheckter's teammate Gilles Villeneuve, meanwhile, would make an even better getaway from fifth and duly slotted into third behind Arnoux, while Jones dropped to the back of the field.[1]

The top five of Scheckter, Arnoux, Villeneuve, Jacques Laffite and Jabouille soon pulled clear of the rest of the field, running nose-to-tail.[1] Indeed, Arnoux proved to be the man to watch early on, with the V6t Renault cruising past Scheckter on the second lap to grab the lead, although the South African tried to hang on through the Rettifilo.[2]

Elsewhere Nelson Piquet demolished his car at Curva Grande, bouncing off the side of Clay Regazzoni before bouncing along the barriers, while Jones was limping along with a misfire at the back of the field.[2] There would also be early retirements for Patrick Tambay, while Villeneuve found himself under attack from Laffite.[2]

Unfortunately for Laffite, whose title hopes relied on Scheckter failing to win, Arnoux's race was over with a misfire come the end of lap thirteen, while Villeneuve continued to thwart his attacks.[1] Indeed, their squabbling had allowed Scheckter to build a small lead out front, while Villeneuve redoubled his efforts to keep Laffite and Jabouille at bay.[1]

It was to be status quo at the head of the field until the closing stages of the race, when the two Ferraris suddenly found themselves on their own, Laffite and Jabouille suffering late engine failures.[1] That released Villeneuve, who was under no team orders to hold station behind Scheckter, to attack his teammate for the lead, with the two Ferraris still running nose-to-tail.[1]

Ultimately, however, there would be no change in the lead at the end of the race, meaning it was Scheckter whom claimed victory and the World Championship crown.[1] Villeneuve was right with him to secure the International Cup for Constructors title for the Scuderia in-front of the loyal tifosi, while Regazzoni completed a very popular podium in his Williams.[1]

BackgroundEdit

The final European race of the 1979 campaign saw the field unload their equipment into a re-vamped Autodromo Nazionale Monza pit lane, which had under gone some major renovation work amid rumours that the Imola circuit would take over the Italian Grand Prix.[3] Indeed, while there were no new pit buildings the garages in the Monza pit lane had been completely redeveloped, with new openings at the back of the garages to allow easy access to the paddock.[3] The pit wall had also been moved, increasing the width of the pit lane, the run-off are at Lesmo had been expanded with some tree removal, while the paddock had been expanded with an en-masse removal of unused buildings to leave a vast expanse of tarmac.[3]

Formulaic FormationsEdit

In the weeks since the previous race at Zandvoort the FOCA/FISA dispute over the technical rulebook for 1980 had taken an unexpected turn.[2] Indeed, Bernie Ecclestone, head of FOCA, and Jean-Marie Balestre, president of FISA, had held talks over the break, and duly come to an agreement regarding the rulebook for the impending season.[2] In return for a revised scoring system for the 1980 Championship, which would see drivers retain five results from each half of the season, Mr. Ecclestone would join the FISA Technical Commission to help shape the technical rulebook for future seasons.[2]

While this did not sort the rules for 1980 it did at-least ensure that there would be some stability, with the demands of both the FOCA and FISA supporting entries (a ban on turbocharging and ground-effect respectively), set to be resisted for at least another year.[2]

Enhanced EntriesEdit

Into the entry list and the biggest change to the field came in the form of Alfa Romeo, who finally made their return having missed every race since the French Grand Prix.[3] Indeed, they had finally decided that their new F1 car, the 179, was finally ready for its debut, which was sporting an older, but proven, engine, revised bodywork and what the team believed to be a very effective ground-effect producing floor.[3] That was handed to their lead driver Bruno Giacomelli, while the "old" test-car, the 177, was handed to F1 returnee Vittorio Brambilla, who had not raced in F1 since being involved in the firey demise of Ronnie Peterson at the Italian Grand Prix in 1978.[3]

Elsewhere Mr. Ecclestone had some more success on another 1980 battle front, although at the cost of a new $2million contract for lead driver Niki Lauda.[2] Indeed, while the Austrian ace had been courting various teams in the paddock having fallen out of love with Brabham, a lack of other options, as well as the huge financial contract, persuaded him to stay with the squad for another season, partnering Nelson Piquet.[2] Furthermore the team were already running their newest car, the Ford Cosworth engined BT49, intending to complete the season with the new car, although they retained their usual trio of Alfa engined BT48s in Italy.[2] There was also no news of their ploy to employ Jackie Stewart for the new season, although the veteran Scot had reportedly been offered a $1million contract to join them.[2]

Over at Ligier, meanwhile, it was thought that the release of the injured Patrick Depailler from hospital a week before the Italian Grand Prix would be a source of joy, so it came as a shock when it was announced that the Frenchman had been dropped.[2] Indeed, Depailler had spoken with the eponymous Ligier boss Guy Ligier about staying with the team for 1980, believing he would retain his "joint number one" status with Jacques Laffite in the team, as had been the case before his leg breaking hanggliding accident.[2] Laffite, however, had already demanded that he be declared as the out-right number one in the team, having comprehensively beaten Jacky Ickx since Depailler's enforced break ahead of the trip to France back in June.[2]

A standoff duly developed in the team, with Depailler and Laffite both pushing Ligier for a quick decision, Ickx having no interest in continuing his F1 career beyond the end of the season.[2] It therefore came as a shock when Ligier announced that Didier Pironi would be joining the team as second driver to Laffite, leaving Depailler without a drive for 1980 having demanded too much for a driver recovering from a major injury.[2] Regardless it would be Laffite and Ickx who raced for Ligier in Italy, using their usual compliment of JS11s.[4]

Pironi, meanwhile, would still compete with Tyrrell in Italy, partnering Jean-Pierre Jarier in their familiar pair of 009s, with Jarier set to stay with Ken Tyrrell for 1980.[4] Williams, meanwhile, were unchanged ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, with Alan Jones and Clay Regazzoni set to race as usual, although there were rumours that the latter was to be replaced in the team for the new season.[2] The Swiss ace's former employers Ferrari, were likewise unchanged ahead of their home race, as they brought four 312T4s for Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve as they attempted to secure both Championships on home soil.[3]

Elsewhere Renault arrived as unpopular pre-race favourites with their compliment of V6 turbocharged RS10s, with Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux both to be retained by Gérard Larrousse's squad for 1980.[3][2] Lotus, meanwhile, had sent three of their modified Lotus 79s out to Monza in a vain attempt to compete, with Mario Andretti getting priority on the spare while Carlos Reutemann was left to spend his free time courting other potential employers.[3] McLaren were likewise unchanged amid rumours they were to lose one of John Watson or Patrick Tambay for 1980, although boss Teddy Mayer was forced to announce the end of a plan to secure BMW developed turbocharged engines for the 31st F1 season.[2]

There were to be no changes for Arrows either in Italy or for the 1980 season, with Riccardo Patrese and Jochen Mass committing to a team whose A2 cars were unchanged in Monza.[2] Rivals Shadow were in a less than secure state coming towards the end of the season, with Elio de Angelis and Jan Lammers not having the finances to keep the team running.[3] Wolf were in a similar position, Walter Wolf having lost interest in F1 now that his car had become noncompetitive, although Keke Rosberg would persevere with the WR8 in Italy.[3]

Fittipaldi arrived with three cars for their lone ace Emerson Fittipaldi, with a brand new F6A shipped to Europe for the veteran Brazilian.[3] The Merzario team in contrast, would not run their newest car, with Arturo Merzario stuck with two older Merzario A2s, while ATS were under a mini revolution internally after Vic Elford became the team manager, although Hans-Joachim Stuck was fairly satisfied heading to Italy.[3] Ensign, meanwhile, decided to give-up on Patrick Gaillard, with Mo Nunn instead obtaining the services of recently crowned European Formula Two Champion Marc Surer for the weekend.[3]

The final car on the entry list would be the first ever car purpose built for Rebaque, albeit one heavily based on the Lotus 79, and constructed by ex-F1 racers Penske.[3] Indeed, Héctor Rebaque's father had bankrolled Penske to re-engineer the aerodynamic aspects of the team's Lotus 79, resulting in a car with revised monocoque, skirt-slides and sidepod shape, although it was identical to the ex-factory 79 that the Mexican had been using throughout the season.[3] Regardless, Rebaque's new creation was dubbed the HR100, and would become the first "Mexican built" F1 car to compete at a Grand Prix.[3]

Championship ChancesEdit

The mixed results of the Dutch Grand Prix meant that there had been no real change at the top of the Championship standings, with Scheckter having managed to extend his lead to eight points over Laffite. However, due to the rather odd scoring system chosen by FISA, which saw half of a driver's finishes dropped from their scorecard, the South African ace could secure the crown in Monza. Indeed, victory for Scheckter, combined with Laffite failing to stand on the podium, would be enough for the South African to secure the crown two races early, although Laffite was likely to run out of available points regardless. Scheckter's teammate Villeneuve was also still in the hunt, although the Canadian would need the South African to retire in all three remaining races while he claimed victory

It was a far more simple picture in the International Cup for Constructors battle, with Ferrari able to claim the crown if Scheckter and Villeneuve both finished on the podium in front of the tifosi. Indeed, with a nineteen point lead over Ligier-Ford Cosworth, and 22 over Williams-Ford Cosworth, it was a matter of when rather than if for Ferrari, with Canada likely to be the deciding round. That left Ligier and Williams in a fight for second, while out-going Champions Team Lotus-Ford Cosworth were set to end the campaign in fourth.

Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 1979 Italian 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 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 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
20 Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Olympus Cameras Wolf Racing Wolf WR8 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 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 Rebaque HR100 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 177 Alfa Romeo 115-12 3.0 F12 G
Source:[5]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Practice/qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix of 1979 would follow the familiar pattern of four sessions split evenly across Friday and Saturday prior to the race.[3] The afternoon sessions of each day were reserved for qualifying, generating a combined total of three hours of running to set the grid, leaving teams free to experiment with race practice during the mornings.[3] As for a target time the top teams would be aiming to best the circuit record, a 1:37.520 set by Mario Andretti in the 1978-spec Lotus 79.[3]

Friday QualifyingEdit

First out for the morning practice session would be Vittorio Brambilla in the Alfa Romeo, with the sight of the popular Italian resulting in a huge cheer from the crowds.[3] After that the real business of practice began, with the majority of drivers having a brake issue during the session, all down to the extreme change in temperatures that were caused by Monza's long straights and heavy braking zones.[3] That prompted a lot of experimentation with brake ducts and duct tape during the session, with attention also paid to engine cooling.[3]

Into the first qualifying session and it was clear that, once again, it would be the two turbocharged Renaults that would be the team to beat, with Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux enjoying their significant power advantage from the early stages.[3] Indeed, Arnoux would get below Andretti's old record early on in his second run of the afternoon, although Jabouille would have to first hop in the spare car to join him.[3] Soon the duo were consistently lapping in the 1:35.000s, before Arnoux surged ahead to record a stunning effort of 1:34.704.[3]

Because of his use of the spare Jabouille would end the day almost a second off his teammate, allowing several others to get between them.[3] The closest man to Arnoux proved to be the man in form Alan Jones, fighting for glory with Williams having been knocked out of the title hunt at Zandvoort, with Gilles Villeneuve in the first of the Ferraris just 0.007s behind him in third.[3] Jones' teammate Clay Regazzoni was next, the first of those in the 1:35.000s, with Champion-elect Jody Scheckter also sneaking ahead of the #15 Renault.[3]

It was not all plain sailing for Renault's rivals, however, for Jones' session would be brought to a premature end when he was clouted into the gravel by Patrick Tambay.[3] He walked back to the pits to sit out the rest of the session, teammate Regazzoni having adopted the spare after an engine issue in the morning, while Tambay carried on without issue in his McLaren.[3] Elsewhere Marc Surer was out of action for Ensign early on when his engine expired, Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite were suffering from severe porpoising in their Wolf and Ligier respectively, while Héctor Rebaque failed to get out at all in his new car.[3]

Saturday QualifyingEdit

Much like Friday morning's practice session, Saturday's opening hour of action would be used to test spare cars, as well as ensure that overnight repairs and modifications had resolved various issues.[3] Regazzoni, for example, would switch back to his freshly engined Williams, allowing Jones to take over the spare as his race car had its fuel bladder replaced, that having been an unseen victim of his swipe from Tambay on Friday.[3] Laffite, Scheckter and Jabouille, meanwhile, would spend most of the session swapping between their race and spare cars, while their teammates doggedly stuck with the cars they were dealt on Friday.[3]

With that the field were ready to complete the final qualifying session, although it was to be another afternoon dominated by one of the two black-yellow Renaults.[3] This time it was Jabouille who stole the show, the Frenchman using the spare RS10 to record a 1:34.580 to steal pole away from teammate Arnoux, whose session was ended prematurely with an engine issue.[3] Indeed, Jabouille's time was set during his first flying lap, and hence it was likely that he could have gone faster, had he not damaged his car by flying off the track at the Rettifilo Chicane.[3]

Fortunately for them there would be no-one who could realistically challenge their times, although Scheckter did come close with a 1:34.830 to be best of the rest for Ferrari.[3] Jones was next as the best of the Ford Cosworth engined drivers, shaving a few hundredths off his Friday best, while Villeneuve claimed fifth in the second Ferrari.[3] Elsewhere the two Alfa Romeos qualified comfortably, Lotus felt they had made progress despite the fact that they were well down the field, while Nelson Piquet edged out Niki Lauda in their Brabham battle.[3]

Elsewhere there was a very interesting battle at Shadow, with their two drivers fighting hard to claim the 24th and final grid slot.[3] For the organisers, and Shadow, it was in their interests for Elio de Angelis to qualify rather than Jan Lammers, although the Dutchman was the faster of the two.[3] Furthermore, de Angelis would have a miserable afternoon, suffering a hub failure on his race car, an engine issue on the spare, before persuading Shadow to let him borrow Lammers' car, only to record a time slower than his teammate.[3]

However, after the session it was miraculously found by the officials that there had been an error with Lammmers' time, which was duly re-recorded as a 1:39.313, putting him behind de Angelis on the timesheet.[3] A furious Lammers left the circuit immediately after being told of the change, for it left him on the sidelines while believing he had rightly qualified for the race.[3] Instead, he would sit it out alongside Surer, who was still getting used to a Formula One car, Arturo Merzario, who had a myriad of problems with his car, and Rebaque who could only manage one clean lap with his new creation.[3]

Elsewhere, John Watson would take over teammate Tambay's McLaren when his engine failed mid-session, meaning Tambay had to use a spare car that had to be quickly re-assembled in the paddock during the session.[3] The Frenchman would still manage to qualify in the old M28C, courtesy of his effort in his own M29.[3]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2
1 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 1:35.665T 1:34.580T
2 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 1:34.704 1:37.086 +0.124s
3 11 South Africa Jody Scheckter Italy Ferrari 1:35.501T 1:34.830 +0.250s
4 27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:34.982 1:34.914T +0.334s
5 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 1:34.989T 1:35.365T +0.409s
6 28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:35.339T 1:35.333 +0.753s
7 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 1:36.846T 1:35.443T +0.863s
8 6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:36.389T 1:35.587T +1.007s
9 5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:36.219 1:37.001T +1.639s
10 1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:36.708 1:36.655 +2.075s
11 25 Belgium Jacky Ickx France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 1:38.915 1:37.114 +2.534s
12 3 France Didier Pironi United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:37.510 1:37.181 +2.601s
13 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:38.195 1:37.202 +2.622s
14 8 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:37.381 1:37.231 +2.651s
15 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth 1:39.465 1:37.297 +2.717s
16 4 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:37.786 1:37.581 +3.001s
17 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:38.120 1:37.674 +3.094s
18 35 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 1:38.564 1:38.053 +3.473s
19 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:38.770 1:38.093 +3.513s
20 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:39.491 1:38.136 +3.556s
21 30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:40.772 1:38.163 +3.583s
22 36 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Italy Alfa Romeo 1:39.359 1:38.601 +4.021s
23 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 1:40.161T 1:38.854 +4.274s
24 18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:41.104 1:39.149T +4.569s
DNQ 17 Netherlands Jan Lammers United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:41.183 1:39.313 +4.733s
DNQ 22 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:49.434 1:40.821 +6.241s
DNQ 24 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy Merzario-Ford Cosworth 1:43.530 1:42.002 +7.422s
DNQ 31 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Mexico Rebaque-Ford Cosworth 1:42.769 +8.189s
Source:[3][6]
  • 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 ______________
Jean-Pierre Jabouille 2
______________ René Arnoux
Row 2 3 ______________
Jody Scheckter 4
______________ Alan Jones
Row 3 5 ______________
Gilles Villeneuve 6
______________ Clay Regazzoni
Row 4 7 ______________
Jacques Laffite 8
______________ Nelson Piquet
Row 5 9 ______________
Niki Lauda 10
______________ Mario Andretti
Row 6 11 ______________
Jacky Ickx 12
______________ Didier Pironi
Row 7 13 ______________
Carlos Reutemann 14
______________ Patrick Tambay
Row 8 15 ______________
Hans-Joachim Stuck 16
______________ Jean-Pierre Jarier
Row 9 17 ______________
Riccardo Patrese 18
______________ Bruno Giacomelli
Row 10 19 ______________
John Watson 20
______________ Emerson Fittipaldi
Row 11 21 ______________
Jochen Mass 22
______________ Vittorio Brambilla
Row 12 23 ______________
Keke Rosberg 24
______________ Elio de Angelis

RaceEdit

It was a warm, dry morning that would greet the field for the 1979 Italian Grand Prix on race day, with a very vocal crowd pouring into the Autodromo Nazionale Monza as the F1 field completed their morning warm-up.[3] There would, however, be no issues to report from the session, meaning there were no concerns for any of the 24 starters ahead of the race.[3] Indeed, in-spite of some late decisions to switch to a spare car, and a reduction in race distance to 50 laps, all of the qualifiers would be on-time to take the start, with the starter's lights flashing to green at 3:30pm on the dot.[3]

ReportEdit

Given the horrific start to the 1978 Italian Grand Prix there was little surprise that the top four drivers me with one-another to discuss the start.[3] Ultimately the two Renaults, which traditionally bogged down at the start due to turbo-lag, agreed that they would not weave around on the run to the Rettifilo if they did have issues on the grid.[3] That would leave Alan Jones and Jody Scheckter with a clear run to the chicane, while Gilles Villeneuve was told not to pass his title challenging teammate.[3]

That discussion proved to be a wise one for Scheckter, who duly streaked into the lead when the lights switched to green, with teammate Villeneuve shadowing him all the way.[3] René Arnoux went with them, blasting ahead of teammate Jean-Pierre Jabouille, while Jones, the instigator of the discussions, made an awful getaway.[3] Indeed, the #27 Williams found itself in the middle of a swarm heading into the Curva Grande on the opening lap, although Jones managed to survive unharmed.[3]

An intense opening tour would see Arnoux draft past Villeneuve on the run out of Lesmo, before briefly entertaining a move on Scheckter into the Parabolica.[3] Ultimately, however, the Frenchman would wait until the field streamed out of the infamous right-hander before bidding for the lead, drafting past the Ferrari just after they crossed the start/finish line to complete the opening tour.[3] A huge cheer from the tifosi that had erupted when Scheckter slithered out of Parabolica in the lead was immediately silenced, with a Renault now leading the two scarlet cars, Jacques Laffite and Jabouille.[3]

The early stages would see Arnoux inch away at the head of the field, while Scheckter and Villeneuve tried to shake Laffite from their tail.[3] Jones, meanwhile, was picking off several of the drivers that had jumped him at the start, although he soon decided that something more sinister was at play in his Ford Cosworth engine, and duly pitted at the end of lap five.[3] Unfortunately for him a misfire had developed on his engine just before the start and was now strangling power from the engine, with his mechanics quickly tracing its cause to a faulty battery.[3]

Jones would rejoin a lap later, and was immediately on the pace of the lead group, still being comfortably led by Arnoux.[3] Behind the Frenchman still sat the two Ferraris of Scheckter and Villeneuve, with Laffite and Jabouille still chasing hard.[3] Next up was Clay Regazzoni, having survived a clout from Nelson Piquet early on, with the Brazilian's Brabham instead being fired off into the barriers at Curva Grande.[3] Indeed, Piquet was miraculously unharmed in the accident, which saw the Brabham rip itself in two at high speed, with the Alfa Romeo V12 and gearbox completely severed from the cockpit and front half of the car.[3]

Niki Lauda, meanwhile, would become a source of entertainment once things settled out front, deciding it was time to finally remind everyone why he was the highest paid driver in the field.[3] A series of excellently timed dives in the Rettifilo would see the Austrian take John Watson, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Didier Pironi and Mario Andretti on successive laps, moving him from eleventh to seventh.[3] Yet, he was no closer to the tail of Regazzoni in sixth, who was himself struggling to catch Jabouille in spite of the fact that the #15 Renault had lost contact with the lead quartet.[3]

Things would go from bad to worse for Renault on lap 13, with Arnoux's engine suddenly cutting out on the run to the Parabolica.[3] Quick thinking from the Frenchman saw him jink his car out of the way of Scheckter and co., before the engine suddenly fired up again as Laffite streaked past.[3] He duly finished the lap in fourth with a seemingly healthy V6t engine, but when the engine cut again on the run to Parabolica he knew his race was effectively over.[3]

Indeed, Arnoux would coast into the pits at the end of the lap, and duly stepped out of his cockpit with the ignition system being pulled apart by his mechanics.[3] That left Scheckter in command of the race with teammate Villeneuve acting as a rear gunner, although Laffite was not managing to challenge the two Ferraris.[3] Jabouille, meanwhile, was still slipping away in fourth ahead of Regazzoni, while Lauda had a gaggle of cars behind him as he tried to catch the #28 Williams.[3]

Elsewhere Watson's race was over moments after he had passed Jarier, the McLaren racer having slid off into the gravel all on his own.[3] Emerson Fittipaldi, meanwhile, was making up for his poor start by making a series of excellent moves at the back of the field, while Hans-Joachim Stuck limped along with a cracked exhaust on the ATS.[3] At the very back of the field, meanwhile, Jones was lapping a second faster than anyone else, setting new lap records every time he passed the timing line.[3]

As the race wore on towards half-distance it was affirmed that Jabouille was fighting a losing battle with his Renault, for he duly slipped behind Regazzoni on lap 24, a move greeted with a huge cheer for "Regga".[3] Bruno Giacomelli, meanwhile, could smell a points finish in the new Alfa Romeo, and duly scythed his way past Jarier and Pironi to go hunting the similarly engined Brabham of Lauda.[3] Unfortunately for the Italian racer his charge would be ended by a suspension destroying bounce across the gravel at Ascari, with teammate Vittorio Brambilla well down the order.[3]

Out front, meanwhile, the two Ferraris would have to wait until the closing stages of the race to finally shake Laffite, whose pace would steadily decline after half-distance as his brakes began to fade.[3] To alleviate this the Frenchman used his cockpit adjuster to re-balance the brakes, putting more pressure onto the fronts, although a design flaw with the Ligier resulted in this adjustment also causing the clutch to operate under heavy braking.[3] The result would be a series of sudden lunges in engine revs as the Frenchman braked, which duly trashed his Ford Cosworth engine with nine laps to go.[3]

The two Ferraris were now on their own at the head of the field, although Scheckter was beginning to struggle with a braking issue of his own.[3] Villeneuve, in contrast, was in a very strong position in the sister car, his brakes feeling fine, although he was under orders not to attack his teammate and duly decided to obey them.[3] Worryingly this left them running at the pace of Fittipaldi in the middle of the pack, just as Regazzoni began to match Jones' lap record pace.[3]

Indeed, Regazzoni would go on to set his own lap record of 1:35.60 with five laps to go, and would close to within two seconds of the scarlet cars at the start of the penultimate tour.[3] Seeing this, Villeneuve finally began to harass Scheckter, only to see the Williams suddenly drop back on the run out of Lesmo.[3] Ultimately Regazzoni's late push had been cut short by a lack of fuel, with a series of coughs dropping the Swiss ace away from the Ferraris just when he looked set to challenge them.[3]

With that the race for both the race win and the Championship was over, with a 100,000 strong crowd roaring Scheckter and Villeneuve home, the South African claiming the title while Villeneuve ensured that the Scuderia won the International Cup for Manufacturers.[3] Regazzoni spluttered across the line five seconds back in third, another popular result, while a late failure for Jabouille had gifted fourth to Lauda.[3] Andretti was next ahead of Jarier, while Jones' day would be summed up in the moments after the race, with the Australian ace stopping to pick-up teammate Regazzoni, only to have his own Williams splutter to a stop a few yards on.[3]

Regardless, the results of the the Italian Grand Prix had decided the Championship for a second successive season, with Scheckter and Ferrari heading to the American continent with their crowns in hand.[3]

ResultsEdit

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 11 South Africa Jody Scheckter Italy Ferrari 50 1:22:00.22 3 9
2 12T Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 50 +0.46s 5 6
3 28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 50 +4.78s 6 4
4 5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 50 +54.40s 9 3
5 1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 50 +59.70s 10 2
6 4 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 50 +1:01.55 16 1
7 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 50 +1:24.14 13
8 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 49 +1 Lap 20
9 27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 49 +1 Lap 4
10 3 France Didier Pironi United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 49 +1 Lap 12
11 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck West Germany ATS-Ford Cosworth 49 +1 Lap 15
12 36 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Italy Alfa Romeo 49 +1 Lap 22
13 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 47 +3 Laps 17
14* 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 45 Engine 1
Ret 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 41 Engine 7
Ret 20 Finland Keke Rosberg Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 41 Engine 23
Ret 25 Belgium Jacky Ickx France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 40 Engine 11
Ret 18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 33 Clutch 24
Ret 35 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 28 Spin 18
Ret 16 France René Arnoux France Renault 13 Engine 2
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 13 Accident 19
Ret 8 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 3 Engine 14
Ret 30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 3 Suspension 21
Ret 6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1 Collision 8
DNQ 17 Netherlands Jan Lammers United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 22 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 24 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy Merzario-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 31 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Mexico Rebaque-Ford Cosworth
Source:[7]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
  • * Jabouille was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.[3]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Victory, combined with the rather bizarre scoring system meant that Jody Scheckter was declared as World Champion with two races to spare, despite only being thirteen points clear of Gilles 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 Jacques Laffite and Alan Jones. They would instead spend the rest of the season fighting for second, with Clay Regazzoni also still in that fight.

Unlike their driver Scheckter, Ferrari were declared as International Cup for Constructors Champions in less acrimonious circumstances, 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 Lotus-Ford Cosworth in fourth.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 South Africa Jody Scheckter 51 (57)
2 Canada Gilles Villeneuve 38 ▲2
3 France Jacques Laffite 36 ▼1
4 Australia Alan Jones 34 ▼1
5 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 27 (28)
6 France Patrick Depailler 20 (22)
7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 20 (25)
8 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 14
9 United States Mario Andretti 14 ▲1
10 United Kingdom John Watson 13 ▼1
11 France René Arnoux 11
12 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille 9
13 France Didier Pironi 8
14 Austria Niki Lauda 4 ▲5
15 Brazil Nelson Piquet 3 ▼1
16 Belgium Jacky Ickx 3 ▼1
17 West Germany Jochen Mass 3 ▼1
18 Italy Riccardo Patrese 2 ▼2
19 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 1 ▼1
International Cup for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 95
2 United Kingdom Williams-Ford Cosworth 62 ▲1
3 France Ligier-Ford Cosworth 61 ▼1
4 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 39
5 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 22
6 France Renault 20
7 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 13
8 United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 7 ▲1
9 United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 5 ▼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 'Italian GP, 1979', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr326.html, (Accessed 04/01/2019)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 '13. Italy 1979', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/italie.aspx, (Accessed 04/01/2019)
  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 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36 3.37 3.38 3.39 3.40 3.41 3.42 3.43 3.44 3.45 3.46 3.47 3.48 3.49 3.50 3.51 3.52 3.53 3.54 3.55 3.56 3.57 3.58 3.59 3.60 3.61 3.62 3.63 3.64 3.65 3.66 3.67 3.68 3.69 3.70 3.71 3.72 3.73 3.74 3.75 3.76 3.77 3.78 3.79 3.80 3.81 3.82 3.83 3.84 3.85 3.86 3.87 3.88 3.89 3.90 3.91 3.92 3.93 3.94 3.95 3.96 3.97 D.S.J., 'The Italian Grand Prix: Forza Ferrari', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/10/1979), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/october-1979/39/italian-grand-prix, (Accessed 07/01/2019)
  4. 4.0 4.1 D.S.J., 'Notes on the cars at Monza', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/10/1979), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/october-1979/44/notes-cars-monza, (Accessed 07/01/2019)
  5. 'Netherlands 1979: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/pays-bas/engages.aspx, (Accessed 03/01/2019)
  6. 'Italy 1979: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/italie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 04/01/2019)
  7. 'Italy 1979: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/italie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 04/01/2019)
  8. 8.0 8.1 '1979 Italian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1979&gp=Italian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 05/01/2019)
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 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 312T • Fittipaldi F5 • Fittipaldi F6 • Kauhsen WK • Ligier JS11 • Lotus 79 • Lotus 80 • McLaren M26 • McLaren M28 • McLaren M29 • Merzario A1 • 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 Italy Italian Grand Prix
Circuits Monza (1950 - 1979, 1981 - Present), Imola (1980)
Monza2000
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