FANDOM


The 1979 Race of Champions was a non-championship Formula One race, held on the 15th of April at Brands Hatch.[1] The race, which consisted of entrants from both the Formula One World Championship and British F1 Series, was won by Gilles Villeneuve for Ferrari, having fought back from an early mistake to pass Mario Andretti in the closing stages.[1]

The 1979 edition of the Race of Champions was also expected to be the last (to compete under F1 regulations at least), with the race not scheduled in 1980. Yet, the Race of Champions did appear on the calendar once more, this time in 1983. Keke Rosberg claimed what became the last Race of Champions and non-championship F1 victory.


BackgroundEdit

With the field returning to Europe a week after the 1979 United States Grand Prix West, many teams were not able to attend the Race of Champions at the Kent circuit, with both cars and personnel still in transit. As such, only seven cars were entered from the World Championship, although the entry list did include championship leader Gilles Villeneuve (fresh from his victory in the States).[1] His Ferrari was joined by two brand new Brabham BT48s (for Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet) and a Lotus 80 for Mario Andretti (although he would only try the new Team Lotus creation in qualifying).[1]

With Elio de Angelis (Shadow), Jochen Mass (Arrows) and John Watson (McLaren) the only other entrants, the organisers were forced to allow the British Formula One Series cars (which were originally to compete in a support role for the race) into the Race of Champions.[1] This gave the British F1 Series an opportunity to advertise itself (as well as it's talent) on a bigger stage, with several past and future F1 names, such as Rupert Keegan and even motorcycle legend Giacomo Agostini, allowed to compete against some of the best names in the business.

Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 1979 Race of Champions 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 V8 3.0 G
5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT48 Alfa Romeo 1260 V12 3.0 G
6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT48 Alfa Romeo 1260 V12 3.0 G
7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M28 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T3 Ferrari 015 F12 3.0 M
18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Interscope Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN9 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Warsteiner Arrows Racing Team Arrows A1 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
41 South Africa Desiré Wilson United Kingdom Melchester Racing Tyrrell 008 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
42 United States Gordon Smiley United Kingdom Melchester Racing Tyrrell 008 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
43 Spain Emilio de Villota Spain Madom F1 Team Lotus 78 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
44 United Kingdom Guy Edwards United Kingdom RAM Racing Fittipaldi F5A Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
45 Belgium Bernard de Dryver United Kingdom RAM Racing Fittipaldi F5A Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
46 United Kingdom Tiff Needell United Kingdom Graham Eden Racing Chevron B41 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
47 United Kingdom Valentino Musetti United Kingdom Privateer March 781 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
49 Italy Giacomo Agostini Italy Team Agostini Marlboro Williams FW06 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
51 Ireland David Kennedy Hong Kong Theodore Racing Hong Kong Wolf WR4 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
52 United Kingdom Philip Bullman United Kingdom Team Surtees Surtees TS20 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
56 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Charles Clowes Racing Arrows A1 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
62 Austria Gerd Biechteler West Germany Waltz-Toj Racing March 781 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
63 United Kingdom Robin Smith United Kingdom Privateer Ensign N174 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
  • A bright yellow background represents as British F1 entries.

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

ReportEdit

As was, rather predictable, with new equipment and experience at the top level of motorsport, the seven F1 drivers took the first seven places on the grid.[1] Andretti took pole with the new Lotus 80, although he opted to switch back to the Lotus 79 for the race (a move that had already been cleared with the organisers), with Lauda pushing the new Brabham into second alongside him.[1] Villeneuve claimed third ahead of the second BT48 of Piquet, while Mass claimed fifth ahead of de Angelis and Watson.[1]

Of the British F1 cars, Keegan was the biggest pusher, taking ninth (eighth place was left empty to separate the two sets of cars) ahead of Desiré Wilson.[1] Former F1 driver Guy Edwards was next up in eleventh, while other highlights included Agositini in sixteenth (beaten by promising rookie Tiff Needell in fifteenth), while Gerd Biechteler was the only man whom failed to qualify.[1]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1979 Race of Champions is outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:17.52
2 5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:17.76 +0.24s
3 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 1:17.85 +0.33s
4 6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:17.98 +0.46s
5 30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:18.93 +1.41s
6 18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:19.57 +2.05s
7 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:20.30 +2.78s
8 Not rewarded*
9 56 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 1:20.65 +3.13s
10 41 South Africa Desiré Wilson United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:20.80 +3.28s
11 44 United Kingdom Guy Edwards United Kingdom Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:20.90 +3.38s
12 43 Spain Emilio de Villota Spain Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:21.67 +4.15s
13 51 Ireland David Kennedy Hong Kong Wolf-Ford Cosworth 1:22.35 +4.83s
14 52 United Kingdom Philip Bullman United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:22.41 +4.89s
15 46 United Kingdom Tiff Needell United Kingdom Chevron-Ford Cosworth 1:22.50 +4.98s
16 49 Italy Giacomo Agostini Italy Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:22.60 +5.08s
17 42 United States Gordon Smiley United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:23.20 +5.68s
18 45 Belgium Bernard de Dryver United Kingdom Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:23.44 +5.92s
19 47 United Kingdom Valentino Musetti United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:25.61 +8.09s
20 63 United Kingdom Robin Smith United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:26.67 +9.15s
DNQ 62 Austria Gerd Biechteler West Germany March-Ford Cosworth
  • * Eighth place was not awarded to keep the World Championship and British Championship cars separate at the start.
  • Kennedy could not take the start of the race as he had gearbox trouble.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Mario Andretti 2
______________ Niki Lauda
Row 2 3 ______________
Gilles Villeneuve 4
______________ Nelson Piquet
Row 3 5 ______________
Jochen Mass 6
______________ Elio de Angelis
Row 4 7 ______________
John Watson 8
______________
Row 5 9 ______________
Rupert Keegan 10
______________ Desiré Wilson
Row 6 11 ______________
Guy Edwards 12
______________ Emilio de Villota
Row 7 13 ______________
David Kennedy 14
______________ Philip Bullman
Row 8 15 ______________
Tiff Needell 16
______________ Giacomo Agostini
Row 9 17 ______________
Gordon Smiley 18
______________ Bernard de Dryver
Row 10 19 ______________
Valentino Musetti 20
______________ Robin Smith

RaceEdit

With Brabham only expecting to use the race as a test session for their new car, and Gilles Villeneuve in impressive form, it was expected that the Canadian would take an easy victory, with his only real challenger in the form of Mario Andretti. Interest would also lay in the British Formula One series drivers, and whether they could keep up with the World Championship cars over the fourty lap race. David Kennedy was the only man not to start, suffering a gearbox failure on his way to the grid.

ReportEdit

A poor start for Andretti saw him slip to third, as Niki Lauda swung around the American to take the lead, beating Villeneuve into the Paddock Hill Bend.[1] Nelson Piquet quickly got onto the back of the Lotus, while Lauda began to build a small lead over the trio.[1] By lap eight, however, the trio caught up to the leading Brabham, with the quartet now battling at every turn for the lead.[1] Their battle would only last a lap, however, as Lauda came into the pits for a tire change, with Piquet following him in a few laps later.[1]

Villeneuve inherited the lead, although Andretti remained on his gearbox, putting pressure on the Ferrari for the lead.[1] The pressure proved too much for Villeneuve, as he ran wide at Hawthorn on the eleventh lap, allowing Andretti to pass.[1] Jochen Mass was also showing his pace, as through the Brabham stops and lead squabbles, he had pushed the Arrows into a comfortable third place.[1]

On lap eighteen the only British interest (from the World Championship perspective) fell, as John Watson suffered a gearbox failure, while the British F1 cars battled over seventh place, Guy Edwards and Rupert Keegan leading the group.[1] Meanwhile, the order at the front of the race remained the same, although the Brabhams were slowly drawing in Mass' Arrows.[1] Villeneuve was also pushing hard, slowly closing the four second gap that his mistake had given Andretti.[1]

With fourteen laps to go, Villeneuve made his move, sweeping inside the Lotus through Paddock Hill Bend, before completing his move at Druids.[1] Andretti lacked a response, and soon fell into the hands of Piquet, whom took Mass at around the same time as Villeneuve took the lead.[1] With a few laps to go, the Brazilian was second, with Andretti continuing to fall away, although the chequered flag dropped before Mass could catch him.[1] For Villeneuve, the victory was his second in a week and first at Brands Hatch, while Piquet and Lauda (whom finished fifth) showed that the new Brabham would be a force to be reckoned with.

But what of the British Formula One series cars? Well Keegan, whom had dominated the pack, taking Guy Edwards with him, fell away with just five laps to go with an engine failure. This handed victory to Edwards, whom kept the final World Championship car of Elio de Angelis in sight for most of the race.

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1979 Race of Champions is outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid
1 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari 40 53:17.12 3
2 6 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 40 +14.07s 4
3 1 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 40 +23.17s 1
4 30 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 40 +40.76s 5
5 5 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 39 +1 lap 2
6 18 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 39 +1 lap 6
7 44 United Kingdom Guy Edwards United Kingdom Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 39 +1 lap 11
8 45 Belgium Bernard de Dryver United Kingdom Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 39 +1 lap 18
9 41 South Africa Desiré Wilson United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 38 +2 laps 10
10 42 United States Gordon Smiley United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 38 +2 laps 17
11 49 Italy Giacomo Agostini Italy Williams-Ford Cosworth 38 +2 laps 16
12 47 United Kingdom Valentino Musetti United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 36 +4 laps 19
13 63 United Kingdom Robin Smith United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 36 +4 laps 20
Ret 56 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 35 Engine 9
Ret 43 Spain Emilio de Villota Spain Lotus-Ford Cosworth 34 Engine 12
Ret 52 United Kingdom Philip Bullman United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 24 Spin 14
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 18 Gearbox 7
Ret 46 United Kingdom Tiff Needell United Kingdom Chevron-Ford Cosworth 16 Accident 15
DNS 51 Ireland David Kennedy Hong Kong Wolf-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 62 Austria Gerd Biechteler West Germany March-Ford Cosworth

MilestonesEdit

ReferencesEdit

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
United Kingdom Race of Champions
Circuits Brands Hatch (1965 - 1983)
Brands Hatch
Races 1965 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1979 • 1983 
v·d·e Nominate this page for Featured Article
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.