Heading into the second round of the championship, Alan Jones and Williams held the initial advantage, however Ferrari had remained competitive in the previous round, poor reliability in the previous round in Argentina hindering their chances. Ligier and Brabham had also proved that they could be potential championship contenders in 1980.
The Brazilian race, taking two weeks after Argentina was believed to be a favourite for the Renault team. The high altitude of the Interlagos circuit would suit the Renault cars better than the normally aspirated engines of their competitors that would find it more difficult to operate in the high altitude.
The full entry list for the 1980 Brazilian Grand Prix is outlined below:
As the race got underway it was unsurprising to see pole sitter Jean-Pierre Jabouille drop down the field, his turbo charged Renault slow to get off the line. Jabouille dropping to fourth behind Gilles Villeneuve who took the lead from fourth and the two Ligier cars of Didier Pironi and Jacques Laffite. Going into turn three, Jabouille reclaimed third place from Laffite. Further down the field, Ricardo Zunino spun off the circuit after colliding with the back of John Watson's McLaren. Jabouille now up to speed managed to then retake second from Pironi on the second lap. A few corners later, Jabouille was back into the lead going past Villeneuve's Ferrari.
Carlos Reutemann had his second successive retirement, going out with drivershaft failure. Mario Andretti then spun out of the race on the second lap. Villeneuve then relinquished second position to Pironi.
Lap five saw Pironi and Villeneuve come into the pits for new tyres, the Interlagos circuit running heavy on the tyre degradation. The second Ferrari of Jody Scheckter suffering from engine trouble, relinquished sixth to Nelson Piquet before retiring from the race when his engine blew. Jacques Laffite then retired from the race whilst in second position, allowing René Arnoux into second place, meaning it was now a Renault one-two at the front.
Lap eleven saw Piquet receive a left rear puncture forcing him to come into pits for new tyres. The puncture however had damaged his suspension and a few laps later a suspension failure sent him into the barriers.
Pironi was making a comeback drive through the field, dicing with the Arrows of Riccardo Patrese for sixth position, finally getting past on lap 25. Race leader, Jabouille then pulled into the pits to retire, his turbo charger that had been troubling him throughout the weekend had failed. Jabouille furious to have lost the race, having wanted to start in the spare car but being prevented from doing so by team manager Jean Sage.
Alain Prost was doing well, competing for sixth position with Patrese's Arrows. Prost overtaking Patrese on lap 34, only for Patrese to retake the position from him around the outside of the 170 mph Curva 1. Prost eventually took the position from him to take sixth. With only four laps to go, Villeneuve whilst running in fourth was forced to retire when his car spun off the circuit when his throttle jammed open.
René Arnoux therefore took a dominant first ever Formula One win, 21 seconds ahead of Elio de Angelis in second place. Alan Jones was third for Williams ahead of Pironi, Prost and Patrese.
Arnoux notably running out of fuel after crossing the finish line, hitching a ride back to the pits on Riccardo Patrese's Arrows.
- The last race for Autódromo José Carlos Pace in its old layout.
- The last time a flat-12-engined car led a race.
- First podium finish for Elio de Angelis.
Standings after race
|V T E||Brazilian Grand Prix / São Paulo Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Interlagos (1972–1977, 1979–1980, 1990–present), Jacarepaguá (1978, 1981–1989)|
|Races (Brazilian GP)||1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020|
|Races (São Paulo GP)||2021|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|