Alan Stanley Jones MBE (born 2 November 1946 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), is a former racing driver who won the World Championship in 1980. He drove for Hesketh, Hill, Surtees, Shadow, Williams, Arrows and Lola during his career.
The son of racing driver Stan Jones, Alan got an early start in motorsport but due to a lack of finance, saw his progress up the ranks to be quite slow. He finally reached Formula Three aged 24 in 1971, and eventually made his F1 début, aged 28, at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix for Hesketh. After a few races, Jones moved to Graham Hill's team to replace the injured Rolf Stommelen, scoring his first points with fifth place in Germany.
In 1976, Jones moved to the team of another Champion of the 1960s, John Surtees. Jones managed three point-scoring finishes, including fourth at the Japanese Grand Prix. The next year, after originally declining an F1 seat, he joined Shadow replacing the late Tom Pryce. In a breakthrough season, Jones scored his first victory at the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix and a third place at Italy, both after starting from the middle of the grid.
Changing teams once again, for 1978 Jones originally signed a deal with Ferrari, but with a clause allowing the Italian team to replace him with a North American driver, and when Gilles Villeneuve came into the picture, Jones was out. This lead Jones to become the sole driver for Frank Williams' latest venture. For a new team, the car performed well, with Jones scoring a podium for second place at Watkins Glen at the penultimate race. Continuous improvement was made heading into 1979. After a slow start to the season, Williams became one of the front runners in the second half of the year. Jones took four wins, maximising his points total for the second half of the season, and claiming third in the title race. Jones also took victory in the Gunnar Nilsson Memorial Trophy.
1980 turned out to be an excellent year for Jones. Starting with a victory in Argentina, Jones took five total wins (also including the final two races) and five other podiums to become F1 World Champion by a margin of thirteen points over Nelson Piquet, taking a commanding title lead in the penultimate race. Jones also took victory in the controversial non-championship race, the Spanish Grand Prix, which was originally meant to be a full championship event.
In 1981, the original first race was declared non-championship, after which Jones claimed the first championship race of the season in Long Beach. A mid-season slump saw teammate Carlos Reutemann challenge Piquet more strongly for the title, and Jones was out of contention for the final race of the season, which the Australian won to classify third in the Championship.
Jones suddenly retired from F1 ahead of the 1982, claiming wanting to enjoy his family life and not wanting ground effect cars; Williams replaced him with Finn Keke Rosberg. The motor racing bug hadn't left him, though, and he began competing in domestic Australian races. An opportunity then opened at Ferrari, following the death of Villeneuve, but Jones refused, and Mario Andretti drove instead. With ground effect cars being banned, Jones looked to make a comeback in 1983, signing a deal with Arrows for the United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach and non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. Despite breaking his leg in a horse riding accident, Jones took part in both events, retiring in Long Beach but finishing third at Brands Hatch. He would have competed in more races, but was unable to pick up sponsorship and he was replaced by pay driver Chico Serra.
Remaining in Europe after this, Jones competed in the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing sixth with Vern Schuppan and Jean-Pierre Jarier. Returning down under in 1985, Jones took part in the first seven rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championship before an opportunity to replace an injured Andretti in a CART race lead to Jones resuming his F1 career at Lola. Driving only a few races, including the first time that the Australian Grand Prix was held as an full F1 race, Jones failed to reach the chequered flag each time. In 1986, Jones only managed two points finishes, and he retired from F1 for good.
Following his retirement, Jones entered Japanese endurance racing in 1987 and Asia-Pacific Touring Cars in 1988. After a break in 1989, Jones returned to Australia, racing in the Australian Touring Car Championship. He slowly built his speed up, eventually winning three races, two in 1993 and one in 1994; he was also classified second in the title race in 1993. He retired from competitive racing in 2002, aged 56. In 2005 he joined the short-lived Grand Prix Masters series, but withdrew from the first race citing neck pains.
Outside of a racing car, Jones has co-presented F1 for Nine Network F1 and Network TEN F1, managed the Australian A1 Grand Prix team and, most recently, one of the ex-driver stewards who provides a racing driver's view on situations.
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 Formula One
- 3 1982–1985: First Retirement
- 4 Return to Formula One
- 5 Formula One Retirement
- 5.1 Post-Formula One racing
- 5.2 Formula One Commentary
- 5.3 2005–2009: A1 Team Australia
- 5.4 2010–present: FIA Formula One Steward
- 6 Formula One Statistical Overview
- 7 Notes
- 8 External links
Early life and career[edit | edit source]
Early years[edit | edit source]
Alan Jones was born in Melbourne, Australia where he attended Xavier College during his schooling years. Jones who was raised in a motor racing environment sought from a young age to emulate his father, Stan Jones. The elder Jones was one of Australia's top racing driver's from the 1950s, Stan had won the 1958 Australian Driver's Championship in a Formula One class Maserati 250F as well as the 1958 Australian Grand Prix. He was considered strong enough for Formula One and conducted test drives for both BRM and Ferrari. Jones however declined to move to Europe in order to stay in operation with his successful car business and his family in Australia.
Stan had been training his son Alan from a young age to enter a career into motorsport and at the age of 15 Alan had won his first karting championship. As well as this Jones worked in his father's car dealership as a mechanic and occasionally raced his father's Mini and single seated Cooper. A promising motor racing career was nearly cut short when his father's business went bankrupt during the Australian economic recession of the late 1960s. In 1967, Jones at the young age of 20 went on a holiday with friends to the United Kingdom and Europe. Touring the local race courses, Jones had decided that if he was truly going to do motorsport for a living, he would have to move to Europe in order to be successful. However unfortunately for Jones he lacked even the finances for a Formula Ford drive.
Three years later in 1970, Jones had made the move to the United Kingdom with little more than 50 pounds in his pocket. Jones and fellow Australian driver Brian McGuire started a business selling well used minivan's to fellow Australian migrants. The meager profits earned from this business was enough for Jones to enter motor racing on a shoe string budget.
1971–1973: Formula Three[edit | edit source]
Jones's initial career had little impact. Due to his constricted budget he had been racing around in Formula Ford with little success, however in 1971 he had acquired enough finances to purchase an old Lotus 41 for Formula Three. Jones's initial plan was to upgrade it to Formula Two specifications and sell it in Australia in order to finance a season in Formula Three. This plan went horribly wrong however when he crashed the car at Brands Hatch where he both broke his leg and destroyed the car.
Jones who was going through troubled times had a morale boost when his father Stan moved to the United Kingdom in late 1971 to be with his son. However the 1972 season proved little better than the season before, the lack of budget proving difficult for Jones to prove himself. The following year in 1973, Jones signed for a low-end team called DART Racing. The year started with another added low, Alan's father Stan died due to a stroke. Despite being distraught by his father's loss, Jones would finally prove himself in 1973. The first race after his father's death, Jones took his first Formula Three victory at Silverstone. Jones was an immediate title contender, he took three wins in the entire season and lost the championship by only two points to Tony Brise.
1974: Formula Atlantic[edit | edit source]
After his successful Formula Three campaign, Jones moved up into the British Formula Atlantic campaign for 1974. Jones once again made a successful entrance into the category, despite racing for a multitude of amateur team's Jones won three races in the season. In one event, the support race for the 1974 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, Jones whilst racing for Harry Stiller dominated his opponents, lapping at such a speed to match the Formula One cars at the back of the grid. Team manager Harry Stiller was convinced from this performance that Jones needed his Formula One break and began working on getting Jones a Formula One drive.
Formula One[edit | edit source]
1975: Harry Stiller Racing and Hill[edit | edit source]
Harry Stiller who had vowed to get Jones onto the Formula One grid for 1975, failed to attain Jones a seat in time for the beginning of the new season. Stiller however continued to pursue a way for Jones to make his way into Formula One before the end of the season.
Failing to make it into Formula One, Jones raced in Formula 5000 for most of the season. He once again proved successful and took another two race wins during the season. Stiller had meanwhile purchased a Hesketh 308B for Jones to compete in Formula One with for the remainder of the season. Jones's first race was a non-championship event, the 1975 BRDC International Trophy. Jones finished a solid seventh in the event.
Jones's first championship event was at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix. Jones had crashed into Mark Donohue's Penske on the third lap when both driver's spun off after spinning on oil from Jody Scheckter's Tyrrell. Jones's first race was marred by a much more serious accident in which Rolf Stommelen for Hill was pitched into the grandstands killing four people and severely injuring himself.
Jones in the private Hesketh competed in the next three races with little success, his team's car and budget preventing him from challenging higher up the order. After three races, Stiller no longer could finance Jones's Formula One effort, however in one final act Stiller approached former world champion turned team owner Graham Hill for Jones to fill the second seat at the Hill team following the injury of Stommelen.
Hill agreed and Jones took on the second seat at the Hill team, joining his former Formula Three and Formula Atlantic rival Tony Brise in the team. The Hill car was not easy to drive and Jones regularly struggled in the mid-field with the car. It was not until the 1975 German Grand Prix that Jones finally proved himself in Formula One. Despite a poor qualifying at the gruelling Nurburgring circuit, Jones proved himself in the race as he climbed up the field to finish the race in fifth position, the team's highest finish of the season and Jones's first points placing. This proved to be the end of the season for Jones as the now recovered Stommelen had reclaimed his seat for the remainder of the season.
1976: Surtees[edit | edit source]
Jones's successful debut season in 1975 saw him draw the attention of the Surtees team ran by another former world champion turned team manager, John Surtees. The Surtees team had been struggling in recent years, but a major sponsership deal from Durex saw hope for improvement for the new season. Jones was offered a drive in the non-championship race at the 1976 Race of Champions. Jones immediately excelled in the race, finishing the event in second position behind the McLaren of James Hunt. Jones's performance had impressed John Surtees so much that he signed him for the remainder of the season alongside young American driver Brett Lunger.
Despite a promising start, Jones's campaign with Surtees turned out to be dreadful. The car proved difficult to drive and troublesome. Despite the troubles Jones was able to consistently muscle his car onto the back of the grid consistently, where as teammate Lunger who proved no match for his teammate struggled regularly to qualify. Jones despite the poorly Surtees car was beginning to establish a reputation as a fast and consistent driver. Rarely making a mistake, Jones was often able to capitalise on other's misfortune where he would slowly climb the field and on occasions climb into points positions. At the Belgian and British events, Jones was able to move into fifth position achieving points finishes for the Surtees team.
However his most significant performance of the season was at the final event at the notorious 1976 Japanese Grand Prix. The race notable for its controversy of being held in monsoon conditions and the final championship showdown between James Hunt and Niki Lauda saw Jones once again capitalise from the misfortune and trouble of others. Starting from a lowly 20th on the grid, Jones climbed the field with his rivals either retiring or struggling in the troublesome conditions. Jones had climbed up to a remarkable fourth position which soon became third when race leader and championship challenger James Hunt was forced into the pits. Hunt needing a third place to win the title came upon the rear of Jones where he overtook with relative ease. Hunt and many others within the Formula One community believed that Jones had slowed down and allowed Hunt through to take the third place in order to secure his world title, an act Jones denies claiming that Hunt had simply passed him on the track. Nonetheless the move saw Jones receive the support and admiration from the new world champion for the remainder of his career.
Although 1976 had seen Jones prove himself as a driver, he had become increasingly disillusioned with the Surtees team throughout the season. Jones believed John Surtees to be an ineffectual team leader who refused to listen to Jones's advice on changes he believe needed to be made on the car. Despite the disagreements, Surtees could not deny his driver's potential and offered a contract for 1977. Jones however was fed up with the troubles at the Surtees team and refused the contract even if it meant sacrificing a race seat amongst the Formula One grid for the following season.
1977: Shadow[edit | edit source]
Having turned down a seat for Formula One in 1977, Jones returned to Australia to compete in the Rothmans International Series throughout January and February with the Theodore team. Jones finished third in the series taking one victory. He then moved with the Theodore team to begin a campaign in North America in the Can-Am series.
After only three races of competing in the series, Jones received a call from Shadow team boss Jackie Oliver asking if he would be willing to join the team for the remainder of the Formula One season. Their driver, Tom Pryce, had been killed in the South African Grand Prix and the team were in need of a replacement. Jones agreed to join the team, cutting short his Can-Am campaign and rejoining the Formula One circus from the fourth round onwards.
The Shadow DN8 was a reasonable mid-field running car which enabled Jones to further showcase his abilities. Jones scored his first points of the season with a sixth place at the 1977 Monaco Grand Prix. The next race in Belgium, Jones shined once again. After a poor qualifying which saw him start from 17th he climbed up the field where his Shadow ran as high as third at one point. His car was eventually overtaken by Ronnie Peterson and Vittorio Brambilla, yet Jones put in another commendable performance to finish fifth in the race.
However it was the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix where Jones really shined. After an average qualifying which saw qualify 14th, the race turned out to be a one of opportunity for Jones and the Shadow team. Before the race commenced, heavy rains had afflicted the track, however once the race began the skies had cleared. The track remained wet with most drivers struggling on slick tyres. Jones's Shadow however worked brilliantly in the wet conditions and he began to climb the ranks of the field. By lap 12 he was up into fourth place where he soon overtook the two cars of Jody Scheckter and Hans-Joachim Stuck ahead of him. The only car ahead of him was James Hunt's McLaren which proved to be the only car on track that Jones could not match. However on lap 44, Hunt's engine blew allowing Jones to take the lead where he went on to take a comfortable first win , 20 seconds ahead of Niki Lauda's Ferrari in second.
Jones excelled once again two races later at the Italian Grand Prix. After qualifying 16th, Jones drove another consistent and strong race to climb up to third position by the races end allowing him to take his second podium finish of his career. In Canada, Jones got his best qualifying result to date with a seventh place starting position, he was then rewarded to go on to finish in fourth place. The final race of the season in Japan saw Jones go on to take another fourth place to finish the season. Jones finished the season seventh in the driver's standings where he scored all of Shadow's points bar one during the season.
1978–1981: Williams[edit | edit source]
1978[edit | edit source]
After his win in Austria and third in Italy in 1977, Jones's reputation had increased significantly. When Niki Lauda had announced his departure from Ferrari in 1977, the team contacted Jones for a race drive in 1978. Jones met with Enzo Ferrari and signed a contract for 1978 with the team. However there was one notable clause in the contract. The team were looking for a North American driver to boost their sales within North America and in the event the team could find a North American driver, Jones's contract would be rendered obsolete. Unfortunately for Jones, such a thing did happen when Ferrari signed Gilles Villeneuve for 1978, rendering Jones out of the drive for the team.
Luckily for Jones he was also in contact with manager Frank Williams who had recently formed a new team for 1978, Williams Grand Prix Engineering. After being impressed with the team's new car, the Williams FW06 designed by Patrick Head, Jones signed for the fledgling team as the sole driver within the team.
The FW06 was a dependable car, however its capability to produce strong results was overshadowed by the new generation of 'ground effect' cars that had began to dominate in 1978. The car was capable, however, of regularly qualifying within the bottom half of the top ten on occassions and Jones was definately running as one of the fastest midfield runners on the grid.
He scored Williams's first points in the third round of the championship in South Africa where he garnered a fourth place from 18th on the grid. His next points finish came in France where he finished in fifth position. The next few races were ones of missed opportunities, he qualified in sixth place for both the British and German Grand Prix's, but retired from mechanical failure in both these events. In Austria Jones was caught in a multi-car pile-up and retired whilst in the Netherlands he suffered another mechanical failure. Jones had another sixth place qualifying position at Monza but failed to produce a strong result.
Jones's best result of the season came at the penultimate race at Watkins Glen. Jones qualified in a fantastic third place behind Mario Andretti and Carlos Reutemann. The start saw Jones drop to fourth behind Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari. He was however able to overtake Andretti for third place and then was promoted to second when Villeneuve went out with a blown engine. Jones went on to take a second place finish, 20 seconds behind Reutemann's Ferrari.
It had been a strong start to the Williams-Jones partnership, Jones had begun to establish a very strong technical and personal relationship with the Williams management in Frank Williams and Patrick Head. Jones finished the season in eleventh in the Constructor's standings, however it was evident by the season's end that the Williams team was quite rapidly gaining momentum on its competitors.
Aside from his Formula One ventures, Jones also competed in a season of Can-Am in North America for Carl Haas's team. Jones dominated the series where he took five victories out of the nine events. Jones missed the final round of the championship due to conflicting F1 interests therefore winning all but three of the races he took part in. Two of the races he did not win, he still was able to score podiums further proving his worth to the motoring world.
1979[edit | edit source]
In 1979, Jones was joined at Williams by one of Formula One's most senior racing drivers, Clay Regazzoni. The team would have to start the season with the old car, the FW06. The team's successor the Williams FW07 was not ready in time for the start of the season.
As was expected Williams struggled in the opening races, the old FW06 was not up to par with the new generation of cars. Jones and Regazzoni struggled in the first three races of the season. Jones was however able to provide the FW06 an appropriate send-off before it was replaced by the FW07. In the Long Beach race, Jones qualified in a strong tenth place. After a strong start to climb to fifth. In the middle stages of the race, Jones was able to overtake Mario Andretti and Jean-Pierre Jarier to take third position in the race, taking his first points and podium of the season.
For the next race at Jarama, the FW06 was replaced with the FW07, the Williams team's first attempt at constructing a ground effect car to compete with the front runners. The car's inital debut was not successful, both Jones and Regazzoni qualifying in the midfield, the race then saw both cars retire with mechanical troubles.
The car's second race at Zolder turned out to be much more competitive than its first. Jones had qualified fourth on the grid and at the start moved into second position behind Patrick Depailler's Ligier. Jones then lost second to the second Ligier of Jacques Laffite, however soon was back into second when Depailler began to drop back. Then on lap 24, Jones reclaimed the lead from Laffite and began to pull away. His hopes of a Williams first victory were dashed on lap 41 when he went out with an electrical failure.
The next race in Monaco, both Jones and Regazzoni were strong and challenging amongst the leaders. Jones was forced out of the race from third position when he suffered a steering failure that pitched him into the barriers. The French race saw another strong result for Williams as the team got its first double points finish with Jones finishing in fourth with Regazzoni two places behind in sixth.
The FW07 was improving significantly and at the pre-race testing at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, Williams were consistently lapping the circuit faster than all its rivals. It was no surprise then to see Jones take a commanding first pole position with Regazzoni only a few places down in fourth place. As the race commenced, the two Williams cars took the lead with Jones leading Regazzoni and pulling away significantly from the rest of the field. Jones looked like once again to have a comfortable race win, yet his car once again would let him down. Jones retired on the 38th lap with an overheating engine. He was forced to look on as teammate Regazzoni took a comfortable first win for Williams at their home grand prix.
The next race at Hockenheim provided better fortunes for Jones, he qualified in second position behind Jean-Pierre Jabouille's Renault, however at the start he stormed into the lead and thereafter was never challenged. Regazzoni came home to finish second as Jones who failed to get Williams's first win was at least able to ensure the team's first one-two victory.
Jones's momentum continued in Austria as he qualified in second position. He maintained his position into the first corner where he duelled with Gilles Villeneuve for the lead, until lap 3 when Jones occupied the lead. Thereafter Jones was never challenged taking the victory 36 seconds ahead of Villeneuve.
At Zandvoort, Jones qualified second once again, the Renault cars proving the only match to the Williams in qualifying with René Arnoux on pole. Nonetheless Jones stormed into the lead once again where he went on to take another victory, twenty seconds ahead of championship leader Jody Scheckter. By now Jones was third in the championship, only ten points behind Scheckter and only two behind Laffite ahead of him.
Mechanical troubles at Monza meant that he struggled and finished outside of the points, effectively ruling him out of the championship running. However it was a return to form at the Canadian race. Jones missed out on pole to the home talent of Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari and in the race Villeneuve led Jones away. For much of the early race, Jones shadowed Villeneuve however then became much more aggressive his overtaking attempts on the Canadian. Jones was finally able to overtake Villeneuve by squeezing him down the inside at the hairpin where the two notably banged wheels. Villeneuve conceded the place and Jones took victory. Scheckter secured the title with his fourth place, however the battle for the runner-up would continue to the final race at Watkins Glen between Jones and Villeneuve.
The final race of the season saw Jones take another pole position ahead of his rival Villeneuve in second place. The start of the race was damp with most driver's starting on wet tyres, Villeneuve took the lead with Jones pursuing in second place. As the track began to dry both Villeneuve and Jones pitted on lap 31 for dry tyres. Villeneuve exited the pits fine but as Jones exited the pits, one of his wheels was not properly fixed and came off, bouncing down the pitlane luckily avoiding to hit any bystanders.
Jones's retirement meant that his final championship position would be third, finishing behind Villeneuve in the standings. Williams were however able to score the runners-up laurels in the constructor's championship. Their new FW07 car had become by the mid-season the fastest car on the Formula One grid, Jones lost the title based on the team's inconsistency at the start of the year as well as the reliability problems that hindered his ability to take several more wins to the team.
1980[edit | edit source]
Despite missing out on the championship in 1979, Williams headed into 1980 with what was believed to be the fastest and most consistent car in the championship. The team's renowned Williams FW07 was further upgraded ahead of 1980 with Jones and Williams believed to be the main championship contenders. Regazzoni had been replaced in the team as number two driver by Carlos Reutemann, the Argentine was considered to be very fast on his day but extremely inconsistent in his race performances.
The first race of the season was held at Buenos Aires for the Argentine Grand Prix. Jones dominated qualifying to take a convincing pole position. In the race he immediately began to pull away from his rivals and began to open a significant lead. He experienced a hitch in his race when a plastic bag got lodged in his radiators which began to hurt his performance forcing him to come into the pits to get it removed. This dropped Jones down to fourth in the race. He battled past Villeneuve's Ferrari only to spin and drop to fourth again. He was soon past the Ferrari driver, Jacques Laffite in the Ligier then suffered an engine failure which promoted him to second and soon enough he had past Nelson Piquet's Brabham for the lead. Jones began to pull away at a drastic pace, going on to win the race 24 seconds ahead of Piquet behind him.
In Brazil, Jones suffered a poor qualifying only managing tenth on the grid. Despite being uncompetitive in the race, Jones drove consistently making it up to third by the race's end due to the retirements of many cars ahead of him. Jones had another poor qualifying in South Africa managing only eighth on the grid. However Jones made his customary strong start to climb up to third by the first corner, slotting in behind the two Renault's of Jabouille and Arnoux. Jones was unable to compete with the faster turbo charged Renault's and soon came under pressure from the two Ligier cars of Jacques Laffite and Didier Pironi. Laffite made it past Jones whilst Jones and Pironi continued to battle. Jones however went out of the race with gearbox failure ending his duel with Pironi.
His failure to finish in South Africa had dropped Jones to second in the standings behind Arnoux's Renault. Long Beach was the next venue on the calendar and Jones could only manage fifth in qualifying. The start saw him move past Jan Lammers and then a couple of laps later he was past championship leader Arnoux. By the mid-race, Jones had moved past Patrick Depailler to take second and had began to chase after race leader Piquet. However on lap 49 as he was making his way through backmarkers, Bruno Giacomelli's Alfa Romeo failed to give way and the two driver's collided. Giacomelli caused both himself and Jones to retire due to his mistake. A second failure to finish in a row from Jones meant that he dropped to third in the standings behind Long Beach winner Nelson Piquet.
After a wet qualifying at Zolder, Jones took pole position ahead of the two Ligier cars of Pironi and Laffite. The start saw Jones drop behind Pironi's Ligier. The young Frenchman proved untouchable in the race with Jones and Laffite battling for second place. Laffite dropped out mid race with brake problems leaving Jones to finish second, a solid 47 seconds behind Pironi as the second Williams of Reutemann took third. Jones's strong result in the race saw him move into second in the championship, only two points behind leader Arnoux.
The next race in Monaco, Jones qualified in third place behind teammate Reutemann and Pironi. On the second lap Jones overtook Reutemann and began to battle Pironi's Ligier. However for the second race in succession, the Ligier of Pironi proved to be too quick and Jones began to drop back. On lap 24 Jones pulled into the pits to retire with differential failure. With Pironi crashing out of the race, Reutemann took the race win with main championship rival Piquet finishing third. Piquet's third place meant he took the lead of the championship ahead of Arnoux and Jones.
The next venue in Jarama in Spain was surrounded by controversy. From the moment before practice began there was doubt that the race would be counted towards the world championship due to a dispute between the British led FOCA and the French governing body FISA. Jones qualified in second position behind the Ligier of Laffite. The start saw him overtake Laffite, however teammate Reutemann made the strongest start to take first place. Jones tailed Reutemann until he missed a gear which saw him drop behind Laffite, Pironi and Piquet. Reutemann and Laffite later crashed out of the race leaving Jones once again chasing Pironi in second place. Overheating problems saw Jones drop back from Pironi, however when a wheel dislocated from Pironi's car, Jones reclaimed the lead to take a comfortable race victory. Had the Spanish event counted to world championship points, Jones would have reclaimed the championship. Following the race, Jones was livid at the FISA in particular its President Jean-Marie Balestre who he felt had robbed him of his race victory. Jones stated after the race "Whatever Balestre or anyone else says, that was a Grand Prix as far as I'm concerned, and I won it."
The next race was held at Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix. Jones was determined for a good result in order to get revenge on the French led FISA for the removal of the Spanish race from the world championship. Jones qualified in fourth behind the two Ligier's of Laffite and Pironi as well as Renault's Arnoux, all three notably French cars and drivers. The start saw Jones maintain position behind the three, however as the race progressed Jones overtook both Pironi and Arnoux. Laffite was dominating out front, however tyre degradation saw him drop back and eventually Jones took the lead of the race. Jones went on to take the win where he notably following the race raised the Union Jack of Great Britain in his hands during the parade lap, a gesture which was seen by many as aimed to humiliate the FISA on their home turf. Jones had also reclaimed his lead in the world championship during the race.
The British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch was the next venue. Jones qualified in third, the two Ligier's once again out performing him in qualifying. In the race they proved too competitive once again as they pulled away, Jones remaining a distant third. Pironi was to drop out with tyre problems and then later Laffite crashed out with a puncture, reliability issues proving their downfall once again. Jones meanwhile was there to pick up the pieces and took his third successive race victory with Piquet trailing behind him.
At Hockenheim, Jones once again took pole position just ahead of the two turbo charged Renaults. The start saw him drop behind the two Renaults of Jabouille and Arnoux, the turbo charged cars having an advantage on the long straights of the Hockenheim circuit. However Renault's poor reliability record would haunt them once again in Germany with both cars retiring. Jones inherited the lead and was set for his fourth consecutive win, however a puncture to the front left tyre dropped him to third behind Laffite's Ligier and teammate Reutemann. Jones remained in third for the remainder of the race. There was some post-race controversy surrounding Jones where he notably failed to attend the podium ceremony. Upon hearing FISA President Jean-Marie Balestre was to conduct the hand-outs of the trophies, Jones refused to attend the podium. Jones continued to disdain Balestre for failing to acknowledge his win in Jarama as a championship race.
In Austria, Jones qualified behind the Renault's, the long straights of the Österreichring once again playing into the hands of the Renaults. Jones briefly was able to overtake the two driver's at the start but then soon fell behind Jabouille and Arnoux. The pace of the Renault's once again reigned supreme on the fast circuits, however their reliability problems would cause the retirement of Arnoux allowing Jones back into second. Jones remained in second for the remainder of the race finishing behind Jabouille and a place ahead of Reutemann.
The Italian race at Imola saw the Renault's dominate qualifying once again, Jones could only manage sixth on the grid a single place behind his nearest championship challenger Nelson Piquet. During the race Jones was not quick, however the retirement of many of his challengers in front of him saw him being promoted through the field. The Brabham car of Nelson Piquet took a dominating win, Jones could only manage second over 29 seconds adrift of the young Brazilian charger. The result saw Piquet ovetake Jones in the world championship, now leading Jones by a single point.
The penultimate round in the championship at Montreal proved to be the title showdown between Jones and Piquet. Piquet and Brabham had found a resurgence in Italy where they took a dominant win. Their form was set to continue as Piquet dominated the qualifying session, Jones was second on the grid however remained some way off Piquet's pace. When the race began, Jones made his customary strong start and went down the inside of Piquet heading into turn one. Piquet failed to give way and the two collided, Piquet spinning into the wall and causing a multi-car pile-up. The race was stopped, Jones had suffered minor damage to his rear wing but was able to take the restart in the same car, Piquet meanwhile was forced to start in his spare car. Jones had a strong start to take the lead from Piquet on the restart. His lead would only last for a short time as Piquet proved much quicker and was soon overtaken. Piquet's Brabham began to pull away drastically. However to Piquet's misfortune his engine blew up on lap 24 meaning that all Jones needed to do to win the title was win the race. His car began to handle strangely at the rear following his accident with Piquet and he began to slow. Jones let Didier Pironi through to take the lead, however luckily for Jones, Pironi had received a minute time penalty for jumping the start. With Pironi being handed a time penalty, Jones followed the Ligier driver to take the race victory and become Australia's second world champion, winning the country's first title since Jack Brabham in 1966.
The final race of the season was the United States Grand Prix East at Watkins Glen. Qualifying in fifth position, Jones made a strong start to climb to second before outbraking himself into the first corner and going wide off the circuit. This meant he dropped nearly to last place. Jones would then stage a strong comeback drive, climbing through the field he managed to claw his way back into second, following a notable battle with teammate Reutemann for the position. He was promoted to the lead when race leader Bruno Giacomelli retired, Jones going on to take the race victory ahead of Reutemann.
Following his win in the US, Jones returned to Australia during the off-season of Formula One, now as a national sporting hero. Jones's 1980 championship win had now sparked a national interest in Formula One for Australians. Jones was invited to compete in the 1980 Australian Grand Prix, traditionally a Formula 5000 event, the 1980 race was open to Formula One driver's and cars to celebrate Jones's 1980 championship win. Jones and his championship winning FW07 entered the race at Calder Park, also in attendance was Bruno Giacomelli's Alfa Romeo and Didier Pironi in a F5000 car. Jones battled Giacomelli for the lead during the race, eventually going on to win the non-championship race ahead of Giacomelli and Pironi. The race which was covered by Nine Network's Wide World of Sports saw the television then go on to announce coverage for every round of the 1981 world championship, following the demand for Formula One in Australian viewers.
1981[edit | edit source]
For 1981, Alan Jones was firmly established as the number one driver within the Williams team. Carlos Reutemann remained in the team but was forced to sign as an effective number two to Jones at Williams. Whilst Jones was popular and worked well with the Williams team, Reutemann had proved to be moody and unreliable despite proving to be a very quick racing driver in the previous season.
Tensions between FOCA and FISA meant that the first round of the championship at Kyalami meant that the race was stripped of championship points as the Spanish race had been done the previous year. Reutemann took the race victory as Jones struggled throughout the race before going on to retire with a loose skirt. The first race to count for championship points was the Long Beach race in the USA. Jones was second on the grid with teammate Reutemann in third, Patrese's Arrows in an unexpected pole. The two Williams cars took the lead, Reutemann leading Jones. Whilst the two cars appeared evenly matched in pace, Reutemann under team orders was forced to give way to Jones who went on to take the race win.
Whilst Jones walked away from Long Beach in prime position to defend his title, his teammate Reutemann was privately fuming at having to give way to his teammate so early in the season when the two drivers were so evenly matched. This conflict was to come to a head in the next round of the championship in Brazil. Whilst Piquet took pole position, Reutemann and Jones were right behind him in their Williams's. The race held in pouring rain saw Piquet's Brabham fade as the two Williams cars were set to dominate once again. Reutemann led whilst Jones tailed him throughout the race, patiently waiting for Reutemann to get the order to let his team leader through. Late in the race, the Williams team brought out the pit signal which ordered Reutemann to move over. Much to Jones's confusion, his teammate refused to let him through. Jones continued to patiently wait for Reutemann to let him through rather than fight him but Reutemann defiantly disobeyed his team not wishing to sacrifice a race win twice in a row. Reutemann won the race with Jones finishing in second place. Jones was furious with his teammate and refused to attend the podium celebration. From thereon Jones realised that Reutemann was not going to assist his championship endeavours and if he was to take a second world championship, it would be without the assistance of his 'number two' driver.
The next race in Argentina, Jones qualified ahead of Reutemann once again. However Piquet and Prost's Renault were notably ahead of him. In the race Jones suffered engine problems which saw him drop behind Reutemann in the race, despite being unable to challenge the top three he was able to salvage a fourth place finish in the race. Reutemann was now the new championship leader however, three points clear of Jones.
After a poor qualifying in San Marino, Jones made his traditional flying start going from eighth on the grid to fourth. Jones found himself inconveniently behind Reutemann. It was evident to all that neither driver viewed each other as teammates engaging in a brief bloodthirsty duel. As Jones went for an overtake, Reutemann angrily shut the door and in doing so took off Jones's front wing. A sudden loss of performance afflicted Jones and he was forced to pit for repairs, meaning he finished well outside of the points during the race. Reutemann took third whilst Jones's other old nemesis Nelson Piquet took the race win.
Heading into Zolder, Jones had dropped down to third in the championship standings. Reutemann consolidated a strong championship lead whilst Piquet had usurped him from second following his Monaco race win. Jones had another frustrating qualifying taking eighth once again, watching on as Reutemann took pole. In the race, Jones was a man on the move. Jones worked his way up into fourth place before getting stuck behind Piquet's Brabham. Jones was at this point the fastest car on track, however Piquet was preventing his further advancement by proving to be incredibly difficult to pass. Frustration eventually got the better of Jones and on the tenth lap, he forced his way down the inside of Piquet knocking the Brabham into the barriers. A furious Piquet stormed back to the pits and angrily berated Frank Williams about his driver, threatening to break Jones's legs at one point. Nonetheless once free of Piquet, Jones quickly disposed of Pironi and Reutemann ahead of him to take the lead. Jones was enjoying a comfortable lead with Reutemann distancing himself behind him in second place. However disaster then struck on lap 20, Jones missed a gear and went wide speering into the wall at the Bianchi turn. Upon impact with the barriers, the radiator exploded scalding Jones's leg. Jones shaken and battered from his recent accident, limped from the car however he had luckily escaped the accident largely unscathed.
The next race in Monaco, Jones had another disappointing qualifying only managing seventh. His race faired better as he climbed up the order due to the retirements of several cars in front of him. After overtaking Villeneuve's Ferrari, Jones began to chase after race leader Piquet. Piquet had heavily criticised Jones's driving style following their coming together in Belgium, something Jones himself was mightily unhappy about. Jones began to relentlessly attack Piquet's Brabham, the Brazilian doing all that he could to keep the Williams driver behind. Eventually Piquet's will to fend off the unrelenting Williams driver broke and he crashed into the wall, leaving Jones back into the lead. Jones was left in the lead seemingly unchallenged until lap 67 when his engine began to misfire. Jones returned to the pits for a check-up and exited the pits only just ahead of Villeneuve's Ferrari. Jones seemingly had the win in hand, however Villeneuve behind him was determined to get the race win and took the lead with four laps to go. Jones disappointingly finished behind Villeneuve, but had gained some crucial places in the championship with his second place finish. He was now second in the championship, ten points off teammate and arch rival Carlos Reutemann.
At Jarama, Jones put in a strong qualifying to put his Wiliams second on the grid, sitting behind only the Ligier of Jacques Laffite. He took the lead of the race at the start and began to pull out a drastic lead. For the third race in a row, Jones seemed to have the race in hand, however like in Zolder Jones made a crucial mistake and spun off the circuit. Jones was able to rejoin the race, but finished the grand prix well outside the points. Reutemann, gained three points on him in the championship, however his other key rival Piquet failed to finish the race.
The next round was held a Dijon for the French Grand Prix. It would be another poor weekend for Jones, it all began with a poor qualifying that saw him line up ninth on the grid. From the start of the race, Jones began to experience mechanical troubles that forced him into the pits for repairs. This therefore dropped him well out of contention. His rivalry with Piquet sparked up once again, despite being several laps behind the leaders due to his mishaps Jones was lapping at equal pace with the frontrunners. Jones came upon the rear of Piquet's Brabham who was leading the race. Piquet stubbornly refused to allow Jones through, much to the Australian's frustration. Jones finished the race for the second race in a row outside of the points. This had hurt his championship ambitions as he dropped to third in the standings, two points now behind Piquet.
Ahead of the next race in Silverstone, Jones led the GPDA against the FISA President, Jean-Marie Balestre surrouding the issue of fines being issued to drivers following the debacle in Zolder. Despite the two men despising one another, Jones on behalf of the GPDA managed to come to a compromise with Balestre surrounding the fines. The race would be markedly less succesful. After another poor qualifying which saw him start from seventh on the grid, Jones was taken out of the race when himself and another driver, Andrea de Cesaris crashed into the out of control Ferrari of Gilles Villeneuve.
At Hockenheim, Jones was able to improve his qualifying performance, starting from fourth on the grid behind Reutemann and the two Renault's of Arnoux and Prost. Jones was the man on the move and quickly disposed of Reutemann and Arnoux and began to challenge Alain Prost's Renault for the lead. As was typical of Jones, he began to employ a relentless attack method to the car in front of him. Prost's turbo charged Renault had the advantage on Hockenheim's long straights, however Jones was all over the rear of Prost in the corners. On lap 21, going into the Sachs-Kurve, Prost whilst lapping teammate Arnoux moved to the outside to pass. Jones on the other hand moved to Arnoux's inside and cunningly took the lead from Prost. Jones was set for another race win, but as was becoming a habit that season it was not to be. Jones's Ford-Cosworth began to misfire forcing him into the pits and once again dropping him well out of the points. Jones finished the race, but his championship hopes were beginning to wain as he failed once again to get a points finish.
In Austria, Jones qualified in sixth position. He would go on to drive an unspectacular race, however would break his five race duck of failing to finish by taking fourth place in the race. Much to his satisfaction, Jones finished one place above Reutemann who was unable to find a way past his teammate throughout the race. In Zandvoort, the Williams cars were competitive and Jones lined up fourth on the grid behind the two Renault's and Piquet's Brabham. In the warm-up, Jones and Reutemann were the fastest cars on track which would go on to reflect their race pace. Jones quickly moved up to second and for the second time that season began an intense duel with Prost's Renault for the lead. Unlike in Hockenheim however, Jones was unable to find a way passed and the continued failure to get passed Prost resulted in his Williams's tyre degradation. Eventually Jones began to fall back, the poor state of his tyres meant that Jones could not defend against Piquet who took second place. Jones went on to take third in the race.
At Monza, Jones qualified in a reasonable fifth position. Jones clawed his way through the field, overtaking Laffite, Piquet and Reutemann ahead of him to move into second place. Prost ahead of him was too quick and Jones could not challenge for the lead, however the Australian went on to take an unchallenged second place. The latter half of the season was proving to finally provide results for Jones who had endured a tough mid-season.
Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, much to everyone's surprise Jones announced he would be retiring from Formula One at the end of the season. Jones like many of his generation had criticised the new ground effect cars that were being run. The cars being uncomfortable to drive as well as being very dangerous had prompted Jones to make the decision to retire from Formula One. Jones still had a slim chance of reclaiming his title, he was third in the championship standings, nine points off Piquet and twelve points off leader Reutemann. In qualifying, Jones was third behind Piquet and Reutemann. He made his characteristic strong start, forcing himself into the lead, banging wheels with Reutemann in the process of heading into turn one. However once again whilst he was leading, Jones spun off the circuit throwing it all away. Jones dropped down the field and then shortly afterwards retired with differential failure. His failure to gain points meant that there was no longer any chance of him reclaiming his title in 1981.
The 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix in Las Vegas was set to be Jones's final race before retirement. His teammate Carlos Reutemann was favourite to take the title, duelling Piquet and Laffite for the title. Jones assured the paddock that Reutemann would not get any assistance from him in the race and Jones would be focussed entirely on himself and doing the best he could in his final race for Williams. In qualifying Reutemann took pole whilst Jones lined up alongside him, second on the grid. In the race Jones took an immediate lead and began to pull away from the start. Reutemann notably fading and dropping down the order. Jones went on to dominate the events, the troubles that plagued him that season seemed non existent as he took a dominant win in Las Vegas. Reutemann meanwhile fell out of the points and remarkably lost the championship to Nelson Piquet. Jones had won the opening and closing rounds of 1981 and the result in Las Vegas secured him third in the championship, a fitting end before Jones returned to Australia to begin his retirement.
1982–1985: First Retirement[edit | edit source]
1982: Domestic ventures[edit | edit source]
There were a number of factors that contributed to Alan Jones's rather surprising retirement in 1981. Jones was seen at the peak of his career and his retirement came to the paddock and especially his team Williams F1 as an enormous surprise. In 1979, Jones and his wife Beverley had an adoptive son, Christian. Now a father, Jones no longer felt he could adequately raise a son and be a full-time Formula One driver. To further enhance his decision, Jones detested the ground effect cars that were being used in the early 1980s. They were described as being as extremely uncomfortable to drive as well as being extremely dangerous.
It was only a short time before his announcement of his retirement in Canada, that Jones had informed Williams team leaders Frank Williams and Patrick Head of his impending retirement. Williams and Head who were at a loss at losing what they thought was their ideal driver spent much of the 1982 pre-season attempting to persuade Jones to rethink his decision to retire. Jones however remained adamant that he had made the right decision and a resigned Williams eventually signed Keke Rosberg for the new season.
Jones returned to his homeland in Australia and purchased a farm in rural Victoria to live with his family. Despite his Formula One retirement, Jones remained highly involved in racing and motorsport. In November 1981, for the second year running Jones participated in the Australian Grand Prix. The race held at Calder Park saw the attendance of F1 rivals Nelson Piquet and Jacques Laffite. Also in attendance was Roberto Moreno a future Formula One star as well as top line Australian race drivers such as Larry Perkins, Geoff Brabham and Alfredo Costanzo. Jones qualified in second place driving a Ralt, outmatched by the young Brazilian Roberto Moreno. Jones would fail to repeat his 1980 win due to a transmission failure.
Despite retiring from Formula One, Jones could not give up the racing bug and in 1982 began competing in multiple domestic categories. In this time Jones was able to further prove himself as Australia's top racing driver of the day. Jones competed a full season of the 1982 Australian GT Championship. In this series he went up against other Australian racing icons such as Peter Brock. Jones driving a Porsche 935 Turbo dominated the championship, winning all 16 races of the championship.
Jones also participated in the Australian Endurance Championship driving a Mazda RX-7. Jones participated in the James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst and the Gold Coast 300, retiring on both occasions. Jones also participated in two rounds of the Better Brakes Touring Car Championship. In both rounds, Jones battled Australian touring car legend, Allan Grice for the lead winning one round whilst finishing second to Grice in the other.
Jones also raced in the final two races of the Australian Drivers' Championship. Jones took second place behind championship winner Alfredo Costanzo. In the final round, it was the Australian Grand Prix at Calder Raceway. Jones was reunited with many of his Formula One colleagues who also attended the race. Jones would compete against Jacques Laffite, Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost in the event. Jones qualified seventh in the event, notably behind his rivals. The crowd was robbed the opportunity to see Jones battle amongst his old rivals when a broken flywheel prevented him from taking the start. Prost would go on to take a dominate win at the event.
In 1982, Jones considered making a comeback to Formula One with the Ferrari team. Gilles Villeneuve had been killed at Zolder whilst Didier Pironi was seriously injured at Hockenheim. Lacking a top level driver, Ferrari approached Jones to consider making a return to Formula One for the 1982 Italian Grand Prix. Jones was hesitant to sign, he still also begrudged the team for turning his back on his contract with the team for the 1978 season. Jones opted against returning, however would come to regret the move following the strong results of Mario Andretti whom the team had turned to after failing to sign Jones.
1983: Comeback with Arrows[edit | edit source]
The interest from Ferrari in 1982 had reignited Jones's passion for racing. By 1983 the ground effect cars that had disillusioned Jones in 1981 had been banned, in turn enhancing Jones's interest in Formula One. By the end of 1982, Jones had decided he wanted to re-enter Formula One, however despite conducting testing duties with his old team and friends at Williams in November 1982, the team had already signed drivers for the new season. All the other top teams also had signed drivers, forcing Jones to look at the midfield to make his Formula One return
. Jones approached Arrows team principal Jackie Oliver about signing from the second round of the championship onwards. Oliver was keen, however his small team's limited budget had meant that they were forced to take on two pay drivers. Jones, however hoped a Formula One return in Long Beach as a former world champion would attract sponsors to him and the team. Oliver agreed to sign Jones for two races, the United States Grand Prix and the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.
However there were immediate problems, only a few weeks before the Long Beach race, Jones fell off a horse whilst riding and broke his left leg. Jones had steel pins inserted into his leg to help the bone heal. He conducted a test with the team at Willow Springs in Los Angeles to confirm his fitness for the race. After a satisfactory performance, Jones made his way to Long Beach in preparation for the race. He qualified in twelfth position, beating his Arrows teammate Marc Surer by one place. In the race, Surer got by Jones and went on his way to fifth in the race. Jones, however struggled. He competed in eleventh position for awhile until he hit a barrier forcing him into the pits. After extensive repairs, Jones exited in last place, his legs began to pain in him in the race and with no chance of securing a good result he withdrew from the race.
Jones's second outing at the Race of Champions turned out to be much more succesful. Fully healed from his leg injuries, Jones put in an impressive qualifying performance to start from third on the grid. Teammate Chico Serra could only manage eleventh, confirming that Jones still had what it took to compete at the front. Jones ran a strong race to finish in the same position he started, taking the final podium place alongside Keke Rosberg and Danny Sullivan.
Despite an encouraging performance by Jones at the Race of Champions, Jones failed to acquire the sponsorship that he had expected. Jones was desperate to compete in the next round of the championship in France, however much to Arrows team principal's regret he was forced to sign the team's two pay drivers, Marc Surer and Chico Serra for the race. The team simply could not afford to race with Jones despite his skill and reputation. This brought an end to Jones's 1983 Formula One bid with no other team able to take him on without adequate sponsorship.
1983–1985: Semi-active racing involvement[edit | edit source]
Following his disappointment in Formula One, Jones remained in Europe to compete in endurance racing, competing in a round each of both the World Sportscar Championship and the European Sportscar Championship. Jones raced in a Porsche 956, completing both races in the midfield. Upon completion of these events, Jones returned to Australia resuming his role on Australian Television as a presenter for Nine Network's F1 coverage. At the end of the year, for the fourth year in a row Jones competed in the Australian Grand Prix at Calder Park. Only Jacques Laffite of his old F1 rivals turned up for the event. Jones qualified fourth in the race, two places ahead of Laffite but in the race could only manage fifth, finishing behind Roberto Moreno, John Smith, Jacques Laffite and Geoff Brabham.
In 1984, Jones turned his attention to Sportscar events. Jones competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time, teaming up with another top line Australian driver and former F1 racer Vern Schuppan. The pair competed in a Porsche 956B, performed well to take sixth in the standings. Jones then returned to Australia to compete in the Australian Endurance Championship, racing in a Holden Commodore. Jones continued to perform well taking tenth in the championship, even though only competing in three events. The final event Jones competed in during 1984 was the Sandown 1000. The race marked an event part of the World Sportscar Championship, Jones teamed up with Vern Schuppan once again to take eighth in the event.
By 1985, Jones had begun to look at making a more serious return to active involvement in motor racing. Jones sold his family farm in Victoria, Australia and returned to the driver's seat. Jones was heavily involved in touring cars for the first half of the year, competing in the Better Brakes AMSCAR series as well as the Australian Touring Car Championship. Jones found himself, competing full-time for the first time against other major Australian and New Zealand racing stars. Jones joined the works Alfa Romeo team alongside another prestigious Australian racer, Colin Bond. Bond had previously won the Australian Rally Championship and the Touring Car Championship and was a veteran touring car racer. Nonetheless Jones proved to consistently outmatch his rival, and whilst his Alfa Romeo GTV6 was unable to match the top cars such as Jim Richards BMW 635 CSi or the local brands of Dick Johnson's Ford Mustang GT and Peter Brock's Holden VK Commodore. Jones continued to demonstrate his pace, by consistently getting his Alfa home in fourth place behind the big three of Richards, Johnson and Brock. By July 1985, Jones had began to look internationally once again, focusing on trying to prove himself once again worthy of Formula One.
In the United States of America, former F1 rival Mario Andretti had injured himself whilst competing in an IndyCar event in Michigan. Andretti's team, Newman-Haas Racing was looking for a top level single seater driver to replace him. Carl Haas, team principal of Newman-Haas had previously worked with Jones before, when back in 1978 the two had won the Can-Am championship. Furthermore Haas was looking to expand his motorsport ventures beyond North America and expand into Formula One. Haas and Jones found common ground in their aims at Jones agreed to replace Andretti in the Provimi Veal 200 at the Road America circuit in Wisconsin. The race would contain many former Formula One pilots as well as many of North America's top racing drivers, it would be the perfect opportunity for Jones to make his mark. Jones stunned the IndyCar field by taking pole position on his debut. He seemed on course to win on his IndyCar debut, however due to mechanical trouble he dropped behind Jacques Villeneuve, Sr. and Michael Andretti. Nonetheless Jones finished third, proving he still had what it took to compete among the best.
Jones then participated in one round of the 1985 World Endurance Championship, racing for the Tom Walkinshaw ran Jaguar team at the 1000km of Brands-Hatch. Jones partnered with Jean-Louis Schlesser unfortunately retired early on in the race.
Return to Formula One[edit | edit source]
1985–1986: Haas Lola[edit | edit source]
1985[edit | edit source]
Shortly after Jones's success in IndyCar with the Haas team, Carl Haas announced that Alan Jones would be making a comeback to Formula One when the Haas outfit made their Formula One debut. The duo had hoped to reignite the success they had when last partnered together in 1978 when Jones won the Can-Am championship for the outfit. Jones felt Haas to be the perfect window of opportunity to gain a foothold back into a competitive seat in Formula One without having to convince the established team's.
The team had strong financial support from sponsor, Beatrice, as well as an established and experienced engineering crew. Teddy Mayer and Tyler Alexander, the former McLaren management team was selected to lead Haas Lola whilst Jones would be re-united with Neil Oatley and Ross Brawn, two engineers that had contributed to a lot of Jones's success in Formula One whilst at Williams. The team had also secured a deal with Ford-Cosworth to pioneer the development of Cosworth's first turbo engine, a replacement to the now obsolete Ford-Cosworth DFV. Whilst the team seemed promising, the first troubles in the team occured when Ford-Cosworth began to experience problems in the development programme in getting the turbo engine ready. As a result, Haas Lola were forced to turn to the somewhat unreliable and underperforming Hart engines in order to make the team's planned debut at the 1985 Italian Grand Prix.
Haas Lola made their Formula One entry at Monza with very little expectations. The team had still had very little running in the Neil Oatley-desgined Lola THL1, with Jones and Haas Lola seeking merely to acquaint themselves with the new Formula One. The Hart engine was also not expected to aid the team in performance. Jones, the lone Lola car entered into the race qualified in a lowly 25th out of 27 runners. After an unflattering start, Jones's Hart engine gave out after six laps and he was forced to retire.
Due to a reschedule of the next race at Spa-Francorchamps, Haas Lola were unable to enter the event due its original schedule earlier in the season which forced the team to miss out. Instead the team spend time, testing and preparing for the next event at Brands Hatch for the European Grand Prix. Jones and Lola make some small progress as Jones finds himself advancing up to 22nd on the grid. It would be another short event for Jones who retired on the 13th lap with radiator problems.
For the next race in South Africa at Kyalami, Jones further improved by putting his Lola eighteenth on the grid. However that night, Jones caught a nasty fever and at the advice of FIA race doctor Sid Watkins, Jones opted to withdraw from the race. The next race which saw the final round of the world championship was of particular importance to Jones. For the first time in history, the Australian Grand Prix would become apart of the Formula One World Championship. Being held on a newly designed street circuit in Adelaide, Jones was once again in the limelight as he was set to be the only Australian competing in the first FIA sanctioned F1 race in Australia.
Jones had the honour of being the first car out onto the track at the Adelaide circuit, FOCA boss Bernie Ecclestone organising it amongst the team's that Jones would conduct a parade lap to mark the beginning of practice. Nonetheless the Lola car, hindered by its under powered Hart engine meant that Jones could only manage 19th on the grid. Jones would not get a chance to prove his worth in the race either, his Lola car breaking down after 20 laps due to electrical faults.
1986[edit | edit source]
The Haas Lola outfit had competed in four events during 1985. In reality, the races had served as an installation tests ahead of the team's first full Formula One campaign in 1986. The car had proved unreliable and had not been more than a backmarker during the races it had competed in. However for 1986, the outfit hoped to be much more successful, the Lola THL2 was set to debut in the third round of the championship at San Marino. For 1986, Jones received a teammate in fellow F1 veteran and race winner, Patrick Tambay.
The first two rounds of the championship in Brazil and Spain would see the Lola team participating in the old THL1 chassis with the underpowered temporary Hart engine. From Imola onwards, the THL2 successor would race with the Ford Cosworth GBA engine, the engine suppliers first turbo charged engine. At the first round at the Jacarepaguá circuit, Jones was once again well off the pace, qualifying only 19th of the 25 starters. Tambay faired better however and showed promise for the Lola squad by qualifying in thirteenth. Jones lasted only five laps into the race before he suffered an engine failure whilst Tambay also went out on lap 20.
Following the Brazilian race there were questions about whether Jones still had the fitness and energy to compete in Formula One due to him being relatively off the pace in comparison to Tambay despite more time in the car. Jones responded by out-qualifying Tambay at Jerez albeit a lowly 17th and only one place above his teammate. The race only lasted until the first corner when Jones collided with the back of Jonathan Palmer's Zakspeed. Tambay went on to collect the team's first finish, albeit 6 laps down on the leaders.
Haas Lola were hoping for improvements for the third round at Imola. The THL2 chassis would be raced for the first time, the team being rid of the troublesome Hart engines and being powered by the first turbo charged Ford Cosworth engine. Jones was the only one entrusted to the THL2, Tambay would still be in the old THL1 chassis until the next round in Monaco. It was a massive disappointment when Jones only managed 21st on the grid. Tambay on the other hand had given the THL1 its best qualifying performance with eleventh on the grid. Tambay retired early on, Jones on the other hand managed to continue on for 28 laps before overheating issues forced him into retirement. It had not been a successful debut for the THL2 and the team left Imola dejected at the cars pace.
Monte-Carlo was next on the calendar and both Jones and Tambay were left with equal machinery once again, both being in the Lola THL2 Ford Cosworth configuration. Tambay was able to prove that Lola had made gains with its new car and qualified 8th. Jones on the other hand was still clearly struggling and could only manage 18th. The race faired little better when on the second lap he slammed into the barriers at Tabac after a collision with Phillipe Streiff's Tyrrell.
Jones continued to lap uncharacteristically slower than Tambay, his performance in Monaco left many more questions about whether Jones was fit for Formula One. At Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian race, Jones seemed to fair a little better by qualifying in 16th. He still remained off the pace to Tambay who was in tenth. After a first lap collision which saw the elimination of Tambay from the race, Jones was able to benefit by climbing up to seventh position. For the first time since his comeback, Jones was looking competitive. Whilst his Lola did not have the pace of his rivals, Jones was running well on the race. On the seventh lap, he spun dropping him well down the order. However Jones had relatively strong pace and was able to climb to as high as sixth before having to pit. Jones remained in the mid-field for the rest of the race. He notably held up a battle between race leaders Nigel Mansell and Gerhard Berger as Jones seemingly remained defiant in giving way to the leaders. Jones went unrewarded for his efforts as his car ran out of fuel with three laps remaining.
In Spa, Jones seemed to have finally found his rhythm once again. The next round at Montreal in Canada saw him outqualify Tambay by one place, landing his car in thirteenth position. Tambay would however not start the race due to a suspension failure that pitched him into the barrier where he sustained leg injuries preventing him from taking the race start. Jones ran another solid race in the midfield. However he was once again criticized for holding up the leaders when he once again got in the way of the lead battle, holding up Nigel Mansell once again and the second place man of Keke Rosberg. With most of Jones's main rivals in the midfield retiring, he went on to take his first race finish since his comeback with a tenth place finish, albeit three laps down on the leaders.
For the next round in Detroit, Tambay remained injured and therefore Eddie Cheever replaced him for one race. Cheever, a very quick driver who had never really had a chance in a top car in Formula One had completely outmatched Jones at Detroit where he took tenth place whilst Jones struggled to 21st on the grid. The race would be a disappointment for both drivers, both driver's retring due to a loose wheelnut hindering the stability and security of their cars.
For the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, Tambay returned to his seat in the Haas Lola team. He notably outqualifed Jones once again who was languishing in 20th. Jones's race ended after two laps when he crashed into the barriers. Tambay seemed on course for points at his home race before a brake failure occured. So far this season, the Lola team had only scored two finishes, one apiece for Jones and Tambay and no championship points. This was unsettling low for team owner Carl Haas who was expecting to be fighting for victories by now.
Jones hoped for better fortunes at Brands Hatch, a circuit he knew and had performed well at in the past. He was able to put his Lola 14th on the grid. Tambay being three places behind in 17th. Jones once again seemed to perform well, getting himself within the top ten at the start and seemingly be able to hold pace with the leaders. Thanks to retirements, Jones found himself in seventh position and was chasing René Arnoux's Ligier for the final points place when the throttle began to die and he dropped back. On the 22nd lap, Jones pulled out of the race. Jones was visibly angered by the result and his frustration at Haas Lola was beginning to show, considering the team had promised that they would be winning races by now when he joined them. Tambay also had a chance for points before his car let him down. It had been a rather downtrodden week for the Haas Lola outfit.
As the team arrived in Germany, both Jones and Tambay were critical of the performance of the Haas Lola team. Jones in particular was not getting on well with team principal Teddy Mayer. At Hockenheim, Jones qualified 19th whilst Tambay was further up the grid in 14th. Neither Lola car was quick in the race, however there was positives in which both Lola cars made it to the finish. Tambay was in eighth, two laps down whilst Jones was in ninth albeit three laps down on the leaders.
The next race marked the first Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. The Lola's had remarkably managed to find some pace. Tambay qualified in sixth place, whilst four places behind him was Jones. The two Lola's both had the potential to score points and both Jones and Tambay were on form. However by the halfway distance, Jones's car had retired once again. He had been running in eighth, right behind Tambay. Tambay would go on to finish seventh, the team had once again came close to points without fruition.
For the Austrian round at the Osterreichring, it was another unflaterring qualifying performance by Lola. Tambay was 13th whilst Jones was three places behind in 16th. During the race, Jones made a flying start getting passed Tambay and several other cars. The Osterreichring being notorious for mechanical failures, saw many cars drop out of the race. Despite Lola's terrible reliability record, both cars remarkably were able to keep going. Jones and Tambay found themselves in fourth and fifth place. The two cars despite being two laps down went on to take double points finishes with both driver's scoring the team's first points together. It was a much needed high for the discouraged Haas Lola team.
It was another difficult qualifying at Monza for the Lola duo. Jones was in a lowly 18th whilst Tambay was three places higher in 15th. Jones made another flying start, climbing passed Tambay once again. Tambay would crash out of the race on the second lap, however Jones was able to keep going and made good pace throughout the race. With more retirements, Jones was making time and by the end had climbed to sixth and was in the final points placing. For the second race in a row Jones had finished in the points.
Despite the team's recent upswing, the Haas outfit was to be dealt a major blow. The team's sponsor, Beatrice, had withdrawn its substantial financial support from the team. Like many, Beatrice, had expected to be winning races at this point not fighting for the minor points placings. With the loss of Beatrice's sponsorship, Haas Lola was in financial chaos and their involvement in 1987 was now questionable. Jones and Tambay who had both had a difficult relationship team had both resolved to like, Beatrice, leave the team at the end of the year. Jones resolving that if he could not find a top level drive at Williams, McLaren or Ferrari then he would retire again from Formula One. Racing for the minor teams had simply became too frustrating.
Tambay was once again fastest of the pair at Estoril for the Portuguese race. Tambay was 14th whilst Jones was in 17th. It was to be another miserable race for the pair, Jones's race ending on the tenth lap when he spun out due to brake failure. Tambay also had a poor race, being plagued by mechanical gremlins.
The penultimate round of the championship at Mexico saw Jones have another unflattering qualifying managing only fifteenth in comparison to Tambay's eighth. After suffering a puncture on the 35th lap, Jones retired from the race once again. Tambay also being eliminated in a start line collision.
The final race of the season was held at Jones's home race in Australia at the Adelaide circuit. Jones entered the race knowing that this was likely to be his last grand prix. The race seemed likely to be Jones's last in Formula One. Having already committed to leaving the failed Haas Lola project, Jones had fallen out of the market for F1's top teams who were now looking at younger talent. The race at Adelaide seemed to be a fitting place to conclude Jones's F1 career.
Unfortunately the Lola's were not competitive in Australia. Jones however had the solace of breaking his seven race streak of being outqualified by Tambay. Jones was in 15th with Tambay two places behind him in sixteenth. It would be a quiet end to Jones's Formula One career with him retiring on the 16th lap with engine troubles.
Formula One Retirement[edit | edit source]
Post-Formula One racing[edit | edit source]
1987: Japanese Endurance Racing[edit | edit source]
Without the opportunity to gain a competitive race drive for 1987, Jones made his final retirement from Formula One at the end of 1986 with the Haas Lola team. Jones however remained interested in racing if he could find a top drive in another reputable category. Jones decided to compete in a season of Japanese GT Endurance Racing. Jones joined the Toyota Team TOM's racing a Toyota where he would race three rounds of the Japanese Endurance Championship and two rounds of the World Endurance Championship with former F1 pilot, Geoff Lees.
Jones and Lees did well to score a third place finish at the Suzuka 500 and then followed up with a win in the series at the 1000km at Fuji. In both races, Jones and Lee's Toyota 87C provided to be stern rivals to the leading cars at Porsche. The duo crashed out for the Fuji 500 marking the end of the duo's tenure in Japanese Endurance racing. TOM's Toyota then sent the duo to participate in two rounds of the World Endurance Championship. Jones would partake in his second 24 Hours of Le Mans, following on from 1984. However Jones and Lees entrance with TOM's Toyota into the world endurance series was less successful. The duo retired at Le Mans early on whilst despite hopes of doing well at the team's home track at Fuji Speedway, Jones and Lees had a similarily early retirement in the race.
Despite a season racing for TOM's Toyota which wielded two podiums and a race win, Jones was not content to continue racing in the series. Jones had a frustrating relationship with the Japanese team management. The culture clash between the two made it very difficult for the two to work together. The Japanese engineers at Toyota had a poor understanding of the English language which made it difficult for Jones to communicate with. The frustrating relationship saw Jones announce his departure from the team and Japanese motor racing after only one season.
1988–2002: Australian Touring Cars / V8 Supercars[edit | edit source]
For 1988, Jones returned to domestic racing within Australia. As he had done three years earlier, Jones partnered touring car veteran, Colin Bond in racing for the Caltex team. The duo competed in a Ford Sierra RS500 in Australia's major endurance races. The Ford Sierra often proved to be unreliable, although Jones and Bond enjoyed success in taking a fourth place finish at New Zealand's Wellington 500. While preparing for the renowned Bathurst 500, Tom Walkinshaw running for the rival Holden team protested that all the Ford Sierra entries were illegal. Despite racing under the threat of disqualification, Jones and Bond put in a great performance to finish third in the race. The duo therefore ending the season on a high.
1989 saw very little activity as a race driver for Jones. However he did participate in two major races at the Sandown 500 and once again at the Bathurst 1000. Moving to Tony Longhurst Racing, Jones was hoping for some strong results at the team that had proved the most successful in the previous season. Jones would race alongside Tony Longhurst himself who had won the previous year at Bathurst. However most notably, also joining them in the car was another former Formula One world champion, Denny Hulme who had won the championship for New Zealand in 1967. Unfortunately the partnership didn't bring much success, the trio retired at Sandown and could only manage a fifth place finish at Bathurst.
The following year in 1990, Jones returned to a more active participation in motorsport. Jones continued on with Tony Longhurst racing, participating in events in both endurance racing as well as signing for a full season in the touring car championship. The two Ford Sierra's of Jones and Longhurst struggled in the ATCC, competing only in the midfield. Jones however did have a highlight at Winton Raceway when Jones and Longhurst battled championship leader and eventual winner, Jim Richards, for the lead of the race. Richards went on to win with Longhurst and Jones second and third. Jones had another highlight by finishing fourth at the Adelaide Street Circuit, a race notably supporting the 1990 Australian Grand Prix. In the Endurance races, Jones partnered with Denny Hulme once again for Bathurst. Unfortunately the duo retired mid-race, there was little more success at the Sydney 500 when Jones and race partner Tony Longhurst both retired from the race as well.
After a difficult 1990 campaign, Tony Longhurst disgarded the Ford Sierra and instead upgraded his team to using BMW M3's for the 1991 season. Both Jones and Longhurst were among the quickest cars that season, however the Nissan cars driven by Jim Richards and Mark Scaife continued to reign supreme in the championship. Despite a difficult start to the season which saw Jones off the pace in comparison to Longhurst, he was able to round the season off with a strong finish. Jones finished second to teammate Longhurst in the penultimate round at Lakeside and then at the final round at Oran Park, Jones took another second place finishing behind Skaife's Nissan. Jones finished fourth in the championship, but some way down on the top three of Richards, Skaife and teammate Tony Longhurst who took two wins for the team that year. There was better fortunes at the Sandown 500 when Jones and teammate Peter Fitzgerald finished in second place. Bathurst was a disappointment with Jones and Longhurst both retiring from the race.
1991 had shown potential for the Longhurst team, the duo of Longhurst and Jones continued on with their BMW M3's for 1992, however once again the Nissan's of Skaife and Richards proved too quick and this year the Ford's had began to challenge BMW for the second best manufacturer. Jones endured a difficult season where he struggled in the midfield. In contrast, teammate Longhurst was one of the few cars to be able to challenge the Nissan's that year. Longhurst finished the season in third with a win and three other podiums. Jones could only manage seventh in the standings and only a single third place at the final round at Oran Park. After four seasons at Tony Longhurst Racing, Jones defected to the Ford team who were enjoying success with their new Ford Falcon. Now racing at Peter Jackson Racing, Jones partnered up and coming talent Glenn Seton for the endurance races. Neither Sandown or Bathurst proved a success in which the duo retired in both races. Bathurst sadly saw the death of Jones's friend and fellow Formula One champion, Denny Hulme, who suffered a heart attack whilst in his car.
With the withdrawal of the superior Nissan's for 1993, Jones and teammate Seton had a strong chance for the title in 1993. The BMW M3 was believed to have the edge over its rivals at Holden, Ford and Toyota. As predicted, the BMW's had the immediate advantage and Jones and Seton immediately became the immediate favourites for the title. At the second round of the championship at Symmons Plains Raceway, Jones finally took his first win in Australian touring cars. Two races later, Jones rounded this out with a second win at Phillip Island. Despite the occasional challenge from John Bowe's Ford Falcon, the two BMW's of Seton and Jones were undoubtedly the quickest cars that year. Despite two wins and two third places for Jones that year, teammate Seton dominated the championship that year. The now 47 year old Alan Jones no longer had the outright pace to compete with his much younger teammate in Seton. For the endurance races, the team reverted back to Ford Falcon's as the BMW's were to be only entered by the works entry. Sandown and Bathurst yielded little reward for the duo of Jones and Seton who retired in both races.
For 1994, BMW withdrew from the ATCC forcing Peter Jackson Racing to return to racing with Ford Falcon's. The only manufacturers participating that year were the Holden's and Ford's predicting a much closer championship. Jones proved inconsistent in his performances that year, whilst Glenn Seton was to finish runner up to eventual championship winner Mark Skaife, Jones struggled to match his younger teammate's performances. Although there was a comeback from Jones at the end of the season where he took three podiums before taking a race win at the penultimate round at Barbagello Raceway. Nonetheless Jones could only manage fifth in the championship and there was little success at Sandown and Bathurst where Jones once again retired from both events.
Now competing in his third full season at Peter Jackson Racing, Jones hoped to improve his fortunes in 1995 following a mediocre 1994. However it would be another difficult season for Jones who continued to be outmatched by teammate Glenn Seton. Whilst Seton was once again fighting for the championship, Jones was struggling in the midfield. Jones managed to take two third place finishes, these proved to be the highlights in a difficult season which saw Seton finish second in the championship with four wins. There were now questions about whether the now 49 year old Jones still had what it took to continue competing among the best Australian touring car racers. Jones responded to suggestions that he was too old for racing by taking a second place at Bathurst, Jones and teammate touring car legend, Allan Grice, who at 53 and 49 years of age were keen to prove they still had the pace.
Nonetheless Jones had been dropped by Peter Jackson after a relatively poor 1995 season. Despite being now 50 years old, Jones remained enthusiastic for racing in the ATCC however found that no team was willing to hire him for a full season in the sport. So instead he opted to form his own ATCC team. With sponsorship from Phillip Morris and hiring brothers Jim and Ross Stone from the highly successful Dick Johnson Racing Team, Alan Jones Racing was formed for the 1996 season racing Ford Falcon's. Jones and his small team had quite a successful entry into the 1996 ATCC season. Despite being considered out of the driver market by the other teams, Jones regularly finished in the points as well as taking two second places at Lakeside and Mallala Park. Jones partnered up with Allan Grice once again for Bathurst, however their race ended when Jones's Ford burst into flames.
Due to the Australian government banning tobacco sponsorship at sporting events, Jones lost his Phillip Morris backing in 1997. It would be a difficult season for Jones, the loss of his sponsorship had severely affected the team's financial capability and as a result the team failed to continue to be competitive. There was positives in which Jones managed to score in every single event, nonetheless this was only the minor points placings and he not once achieved the podium. However it would prove to be a good end to the season when Jones partnered with young talent Jason Bright to take third place at the Sandown 500. For Bathurst, Jones for the first time would partner up again with the Williams team since 1981. Williams had expanded its operations beyond Formula One and into the British Touring Car Championship. For 1997, Williams decided to enter Bathurst partnering Jones, the driver who brought them their first championship success in 1980. Jones racing a Renault Laguna hoped for success upon his reunion with Williams, however unfortunately the Renault broke down early on in the race despite a sixth qualifying position.
At the end of 1997, Jones was forced to sell his share of the Alan Jones Racing team to the Stone brothers due to financial difficulty. Now at the twilight of his racing career, Jones seemed content to retire for 1998 until he was handed a lifeline by old friend and former employer Tony Longhurst. Jones rejoined the Longhurst racing team for the first time since 1992, however like his previous outing at Longhurst Racing, team boss and teammate Tony Longhurst consistently outmatched Jones. Jones struggled throughout the season in the lower midfield and went on to finish a lowly 16th in the championship in comparison to Longhurst's sixth. Jones sadly did not have the financial backing to perform in the endurance races such as Sandown or Bathurst.
By 1999, Jones no longer had the financial capability to continue racing in the ATCC, which had now been renamed the V8 Supercar championship. Therefore Jones began to fade quietly into retirement. He continued to race where he could, the only events he participated in that year were the endurance races of the Queensland 500 and the Bathurst 1000. Racing for the lowly Paul Little Racing, Jones finished 17th at the Queensland 500 whilst failing to finish at Bathurst.
As in the previous year, Jones only raced in two events for 2000. Jones once again joining Paul Little Racing for the endurance races at the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000. Unfortunately for Jones he was set to retire in both events after performing near the back of the grid.
In 2001, Jones again racing for Paul Little made entrants into the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000 once again. Jones managed to finish both events unlike his previous attempts with the Paul Little team. Jones finished 17th at the Queensland 500 whilst at Bathurst he was 15th.
2002 marked Jones's final season in any form of motorsport. Announcing his final retirement, Jones signed for the respected Dick Johnson Racing team in order to complete his motorsport career in the best way possible. It would prove to be a good send off to Jones's racing career in the Queensland 500, Jones finished the race in seventh position. Whilst his final event at Bathurst, Jones completed his career with a fifth place after regularly competing with the front years.
2005: Grand Prix Masters[edit | edit source]
Jones was invited to come out of retirement to compete in the Grand Prix Masters. The GPM was a newly founded series that invited ex-Formula One drivers over the age of 45 to compete in the series. Jones was set to compete in the series among many of his former Formula One rivals. Former F1 racer Christian Danner questioned whether some drivers in particular the 59 year old Jones and his former teammate Patrick Tambay's ability to compete in the series due to their overall lack of fitness. Jones angrily responded by saying 'the closest he has been to a podium is when he passed it on the way to the lavatory'.
Whilst at qualifying for the first race in Kyalami, Jones was notably ten seconds off the pole time set by Nigel Mansell. As a result of this, Jones opted to pull out of the event as well as having severe neck pains. Instead for the two races at Qatar and Silverstone in 2006, Jones served as a commentator for the races alongside commentary legend Murray Walker. The series folded in 2007, ending his commentary duties.
Formula One Commentary[edit | edit source]
1982–1985, 1987–2002: Nine Network[edit | edit source]
In 1982 following his first retirement, Jones was signed by Nine Network to present their Formula One television coverage alongside Darrell Eastlake. The partnership of Jones and Eastlake presenting F1 coverage commentated on by the BBC partnership of Jones's old friend and rival, 1976 champion James Hunt and Murray Walker. Eastlake and Jones would become a memorable and long standing partnership for Australian motorsport fans.
In 1984, Jones presented the documentary Ten Tenths, produced by Nine Network. It provided a detailed analysis on the concept of modern Formula One. Jones temporarily quit his work as co-host for Channel 9's coverage to return to racing in Formula One. Following his second retirement in 1986, Jones returned to his duties as co-host alongside Darrell Eastlake.
The duo presented Formula One coverage for Australia throughout the 1990s until 2002. In its later years, Nine Network was suffering from poor ratings due to the late times that Formula One was being broadcast in Australia. As a result the broadcasting rights were sold to Network Ten for 2003.
2013–present: Network Ten[edit | edit source]
During 2012, Jones made a few guest appearances as a co-host for Network Ten's Formula One coverage. For 2013, Jones replaced Craig Baird as expert commentator for Network Ten's coverage. Jones was joined in hosting the programme alongside former MotoGP racer Daryl Beattie and Greg Rust. At the end of 2013, Beattie left the programme leaving only Jones and Rust to host the programme.
In 2015, Network Ten announced it would only be presenting half the races live due to a deal in shared rights with Fox Sports. Jones was joined by new host Matt White in presenting Formula One coverage. Also in 2015, Jones joined the presenting team on Network TEN's motoring show RPM. Jones was joined on the show by another former Australian Formula One driver, Mark Webber. The duo focusing as the Formula One specialists for the programme.
2005–2009: A1 Team Australia[edit | edit source]
Whilst attending the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix as a spectator, Jones was approached about running the Australian team in the inaugral A1 GP season in 2005. The A1 GP was organised as a World Cup of motorsport in which driver's compete for their country as opposed to their teams. Jones signed as team principal for the Australian team beginning in the inaugral 2005-2006 season. Many of Jones's former rivals such as Niki Lauda (Austria), Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil), Jan Lammers (Netherlands) and Piercarlo Ghinzani (Italy) served as team principals for their respective countries.
During his time as team principal Jones oversaw the Australian outfits endeavours in A1GP as well as serving as a driver mentor for some of Australia's then up and coming talents such as Ryan Briscoe, Will Power and Will Davison. In 2005, controversy surrounded Jones when he signed his adopted son, Christian, as a driver for the team. Jones defended the decision of signing his son due to the fact he had recently won the Asian Formula 3 Championship. However after only two races the younger Jones was replaced due to poor form.
For the 2007–2008 season, Jones desperately tried to sign Daniel Ricciardo as a driver for the Australian team after a strong showing at a Silverstone test. Jones was blocked from signing Ricciardo by Helmut Marko who wanted to keep Ricciardo in the Red Bull young driver programme.
In the 2008–2009 season, Team Australia gained its best finish in the series finishing in the top ten with an eighth place finish in the championship standings. However much to Jones's disappointment, the series was cancelled at the end of the season. Jones blaming poor management by series organiser, Tony Teixeira as the reason for the series withdrawal.
2010–present: FIA Formula One Steward[edit | edit source]
In 2010 it was announced that the stewards panel in overseeing the Formula One grand prix's would be joined by an ex-racing driver who would be there to analyse race situations from a racer's perspective before coming to a conclusion on race decisions.
Jones's first service as a race steward was at the 2010 Korean Grand Prix. Steward decisions in this race was handing Heikki Kovalainen a ten second stop and go penalty for speeding in the pit-lane. Jones's next steward service was at the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix, the same race Sebastian Vettel won his second world title. Since then Jones has served as a steward at the 2012 Indian Grand Prix, 2013 Spanish Grand Prix and 2014 Singapore Grand Prix.
Formula One Statistical Overview[edit | edit source]
Formula One Record[edit | edit source]
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|1975||Custom Made Harry Stiller Racing||Hesketh-Ford Cosworth||2||17th||Report|
|Embassy Racing with Graham Hill||Hill-Ford Cosworth|
|1976||Durex Team Surtees||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||7||15th||Report|
|1977||Shadow Racing Team||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||22||7th||Report|
|1978||Williams Grand Prix Engineering||Williams-Ford Cosworth||11||11th||Report|
|1979||Albilad-Saudia Racing Team||Williams-Ford Cosworth||40 (43)||3rd||Report|
|1980||Albilad-Williams Racing Team||Williams-Ford Cosworth||67 (71)||1st||Report|
|1981||TAG Williams Racing Team||Williams-Ford Cosworth||46||3rd||Report|
|1983||Arrows Racing Team||Arrows-Ford Cosworth||0||NC||Report|
|1984||Did not compete|
|1985||Team Haas (USA) Ltd||Lola-Hart||0||NC||Report|
|1986||Team Haas (USA) Ltd||Lola-Hart
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
|Front Row Starts||13|
|Distance Raced||25915.855 km (16103 mi)|
|Distance Led||2847.005 km (1769 mi)|
Race Wins[edit | edit source]
Career Results[edit | edit source]
|Complete Formula One results|
|1984: Did not compete|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||[+] More Symbols|
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Race stopped after 29/75 Laps. Half points awarded
- Race stopped after 29/54 Laps. Half points awarded
[edit | edit source]
|V T E||Williams F1|
6. Nicholas Latifi · 63. George Russell
Frank Williams · Patrick Head · Pat Symonds · Mike Coughlan
Alan Jones (1980) · Keke Rosberg (1982) · Nelson Piquet (1987) · Nigel Mansell (1992) ·
Alain Prost (1993) · Damon Hill (1996) · Jacques Villeneuve (1997)
March 761 · FW06 · FW07 · FW07B · FW07C · FW07D · FW08 · FW08C · FW09 · FW09B · FW10 · FW10B · FW11 · FW11B · FW12 · FW12C · FW13 · FW13B · FW14 · FW14B · FW15C · FW16 · FW16B · FW17 · FW17B · FW18 · FW19 · FW20 · FW21 · FW22 · FW23 · FW24 · FW25 · FW26 · FW27 · FW28 · FW29 · FW30 · FW31 · FW32 · FW33 · FW34 · FW35 · FW36 · FW37 · FW38 · FW40 · FW41