MAY 8, 2002
Twenty five years ago in Austria...
ALAN JONES, the 1980 Formula 1 World Champion, has been reminiscing in recent days about his first Grand Prix victory, scored in Austria in 1977. Jones was driving for the midfield Shadow team at the time and at 30 years of age little was expected of him. His F1 career had ended at the close of 1976 when he went to race in America but early in 1977 Shadow driver Tom Pryce was killed in South Africa and Shadow asked Jones to replace him. The car was not very competitive and Jones qualified only 14th in Austria. It was a wet race and Jones made the most of the retirements of the big names to take the lead and win by 20 seconds. It was the only win that Shadow ever managed and came as such a shock that the Austrians did not have the Australian national anthem.
"A drunk played "Happy Birthday" on a trumpet," Jones remembers.
That victory drew Jones to the attention of Frank Williams and he was signed by the team in 1978, won the team's first Grand Prix victory in 1979 and took the World Championship in 1980.