Argentine GP 1980
JANUARY 13, 1980
Argentine GP, 1980
Although the team won the 1979 World Championship, Ferrari could not afford to be complacent because it was very clear by the end of the year that the Williams chassis was a great deal better than the Ferrari 312T4. And so Mauro Forghieri designed a new 312T5. Realizing that the future was in turbocharging the team began development work on a turbo engine. The flat-12 engine made ground-effect aerodynamics difficult but the team decided that there was no choice but to continue with it until the turbocharged engine was ready.
Williams refined the FW07 in B specification and Carlos Reutemann was taken on to partner Alan Jones. Clay Regazzoni moved to Ensign which had found sponsorship from Unipart and had built a new car. Ligier revamped the JS11 and hired Didier Pironi to partner Jacques Laffite, while the team's former driver Patrick Depailler was recruited to drive alongside Bruno Giacomelli in the new Alfa Romeo team. Renault revamped its chassis but kept Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Rene Arnoux. Brabham retained Nelson Piquet and Ricardo Zunino but had a new white and blue color scheme after several season running in Alfa Romeo red. Team Lotus had lost some of its 1979 sponsorship but Essex petroleum became the title sponsor and the team produced a brand new 81 chassis and as Carlos Reutemann had departed to Williams recruited Elio de Angelis to be Mario Andretti's partner. This resulted in a law suit between de Angelis and his former employer Shadow. Shadow was running out of steam but produced the new DN11 for new boys Stefan Johansson and David Kennedy. Arrows was in rather better shape with the new A3 chassis for Riccardo Patrese and Jochen Mass.
McLaren was trying to rebuild after an awful season in 1979 and while John Watson was retained the team hired a new youngster called Alain Prost in place of Patrick Tambay. Walter Wolf decided that he had enough of F1 and sold the remains of his team to Emerson Fittipaldi who landed backing from Skol Brasil from himself and Keke Rosberg. A new Harvey Postlethwaite car was planned but the season began with a hybrid F7.
Tyrrell hired Derek Daly to partner Jean-Pierre Jarier and the new 010 was designed by Maurice Philippe. The Merzario and Rebaque team disappeared but there was a new addition to the grid in the form of the Osella FA1, sponsored by Denim and MS and driven by Eddie Cheever. ATS expanded to two cars with Marc Surer joining Jan Lammers and so there were a total of 28 cars with 13 two-car teams and two one-car teams.
In qualifying in Buenos Aires Jones was fastest with Laffite and Pironi second and third, Piquet fourth and de Angelis an impressive fifth ahead of Andretti, Patrese, Villeneuve and Jabouille. Prost did a very good job to qualify 12th several places ahead of his team leader Watson.
At the start Jones went into the lead chased by Piquet, Laffite, Reutemann with Pironi is sixth position although his engine blew soon afterwards. De Angelis and Patrese had collided and dropped back through the order while Jabouille ran into technical trouble and drop down the order.
Jones's lead did not last long however as he picked up a large plastic bag in one of his radiators and the car overheated. He had to pit and dropped to fourth place behind Laffite, Piquet and Villeneuve. The Canadian soon came under pressure from the Williams driver and went wide, which enabled Jones to get ahead. He then overtake Piquet (Villeneuve following him through soon afterwards) and on lap 30 took the lead again from Laffite.
Laffite's engine failed soon afterwards and Villeneuve disappeared with a steering failure and so Jones won easily with Piquet second and Keke Rosberg third in the Fittipaldi. Daly was fourth, Giacomelli fifth and Prost sixth on his F1 debut.