Belgian GP 1980
MAY 4, 1980
Belgian GP, 1980
There was a gap of five weeks after the Long Beach race before the European season began at Zolder and in that time Don Nichols sold the Shadow team to Teddy Yip's Theodore Racing organization. Alain Prost was back in action having missed two races with a broken wrist while Clay Regazzoni's accident in Long Beach had left the Ensign team in trouble. Tiff Needell was hired to drive.
The event marked the first without qualifying tires, as Michelin and Goodyear had agreed not to produce them. The result of qualifying was that Alan Jones took pole in his Williams with Didier Pironi second fastest in his Ligier and Jacques Laffite third in his JS11/15. Then came Carlos Reutemann in the second Williams ahead of the two Renaults of Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Rene Arnoux. The top 10 was completed by the Brabham of Nelson Piquet, Elio de Angelis's Lotus, the Tyrrell of Jean-Pierre Jarier and Patrick Depailler's Alfa Romeo. It was bad qualifying for Ferrari with Gilles Villeneuve 12th and Jody Scheckter 14th.
At the start of the race Pironi went into the lead with Jones second and Laffite third. Jabouille suffered clutch failure and was out straight away. The order remained unchanged at the front until lap 17 when fifth-placed went off trying to pass Reutemann and dropped back down the order.
On lap 33 fifth-placed Piquet spun off. Five laps later Laffite lost third place to Reutemann. The Frenchman then pitted to have his brakes fixed.
Pironi won from Jones and Reutemann while a lively battle for fourth resulted in the place going to Arnoux, who finished just ahead of Jarier and Villeneuve. It was Pironi's first victory and he became the third new winner in four races (following Rene Arnoux and Nelson Piquet).