French GP 1980
JUNE 29, 1980
French GP, 1980
Between the Monaco and French GPs there was a race in Spain which was won by Alan Jones in his Williams, but as the war between FISA and FOCA was developing this was later declared to have been illegal as it featured only the FOCA teams (Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo did not attend).
An agreement was reached in time for the French GP and so it did count towards the World Championship and the entry was not very different from that at Monaco although Marc Surer was back in action for ATS, his ankle injuries from South African having healed. Jan Lammers moved to Ensign where he replaced Patrick Gaillard.
Qualifying resulted in a very French grid with Jacques Laffite and pole in his Ligier, Rene Arnoux second in the Renault and Didier Pironi third in his Ligier. The first non-Frenchman was Alan Jones in his Williams and behind him was his team mate Carlos Reutemann. Jean-Pierre Jabouille (Renault) and Alain Prost (McLaren) were next up, making it five Frenchmen in the top seven places on the grid while the top 10 was completed by Nelson Piquet (Brabham), Bruno Giacomelli (Alfa Romeo) and another Frenchman Patrick Depailler in his Alfa Romeo. The Ferraris were again embarrassingly bad with Gilles Villeneuve 17th and Jody Scheckter 19th.
In the race the French suffered. Jabouille went out at the start with a transmission failure but Laffite, Arnoux and Pironi were still between Jones and victory. Laffite seemed to be in a class of his own while Arnoux and Pironi battled for second until Jones joined in and moved ahead of Arnoux. A couple of laps later Jones went through into second and began to chase Laffite who had a lead of eight seconds. Arnoux was in trouble now with throttle problems and drifted behind Piquet and came under pressure from Reutemann.
Laffite now began to run into tire problems and on lap 35 Jones went into the lead. Seven laps later Pironi followed him through and that is how they finished. Fourth place went to Piquet with Arnoux fifth and Reutemann sixth.