Belgian GP 1979

Belgian GP, 1979

The F1 field had grown to 28 cars with the appearance of Bruno Giacomelli in the new Alfa Romeo F1 car, the company's first official entry in the World Championship since the end of 1951. This was using the old flat-12 engines while a new car was being built for the new V12. The entry was otherwise unchanged although Tyrrell had managed to find some much-needed sponsorship from Candy.

Qualifying resulted in the usual story of Ligier domination with Jacques Laffite ahead of Patrick Depailler. Nelson Piquet was third in his Brabham while Alan Jones gave the first hint that the Williams FW07 was going to be a competitive car by qualifying fourth. The third row featured Mario Andretti, who had decided to use the old Lotus 79 instead of the new 80 and Gilles Villeneuve in his Ferrari. His team mate Jody Scheckter was on the fourth row, alongside Carlos Reutemann's Lotus while the top 10 was rounded off by the two Tyrrells of Jean-Pierre Jarier and Didier Pironi. Niki Lauda was 11th in his Brabham and Giacomelli was 12th in the Alfa. At the back of the grid McLaren's woes continued with Patrick Tambay failing to qualify an old M26 after John Watson destroyed the second M28 in testing.

At the start of the race Depailler went into the lead with Jones grabbing second from Piquet while Laffite dropped to fourth. On the second lap Scheckter collided with Clay Regazzoni's Williams and Villeneuve was also involved as he snagged the rear wheel of the Williams. Both Ferraris were able to keep going by Regazzoni was out. Villeneuve had to pit for a new nose cone.

On the fourth lap, Laffite overtook Piquet, while behind them Scheckter was able to get ahead of Andretti and soon afterwards Scheckter also overtook Piquet. The order settled for a while and then Laffite slipped ahead of Jones and on lap 19 took the lead. Depailler quickly dropped behind Jones as well and on lap 24 Jones went into the lead. The Australian's hopes of victory ended on lap 40 with electrical failure and as Laffite had fallen behind Depailler again it was the second Ligier driver who went back into the lead until lap 47 when he understeered off into the barriers and Laffite went back into the lead. Behind him was Scheckter and the Ferrari closed gradually in and on lap 54 went ahead. All this left Reutemann in third place but in the closing laps he was caught and passed by Pironi. Patrese finished fifth with Watson plodding along to sixth.

11 Jody Scheckter Ferrari  70 1h39m59.530s  
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Cosworth  70 1h40m14.890s  
Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Cosworth  70 1h40m34.700s  12 
Carlos Reutemann Lotus-Cosworth  70 1h40m46.020s  10 
29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  70 1h41m03.840s  16 
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  70 1h41m05.380s  19 
7r 12 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  69 Out Of Fuel 
Hans-Joachim Stuck ATS-Cosworth  69  20 
14 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth  68  23 
10 17 Jan Lammers Shadow-Cosworth  68  21 
11 Jean-Pierre Jarier Tyrrell-Cosworth  67  11 
25 Patrick Depailler Ligier-Cosworth  46 Accident 
20 James Hunt Wolf-Cosworth  40 Accident 
27 Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth  39 Electrics 
Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth  27 Brakes 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-Alfa Romeo  23 Engine 
Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo  23 Engine 13 
16 Rene Arnoux Renault  22 Turbo Boost Pressure 18 
35 Brunco Giacomelli Alfa Romeo  21 Accident 14 
18 Elio de Angelis Shadow-Cosworth  21 Accident 24 
30 Jochen Mass Arrows-Cosworth  17 Spin 22 
31 Hector Rebaque Lotus-Cosworth  13 Drive Shaft 15 
15 Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault  13 Turbo 17 
28 Clay Regazzoni Williams-Cosworth  Accident 
nq Patrick Tambay McLaren-Cosworth    25 
nq 24 Arturo Merzario Merzario-Cosworth    26 
nq 22 Derek Daly Ensign-Cosworth    27 
nq 36 Gianfranco Brancatelli Kauhsen-Cosworth    28