British GP 1979

British GP, 1979

The Williams FW07 had been improving rapidly and new aerodynamic modifications resulted in the car being fastest in pre-British GP testing. John Watson also had a new McLaren M29, to replace the troublesome M28 and so there was much excitement as the teams gathered at Silverstone just a fortnight after Jean-Pierre Jabouille's first victory for Renault at Dijon. The Alfa Romeo team did not appear and so only Hans Stuck (ATS) and Arturo Merzario (in a new Merzario chassis, based on the Kauhsen F1 car) failed to qualify. Alan Jones was very quick in qualifying and took pole position by 0.6sec with Jabouille alongside him. Then came Nelson Piquet (Brabham), Clay Regazzoni in the second Williams, Rene Arnoux (Renault), Niki Lauda (Brabham), Watson, Carlos Reutemann and Mario Andretti (Lotus) and Jacques Laffite's Ligier. World Championship leader Jody Scheckter was a disappointing 11th while Elio de Angelis impressed by putting his Shadow 12th on the grid, ahead of Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari and Keke Rosberg in the new Wolf WR9.

At the start Jones went into the lead with Jabouille chasing and the fast-starting Regazzoni third. Piquet ran fourth but soon spun off and so Lauda took the position although he quickly fell behind Arnoux and Villeneuve who had stormed through from the midfield. He was followed by Scheckter.

Jabouille's challenge faded with his tires and on lap 17 Regazzoni moved to second place and Jabouille then headed for the pits. The stop went wrong he had to pit again and then his engine overheated.

This elevated Arnoux to third place with Scheckter fourth and Villeneuve fifth.

Jones remained in the lead until lap 39 when he retired with an overheating engine. Regazzoni went into the lead and won to give Frank Williams his first Grand Prix victory. Arnoux finished second with Jean-Pierre Jarier (Tyrrell) climbing through the leaders in the closing stages to take third place, ahead of Watson, the fading Scheckter and Ickx after Laffite and Villeneuve both went out with mechanical troubles.

28 Clay Regazzoni Williams-Cosworth  68 1h26m11.170s  
16 Rene Arnoux Renault  68 1h26m35.450s  
Jean-Pierre Jarier Tyrrell-Cosworth  67  16 
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  67  
11 Jody Scheckter Ferrari  67  11 
25 Jacky Ickx Ligier-Cosworth  67  17 
7r Patrick Tambay McLaren-Cosworth  66 Out Of Fuel 18 
Carlos Reutemann Lotus-Cosworth  66  
31 Hector Rebaque Lotus-Cosworth  66  24 
10 Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Cosworth  66  15 
11 17 Jan Lammers Shadow-Cosworth  65  21 
12 18 Elio de Angelis Shadow-Cosworth  65  12 
13 22 Patrick Gaillard Ensign-Cosworth  65  23 
14r 12 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  63 Fuel Vaporisation 13 
29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  45 Gearbox 19 
20 Keke Rosberg Wolf-Cosworth  44 Fuel System 14 
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Cosworth  44 Spark Plug 10 
27 Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth  38 Water Pump 
30 Jochen Mass Arrows-Cosworth  37 Gearbox 20 
14 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth  25 Engine 22 
15 Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault  21 Engine 
Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo  12 Brakes 
Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth  Wheel Bearing 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-Alfa Romeo  Spin 
nq Hans-Joachim Stuck ATS-Cosworth    25 
nq 24 Arturo Merzario Merzario-Cosworth    26