German GP 1980
AUGUST 10, 1980
German GP, 1980
There was a gap of a month between the British and German GPs and in that time F1 experienced another fatal accident when Patrick Depailler's Alfa Romeo ploughed off the track while testing at Hockenheim. Depailler was killed instantly when the car hit the barriers as the catchfencing which should have been at the corner was rolled up behind the barrier.
Alfa Romeo decided to run just one car for Bruno Giacomelli but the entry was boosted by a RAM Racing Williams which appeared for Rupert Keegan. Harald Ertl was also back in action in a one-off drive in a second ATS. The mood and the weather were somber in qualifying with Alan Jones (Williams) setting the fastest time, beating the Renaults of Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Rene Arnoux. Then came Carlos Reutemann in the second Williams and behind him Jacques Laffite (Ligier), Nelson Piquet (Brabham), Didier Pironi (Ligier), Keke Rosberg (in the new Wolf), Mario Andretti's Lotus and Riccardo Patrese's Arrows. The Ferraris was again disastrous with Gilles Villeneuve in 16th on the grid and World Champion Jody Scheckter 21st.
Although Jones made the better start, Jabouille was able to use the extra power from his turbocharged Renault to grab the lead before they reached the far end of the circuit. Arnoux was third with the two Ligiers of Pironi and Laffite chasing him with Rosberg behind them. The Finn's charge was short-lived because a rear wing problem soon sent him into the pits. The next to disappear was Pironi who went into the pits with a broken driveshaft on lap 19. On lap 27 the race changed completely when within moments both Renaults stopped with broken valve springs. This put Jones into the lead ahead of Laffite with Reutemann in third and then a big gap back to Piquet, Elio de Angelis (Lotus) and John Watson (McLaren). The McLaren lasted only a couple more laps before blowing its engine while Jones had to go into the pits for new tires and so dropped to third. Laffite was leading with Reutemann and Jones closing fast but he was too far back to make any real impression and the race ended with the top three in that order. Piquet was fourth while Giacomelli inherited fifth place when de Angelis stopped with a wheelbearing failure. Villeneuve was sixth.