South African GP 1980
MARCH 1, 1980
South African GP, 1980
There was a month between the Brazilian and South African GPs and in that time there were some changes in the driver lineup with ATS deciding to enter only one new car for Marc Surer. This left Jan Lammers out of work. Shadow also decided to replace Stefan Johansson with Geoff Lees. In the course of qualifying there were two major crashes with Alain Prost breaking his wrist when he suffered a suspension failure on his McLaren and Marc Surer doing serious damage to his legs when his ATS went head-on into the barriers at Crowthorne. The Swiss driver had to be cut from the car. With Surer out, Lammers was drafted in to drive one of the old ATS chassis, the new D4 having been destroyed in the accident.
Kyalami's altitude helped the turbocharged Renaults to take first and second on the grid with Jean-Pierre Jabouille ahead of Rene Arnoux. Nelson Piquet was third in his Brabham with Jacques Laffite fourth in the Ligier, just ahead of his team mate Didier Pironi. Williams's Carlos Reutemann was sixth with Patrick Depailler seventh in the Alfa Romeo ahead of Alan Jones (Williams), Jody Scheckter (Ferrari) and Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari).
In the race Jabouille and Arnoux were able to hold off Jones on the run down to the first corner and then set off on their own, leaving Jones to battle with Laffite, Reutemann, Piquet and Villeneuve. In the early laps Scheckter overtook both Villeneuve and Piquet and soon battling Reutemann for fifth place. On the eighth lap Laffite managed to get ahead of Jones while soon afterwards Villeneuve pitted to changes tires. Soon afterwards Scheckter's promising race ended with an engine failure.
The two Renaults continued to run together at the front (Jabouille leading Arnoux) with Laffite a distant third. Jones was fourth until the middle of the race when his gearbox failed. Jean-Pierre Jarier had been up to fifth in the new Tyrrell but he then began to slip backwards and dropped behind Piquet and Pironi, although in the closing laps this order switched. Jabouille's hopes of victory ended on lap 62 when he suffered a tire failure and so the win went to Arnoux with Laffite second, Pironi third, Piquet fourth and Carlos Reutemann fifth in his Williams. The final point went to Jochen Mass in his Arrows.