1978 British Grand Prix

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1978 British Grand Prix
Race 10 of 16 in the 1978 Formula One season
Brands Hatch 1976-1987.svg
Race details
Date 16 July 1978
Official name XXXI John Player British Grand Prix
Location Brands Hatch, Kent, England
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.206 km (2.613 mi)
Distance 76 laps, 319.656 km (198.588 mi)
Weather Dry
Pole position
Driver Lotus-Ford
Time 1:16.80
Fastest lap
Driver Austria Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Time 1:18.60 on lap 72
First Ferrari
Second Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Third Brabham-Alfa Romeo

The 1978 British Grand Prix (formally the XXXI John Player British Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at Brands Hatch on 16 July 1978. It was the tenth race of the 1978 World Championship of F1 Drivers and the 1978 International Cup for F1 Constructors.

The 76-lap race was won by Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann, driving a Ferrari. After starting from eighth position, Reutemann worked his way up the field and took the lead on lap 60, eventually winning by 1.2 seconds from Austrian driver Niki Lauda in the Brabham-Alfa Romeo. Lauda's Northern Irish teammate, John Watson, finished third.



With a total of 31 cars on the entry list, it was decided to forbid the Martini of René Arnoux from taking part, thus leaving 30 cars for qualifying.[1]

As expected, the Lotuses filled the front row of the grid, although on this occasion Ronnie Peterson was ahead of Mario Andretti. Jody Scheckter in the Wolf and Niki Lauda in the Brabham made up the second row, while on the third were Riccardo Patrese in the Arrows and Alan Jones in the Williams. The top ten was completed by Jacques Laffite in the Ligier, Carlos Reutemann in the Ferrari, John Watson in the second Brabham and Patrick Depailler in the Tyrrell.


At the start of the race, Andretti took the lead from Peterson, with Scheckter holding third and Jones moving up to fourth. The Lotuses quickly pulled out a large gap, and looked set to dominate, until Peterson retired on lap 7 with a fuel leak. Andretti continued to lead until a puncture forced him to pit on lap 24, before his engine failed five laps later.

Scheckter inherited the lead, closely followed by Jones, Lauda and Patrese. On lap 27, Jones's driveshaft failed, before Scheckter began to suffer gearbox problems. On lap 34, Lauda overtook the South African, who retired three laps later. This left Patrese in second, with Reutemann up to third, Watson fourth, Didier Pironi fifth in the second Tyrrell and Keke Rosberg sixth in the ATS.[2]

On lap 41, Patrese suffered a rear puncture which led to a suspension failure. Pironi also retired on this lap with gearbox trouble, promoting Rosberg to fourth. The Finn soon came under pressure from Depailler, who got by on lap 49.

Reutemann closed up to Lauda and passed him for the lead on lap 60, as the two were lapping the McLaren of Bruno Giacomelli. The Argentine held off the Austrian for the remaining laps, eventually taking his third win of the season by 1.2 seconds. Watson finished 36 seconds behind Lauda and 36 ahead of Depailler, while a suspension failure for Rosberg on lap 60 meant that the final points went to Hans-Joachim Stuck in the Shadow and Patrick Tambay in the McLaren.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 11 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari 76 1:42:12.39 8 9
2 1 Austria Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo 76 + 1.23 4 6
3 2 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo 76 + 37.25 9 4
4 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 76 + 1:13.27 10 3
5 16 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck Shadow-Ford 75 + 1 Lap 18 2
6 8 France Patrick Tambay McLaren-Ford 75 + 1 Lap 20 1
7 33 Italy Bruno Giacomelli McLaren-Ford 75 + 1 Lap 16
8 30 United States Brett Lunger McLaren-Ford 75 + 1 Lap 24
9 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Ford 75 + 1 Lap 25
10 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 73 + 3 Laps 7
NC 9 West Germany Jochen Mass ATS-Ford 65 + 11 Laps 26
Ret 10 Finland Keke Rosberg ATS-Ford 59 Suspension 22
Ret 17 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Shadow-Ford 49 Gearbox 17
Ret 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault 46 Turbo 12
Ret 35 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 40 Suspension 5
Ret 3 France Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Ford 40 Gearbox 19
Ret 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford 36 Gearbox 3
Ret 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 32 Engine 11
Ret 37 Italy Arturo Merzario Merzario-Ford 32 Fuel System 23
Ret 22 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly Ensign-Ford 30 Wheel 15
Ret 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 28 Engine 2
Ret 27 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford 26 Transmission 6
Ret 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 19 Transmission 13
Ret 25 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Lotus-Ford 15 Gearbox 21
Ret 7 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford 7 Accident 14
Ret 6 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford 6 Fuel Leak 1
DNQ 18 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan Surtees-Ford
DNQ 36 West Germany Rolf Stommelen Arrows-Ford
DNQ 23 United Kingdom Geoff Lees Ensign-Ford
DNQ 40 United Kingdom Tony Trimmer McLaren-Ford

Lap leaders[edit]

Mario Andretti 23 laps (1–23); Jody Scheckter 10 laps (24–33); Niki Lauda 26 laps (34–59); Carlos Reutemann 17 laps (60–76).

Championship standings after the race[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ "What? - Martini". 8W. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Grand Prix Results: British GP, 1978". Grandprix.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  3. ^ "1978 British Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Britain 1978 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 13 March 2019.

Previous race:
1978 French Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1978 season
Next race:
1978 German Grand Prix
Previous race:
1977 British Grand Prix
British Grand Prix Next race:
1979 British Grand Prix
Preceded by
1977 British Grand Prix
Formula One Promotional Trophy
for Race Promoter

Succeeded by
1979 Italian Grand Prix