1979 British Grand Prix
|Race 9 of 15 in the 1979 Formula One season|
|Date||14 July 1979|
|Official name||XXXII Marlboro British Grand Prix|
|Location||Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.719 km (2.932 mi)|
|Distance||68 laps, 320.871 km (199.380 mi)|
|Time||1:14.40 on lap 39|
Qualifying saw Alan Jones take his and the Williams team's first pole position by 0.6 seconds from Jean-Pierre Jabouille in the Renault. Nelson Piquet took third in the Brabham with the second Williams of Clay Regazzoni alongside him on the second row, while René Arnoux in the second Renault and Niki Lauda in the second Brabham made up the third row. Completing the top ten were John Watson in the McLaren, the Lotuses of Carlos Reutemann and Mario Andretti, and Jacques Laffite in the Ligier. The Ferraris disappointed, with championship leader Jody Scheckter only managing 11th and Gilles Villeneuve 13th.
At the start of the race, Regazzoni charged into the lead, but was repassed by team-mate Jones and Jabouille before the end of the first lap. Andretti and the Ferraris also made fast starts, running close to Piquet, Lauda and Arnoux. At the end of lap 2, Piquet made a mistake at Woodcote and spun off, before Andretti dropped out with a broken wheel bearing on lap 4. Then Lauda encountered brake problems which eventually led to his retirement on lap 13, leaving Arnoux fourth with Scheckter fifth and Villeneuve dutifully following the South African.
Up at the front, Jones established a commanding lead over Jabouille, who was struggling on Michelin tyres that were wearing quickly. On lap 17, the Frenchman pitted for new tyres, promoting Regazzoni to second. However, disaster struck for Jabouille when, after a long stop, part of his front wing got caught in an air hose and was broken off as he accelerated. He was forced to return to the pits for repairs, during which his turbo overheated.
At half-distance, Jones still led comfortably, with Regazzoni still second and well clear of Arnoux, and Laffite moving ahead of the Ferraris into fourth. Then, approaching Woodcote at the end of lap 39, Jones's engine failed, a water pump problem causing it to overheat. Six laps later, Laffite also retired with engine trouble. This left only four drivers on the lead lap - Regazzoni, Arnoux, Scheckter and Villeneuve - with Jean-Pierre Jarier up to fifth in his Tyrrell and Watson sixth.
The Ferraris were also struggling on Michelins, and Villeneuve pitted for new tyres on lap 50, before stopping with fuel vaporization problems five laps from the end. Scheckter, meanwhile, was lapped by Regazzoni on lap 56, before Jarier and Watson passed him in the closing laps.
Regazzoni eventually took the chequered flag 24 seconds ahead of Arnoux, giving Williams their first Formula One victory. It was also the fifth and final win for the popular Swiss driver. After Jarier, Watson and Scheckter came Jacky Ickx, taking the final point in the second Ligier.
- Lap Leaders: Alan Jones 38 laps (1-38); Clay Regazzoni 30 laps (39-68).
- Jones's pole-position time in his ground-effect Williams FW07 was some 6.6 seconds faster than the pole time set in the previous Grand Prix at Silverstone, two years before, by James Hunt in his non-ground-effect McLaren M26.
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 4 results from the first 7 races and the best 4 results from the last 8 races counted towards the Drivers' Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
1979 French Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1979 German Grand Prix
1978 British Grand Prix
|British Grand Prix||Next race:
1980 British Grand Prix