1980 South African Grand Prix

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1980 South African Grand Prix
Race 3 of 14 in the 1980 Formula One season
Kyalami 1968layout.svg
Race details
Date 1 March 1980
Location Kyalami
Transvaal Province, South Africa
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.104 km (2.550 mi)
Distance 78 laps, 320.112 km (198.908 mi)
Weather Dry
Pole position
Driver Renault
Time 1:10.00
Fastest lap
Driver France René Arnoux Renault
Time 1:13.15 on lap 51
First Renault
Second Ligier-Ford
Third Ligier-Ford

The 1980 South African Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 1 March 1980 at Kyalami in Gauteng, South Africa. It was the third round of the 1980 Formula One season. The race was the twenty-sixth South African Grand Prix and the fourteenth to be held at Kyalami. The race was held over 78 laps of the 4.104-kilometre circuit for a total race distance of 320 kilometres.

The race was won by French driver René Arnoux driving a Renault RE20. It was Arnoux' second World Championship victory adding to his win at the previous race the 1980 Brazilian Grand Prix. Arnoux won by 34 seconds over fellow French driver Jacques Laffite driving a Ligier JS11/15. Laffite's Ligier team mate Didier Pironi was third, completing an all-French podium. This was the first race since the 1968 United States Grand Prix to have three drivers from the same country on the podium; all three were also driving French-built cars.

The race was additionally notable because of two accidents during qualifying: French driver Alain Prost broke his wrist when he crashed his McLaren M29 at the Esses after a suspension failure, while Swiss driver Marc Surer badly injured his legs when he crashed the new ATS D4 at Crowthorne Corner at the end of the straight. Neither started the race, with Prost also missing the following race and Surer the next three races.[1][2] ATS had only just downsized from two entries to one, but with Surer injured the former #2 driver Dutchman Jan Lammers rejoined the team. The new ATS D4 was too heavily damaged to be repaired and leaving Lammers to try and fail to qualify an ATS D3.

In common with the previous race in Brazil, altitude gave the turbo-charged Renaults a dominant edge in speed. Third on the grid, Nelson Piquet was almost two seconds behind in qualifying in his Brabham BT49. Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Arnoux led for much of the race until Jabouille punctured. The Ligiers climbed into the podium positions as championship leader Alan Jones retired his Williams FW07B. Piquet finished fourth ahead of Carlos Reutemann in the second Williams. The final point was claimed by Jochen Mass in his Arrows A3.

Thirteen cars finished the race although Patrick Depailler's Alfa Romeo 179 was too far behind to be classified. Geoff Lees was classified 13th as he crashed his Shadow DN11 late in the race.

Arnoux became the new championship points leader, five points up on Jones and nine ahead of Piquet. Similarly Renault now led the constructors points over Williams.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 16 France René Arnoux Renault 78 1:36:52.54 2 9
2 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Ford 78 + 34.07 4 6
3 25 France Didier Pironi Ligier-Ford 78 + 52.49 5 4
4 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 78 + 1:01.02 3 3
5 28 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 77 + 1 Lap 6 2
6 30 West Germany Jochen Mass Arrows-Ford 77 + 1 Lap 19 1
7 3 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Tyrrell-Ford 77 + 1 Lap 13
8 20 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 77 + 1 Lap 18
9 14 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ensign-Ford 77 + 1 Lap 20
10 6 Argentina Ricardo Zunino Brabham-Ford 77 + 1 Lap 17
11 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford 76 + 2 Laps 21
12 11 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 76 + 2 Laps 15
13 17 United Kingdom Geoff Lees Shadow-Ford 70 Suspension 24
Ret 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 69 Engine 12
Ret 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault 61 Puncture 1
Ret 4 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly Tyrrell-Ford 61 Puncture 16
Ret 21 Finland Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford 58 Accident 23
NC 22 France Patrick Depailler Alfa Romeo 53 + 25 Laps 7
Ret 27 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford 34 Gearbox 8
Ret 2 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 31 Transmission 10
Ret 1 South Africa Jody Scheckter Ferrari 14 Engine 9
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 10 Spun Off 11
Ret 31 United States Eddie Cheever Osella-Ford 8 Spun Off 22
Ret 12 Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 1 Spun Off 14
DNS 8 France Alain Prost McLaren-Ford Accident
DNS 9 Switzerland Marc Surer ATS-Ford Accident
DNQ 18 Republic of Ireland David Kennedy Shadow-Ford
DNQ 10 Netherlands Jan Lammers ATS-Ford

Championship standings after the race[edit]

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


  1. ^ "History of McLaren - Timeline - The 1980s". McLaren. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Grand Prix Results: South African GP, 1980". Grandprix.com. Retrieved 10 November 2008. 
  3. ^ "1980 South African Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 18 February 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 

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1980 Brazilian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1980 season
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1980 United States Grand Prix West
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1979 South African Grand Prix
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1981 South African Grand Prix