1980 Spanish Grand Prix

1980 Spanish Grand Prix

Infobox Grand Prix race report
Type = NC
Country = Spain
Grand Prix = Spanish
Date = June 1
Year = 1980
Flag_suffix = 1977

Official name = XXVI Gran Premio de Espana
Location = Circuito Permanente Del Jarama in Madrid, Spain
Course = Permanent racing facility
Course_mi = 2.115
Course_km = 3.404
Distance_laps = 80
Distance_mi = 169.200
Distance_km = 272.320
Weather = Sunshine [cite news |title=Jones Must Wait For Confirmation Of Win |date=1980-06-02 |first=John |last=Blunsden |work=The Times |quote= (the race) was held in blazing sunshine with the thermometer hovering around the 100 degrees mark]
Pole_Driver = Jacques Laffite
Pole_Country = France
Pole_Team = Ligier-Ford
Pole_Time = 1:12.647
Fast_Driver = Alan Jones
Fast_Team = Williams-Ford
Fast_Time =

Fast_Country = Australia
First_Driver = Alan Jones
First_Country = Australia
First_Team = Williams-Ford
Second_Driver = Jochen Mass
Second_Country = Germany
Second_Team = Arrows-Ford
Third_Driver = Elio de Angelis
Third_Country = Italy
Third_Team = Lotus-Ford

The 1980 Spanish Grand Prix (formally the XXVI Gran Premio de Espana) was a Formula One motor race held on June 1, 1980 at Circuito Permanente del Jarama. Originally scheduled to be part of the 1980 Formula One World Championship, following the running of the race it was announced that World Championship points would not be awarded to the competitors, making it a non-championship race. The winner of the race was Alan Jones, driving for the Williams team. Jochen Mass finished second for Arrows and Elio de Angelis third for Team Lotus.

Owing to disputes as part of the FISA-FOCA war, the race went ahead without the teams of Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Renault, because the FISA, then the governing body of Formula One, had declared the race illegal. The other teams drove the race, now sanctioned by Bernie Ecclestone's FOCA. All teams competing in the race ran Ford engines.


The Spanish Grand Prix was originally scheduled to be the seventh round of the 1980 World Championship. Disputes between motorsports' governing body, the FISA, and the body representing the chassis builders (constructors) competing in the championship, the FOCA. At the advice of FOCA, drivers had been advised to boycott the driver briefings at the Belgium and Monaco Grands Prix, the preceding rounds of the championship. FOCA's lawyers had noticed that drivers' presence at the briefings was not mandated by the rulebook, however FISA issued fines of approximately $2000 [cite news |title=Laffite gains pole-position in 'controversial' Grand Prix |author=United Press International |work=Rome News-Tribune |date=1980-06-01 |page=2C] to these drivers, and after non-payment had threatened suspension of the involved drivers' racing licences.cite web |title=Poachers turned gamekeepers: 1979-1980 – the FIA on the counter attack |url=http://8w.forix.com/fiasco-79-80.html |first=Mattijs |last=Diepraam |date=2007-12-13 |work=8W |publisher=Haymarket] By May 29th, prior to the first official practice for the race, FISA had ordered the suspension of the racing licences of fifteen drivers.cite news |title=Spanish GP is now in imminent danger |date=1980-05-30 |work=The Times |page=10]

In response, the teams affiliated to FOCA threatened to withdraw from the race. The organizers of the event, the Real Automóvil Club de España (RACE), concerned that their race was in jeopardy, offered to pay a deposit on the fines owed by the drivers. The FISA refused any payment, unless RACE could prove that the deposit came from the drivers themselves (which would be an admission of guilt on the teams part). The King of Spain, Juan Carlos, insisted that RACE proceed with the event, and as a result RACE bypassed the Federación Española de Automovilismo, the Spanish motorsport federation, who were affiliated to FISA. With the race now not sanctioned by FISA, there was no requirement that the drivers to hold a FISA racing licence.

Practice & Qualifying

Meanwhile, on track the first practice session had begun at 10:00 local time. FOCA teams didn't take part, leaving only the manufacturer teams of Renault, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo contesting. Because of the statement made by RACE, this session was halted after half an hour by the organizers. The Guardia Civil then escorted FISA officials out of the circuit. Practice got underway again at 12:30, this time consisting of all the teams with the exception of Renault, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Osella. Citing fear of further sanctions in other forms of motorsport should they take part in a race deemed illegal by FISA, these four teams withdrew from practice, although all remained at the circuit in case a compromise deal was brokered before the race.

The first timed qualifying session occurred on Friday afternoon. Ligier driver Jacques Laffite was fastest, with a time of 1:12.647, which was over a second and a half quicker than the pole position time set the previous year. Didier Pironi, Laffite's team-mate at Ligier, finished second with Williams drivers Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones taking third and fourth places in the session.

Saturday saw hotter temperatures, which meant that cars were approximately half-a-second slower per lap than they had been on Friday.cite news |title=1980: FISA/FOCA war over F1 | work = Autosport.com | publisher = Haymarket | url=http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=27490] Osella, who had not taken part in any running on Friday did compete on Saturday, following a decision by team owner Enzo Osella to loan the cars and drivers to his sponsors, Denim Aftershave, and the team's entry was named after them. Osella believed that this would mean no penalties were issued against his constructor's licence. In the final timed session, Williams driver Alan Jones attempted to beat the time of Laffite set on Friday to secure pole. Switching to his spare car, Jones improved on his Friday time, but not enough to displace Laffite. He qualified in second position, displacing Pironi to third and Reutemann to fourth.

With the six cars from Renault, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo not taking part, all the remaining 22 entrants automatically qualified for one of the 26 starting positions. This was the only race in the season where both Shadow cars qualified for a race. [cite news |title=Jones must wait for confirmation of his win |first=John |last=Blunsden |work=The Times |page=8 |date=1980-06-02]


The race started at 16:00 local time. Carlos Reutemann made a good start from fourth place on the grid, and drew level with his team-mate Alan Jones, who had passed pole-sitter Jacques Laffite. Following the first corner of the race, Reutemann lead from Jones, with Laffite in third alongside his Ligier team-mate Didier Pironi. That remained the order at the end of the first lap, with Nelson Piquet a close fifth and the rest of the field dropping back from the leaders. David Kennedy spun off the track at the start of lap two and was unable to rejoin the race and so became the first retirement. Local wildcard driver Emilio de Villota had a similar incident but was able to rejoin, albeit in last place.

Pironi had opted to use a harder rear-left tyre than his rear-right and by lap three he was struggling with the handling of the car. In addition, he was having problems with his brakes. A slight mistake allowed Piquet to overtake him for fourth place. Alain Prost, running in 12th place was forced to retire on lap five with engine problems. Both Keke Rosberg and Derek Daly suffered brake failure causing them to crash, neither were hurt. A missed gearshift by Jones on lap 13 saw him drop three places to fifth. Laffite, who had moved up to second as a result made a few attempts to pass Reutemann for the lead, but was unable to find a way past.

Jan Lammers was running in fourth place, when brake problems forced him to come into the pits. He rejoined, but suffered electrical problems and pitted again where the ATS team took the decision to retire the car. Mario Andretti pulled into the pits to retire on lap 29 with a broken engine, and one lap later Riccardo Patrese retired form the race with a broken gearbox, having stopped for a lengthy pitstop five laps previously which had dropped him down the order.

On lap 36, the leaders came up to lap Emilio de Villota. De Villota attempted to move out of the way of Reutemann by taking the inside line through the corner, allowing Reutemann to go around him. Laffite saw an opportunity to get past Reutemann by going inside of de Villota. Instead he collided with de Villota which caused him to bounce off and hit Reutemann as well. Both Reutemann and Laffite retired on the spot and although de Villota was able to carry on to the pits, his suspension was beyond repair and his race was also over. Piquet assumed the lead of the race, with Pironi second and Jones third within three seconds of the leader. Piquet's led for seven laps until on lap 42 his Brabham's gearbox failed, and he was unable to continue. Geoff Lees retired on the same lap, with a broken wishbone on his car. Due in part to the number of retirements, the two leaders had built up a lead of around 50 seconds to the rest of the field by the halfway stage.

When coming up to lap Patrick Gaillard, John Watson misjudged Gaillard's braking point and hit him. Watson's McLaren was launched into the air over Gaillard's Ensign. Gaillard continued after a pitstop to replace some of the Ensign's body panels however Watson's race was over.

Pironi was 15 laps from the end, when he noticed a front wheel wobble on his Ligier. He slowed the car to approx 50kph (30mph) before the wheel came off, and he pulled off the track at the end of the start/finish straight to retire, giving Jones the lead.

Post race

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), FISA's parent organization, held an extraordinary meeting on June 2nd in Athens to discuss the fallout from the Spanish Grand Prix. [cite news |title=Spanish Grand Prix is declared illegal and Rio ruling to stand |work=The Times |page=12 |date=1980-06-03 |last=Blunsden |first=John] At the meeting it was decided that the race would not count for championship points. [cite video |people= (narrator) |date2= 2004-04-19 |title=Formula One 1980 Double First: Williams and Jones |medium= DVD |publisher= Duke Video |location=Douglas, Isle of Man |quote=...but the International Automobile Federation had decided the race would not count for championship points.] A meeting by the FIA Executive Committee in July confirmed this position, and also announced that all drivers that took part in the race would be fined $3000.

Race Result


External links

* [http://atlasf1.autosport.com/2000/aut/faq.html F1 FAQ]
* [http://www.autosport-atlas.com/article.asp?id=27490 1980: FISA/FOCA war over F1 at autosport.com]

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