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1980 South African Grand Prix

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Title: 1980 South African Grand Prix  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Alain Prost, Riccardo Patrese, Manfred Winkelhock, Gilles Villeneuve, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Keke Rosberg, Renault in Formula One, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jody Scheckter
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1980 South African Grand Prix

  1980 South African Grand Prix
Race details
Race 3 of 14 in the 1980 Formula One season

Date 1 March 1980
Location Kyalami
Gauteng, South Africa
Course Permanent racing facility
4.104 km (2.550 mi)
Distance 78 laps, 320.112 km (198.908 mi)
Weather Dry

Pole position
Driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault
Time 1:10.00
Fastest lap
Driver René Arnoux Renault
Time 1:13.15 on lap 51
First René Arnoux Renault
Second Jacques Laffite Ligier-Ford
Third Didier Pironi 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 France podium. This was the first race since the 1968 United States Grand Prix to have a podium made up of drivers from just one country. All three drivers 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. Swiss driver Marc Surer was hurt more seriously when he crashed the new ATS D4 at Crowthorne Corner at the end of the straight. Surer suffered serious injuries to his legs. 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 René Arnoux Renault 78 1:36:52.54 2 9
2 26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Ford 78 +34.07 4 6
3 25 Didier Pironi Ligier-Ford 78 +52.49 5 4
4 5 Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 78 +1:01.02 3 3
5 28 Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 77 +1 Lap 6 2
6 30 Jochen Mass Arrows-Ford 77 +1 Lap 19 1
7 3 Jean-Pierre Jarier Tyrrell-Ford 77 +1 Lap 13
8 20 Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 77 +1 Lap 18
9 14 Clay Regazzoni Ensign-Ford 77 +1 Lap 20
10 6 Ricardo Zunino Brabham-Ford 77 +1 Lap 17
11 7 John Watson McLaren-Ford 76 +2 Laps 21
12 11 Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 76 +2 laps 15
13 17 Geoff Lees Shadow-Ford 70 Suspension 24
Ret 23 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 69 Engine 12
Ret 15 Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault 61 Puncture 1
Ret 4 Derek Daly Tyrrell-Ford 61 Puncture 16
Ret 21 Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford 58 Accident 23
NC 22 Patrick Depailler Alfa Romeo 53 Not Classified 7
Ret 27 Alan Jones Williams-Ford 34 Gearbox 8
Ret 2 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 31 Transmission 10
Ret 1 Jody Scheckter Ferrari 14 Engine 9
Ret 29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 10 Spun Off 11
Ret 31 Eddie Cheever Osella-Ford 8 Spun Off 22
Ret 12 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 1 Spun Off 14
DNS 8 Alain Prost McLaren-Ford Accident
DNS 9 Marc Surer ATS-Ford Accident
DNQ 18 Dave Kennedy Shadow-Ford
DNQ 10 Jan Lammers ATS-Ford

Standings after the race

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


  1. ^ History of McLaren - Timeline - The 1980s
  2. ^ "Grand Prix Results: South African GP, 1980". GP Encyclopedia. Inside F1, Inc. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
Previous race:
1980 Brazilian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1980 season
Next race:
1980 United States Grand Prix West
Previous race:
1979 South African Grand Prix
South African Grand Prix Next race:
1981 South African Grand Prix
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