1980 Italian Grand Prix
The 1980 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 14 September 1980 at the Imola Circuit in Italy. It was the twelfth race of the 1980 Formula One season. The race was the 50th Italian Grand Prix and the first Grand Prix to be held at Imola. It was the first time since the 1948 Italian Grand Prix was held at Parco del Valentino that the Autodromo Nazionale Monza did not host the Italian Grand Prix. Monza was under refurbishment at the time. The race was such a success that a new race, the San Marino Grand Prix was established for Imola. The race was held over 60 laps of the 5.000-kilometre circuit for a total race distance of 300 kilometres.
The race was won by Brazilian driver,
Nelson Piquet driving a Brabham BT49. The win was Piquet's third Formula One Grand Prix victory and his second in succession. Piquet won by 28 seconds over championship points leader, Australian driver Alan Jones driving a Williams FW07B. Jones' Argentinian team mate Carlos Reutemann finished third.
Manfred Winkelhock made his debut, substituting for the still injured Jochen Mass at Arrows. He did not make it to the race after his Arrows A3 collided with the Lotus 81B of Nigel Mansell in practice, putting out both. Scuderia Ferrari debuted their first turbocar, the Ferrari 126C but
Gilles Villeneuve started the race in his regular Ferrari 312T5. Regardless, after a very heavy crash in practice at the flat-out right hander before Tosa, reigning world champion Jody Scheckter announced his retirement from the sport.
The front row of the grid was occupied by the Renault RE20s of
René Arnoux and Jean-Pierre Jabouille although Piquet led by lap 4 and was never headed. On the sixth lap Villeneuve crashed his 312T5 heavily at the corner which now bears his name. Villeneuve was unhurt and Bruno Giacomelli retired his Alfa Romeo 179 after running over debris. Jones climbed into second after running as low as seventh. Behind Reutemann, Elio de Angelis finished fourth in his Lotus 81, a season highlight for Team Lotus from whom de Angelis' second place at the Brazilian Grand Prix was the only time a Lotus improved on fourth in 1980. Keke Rosberg finished fifth in his Fittipaldi F8, also his second best result of the year. Didier Pironi finished sixth in his Ligier JS11/15. Twelve cars finished, thirteen were classified including the Tyrrell 010 of Jean-Pierre Jarier who had brake failure with five laps to go.
The performances of Jones and Reutemann put Williams 34 points ahead of Ligier and secured the British team their first constructors' championship.
Despite finishing second to Piquet, Jones lost the world championship points lead. With two races to go Piquet led by a point as the European leg of the championship concluded. Reutemann was now five points ahead of
Jacques Laffite and eight ahead of Arnoux. There would be a two-week break while the championship relocated to North America for the conclusion of the season and the championship showdown that would erupt at the Canadian Grand Prix.