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1980 United States Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1980 United States Grand Prix
Race 14 of 14 in the 1980 Formula One season
Race details
Date October 5, 1980
Official name XXIII Toyota United States Grand Prix
Location Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course
Watkins Glen, New York
Course Permanent road course
Course length 5.435 km (3.377 miles)
Distance 59 laps, 320.67 km (199.24 miles)
Weather Cloudy and dry with temperatures reaching up to 12 °C (54 °F);
Wind speeds up to 14.82 km/h (9.21 mph)[1]
Pole position
Driver Alfa Romeo
Time 1:33.291
Fastest lap
Driver Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford
Time 1:34.068 on lap 44
First Williams-Ford
Second Williams-Ford
Third Ligier-Ford
Lap leaders

The 1980 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on October 5, 1980 at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course in Watkins Glen, New York.[2] This event was also referred to as the United States Grand Prix East in order to distinguish it from the United States Grand Prix West held on March 30, 1980 in Long Beach, California.

It was the fourteenth and final race of the 1980 Formula One season. The race was the 30th United States Grand Prix, the 20th and last to be held at Watkins Glen, and the last to be held for nine years (other Formula One races were held in the United States during that time, but none were billed as the United States Grand Prix). The race was held over 59 laps of the 5.435-kilometre (3.377 mi) circuit for a total race distance of 320.67 kilometres (199.26 mi).

The race was won by the new World Champion, Australian driver Alan Jones, driving a Williams FW07B. It was Jones' fifth World Championship Formula One victory of the season and the sixth of the seven Grands Prix (including Spain and Australia) he would win in his career defining season. Jones won by four seconds over his Argentine team mate Carlos Reutemann with French driver Didier Pironi finishing third in his Ligier JS11/15. Two former World Champions, Emerson Fittipaldi and Jody Scheckter, retired after the race, although Fittipaldi would later return to racing in the American CART series.

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Frank Williams' first Championship season, his eleventh as an owner, ended in style with another victory by team leader and new Driver's Champion Alan Jones, but this was the last Grand Prix to be held on the historic Watkins Glen course in the wooded hills at the foot of Seneca Lake. The Glen's demise came about when attempts to resurface the track proved not to be enough, runoff areas became too short for the speeds produced, and attendance was not what it had been, for even this race had been in doubt until just a month before.

As the track's last Grand Prix weekend got under way, the big surprise of qualifying was the Alfa Romeo of Italian Bruno Giacomelli, who was quickest in both Friday's and Saturday's sessions, averaging 130.314 mph (209.720 km/h). Giacomelli took the only pole of his 69-race career, and the first for Alfa Romeo since 1951, by three-quarters of a second over a tightly-bunched group including Nelson Piquet's Brabham, Carlos Reutemann's Williams, Elio de Angelis' Lotus and Jones in the second Williams.

Race day threatened rain, but none appeared. Alain Prost, completing his first F1 season had a heavy crash at Turn 10 during Friday practice. He hit his head on his McLaren's steering wheel and suffered a concussion, forcing him to miss the race. This enabled Dutchman Jan Lammers to start the race, and Prost, already having suffered 8 previous mechanical failures during the season chose to leave McLaren for the factory Renault team. At the start, Giacomelli got off the line well and led into the first turn. Jones rocketed forward from fifth on the grid to second entering Turn One, but he could not hold his line through the turn. He, along with Giacomelli's teammate Andrea de Cesaris swung wide onto the dirt, then collected himself and continued, finishing the first lap in fourteenth place.

At the end of a lap, Giacomelli had opened a gap back to Piquet, followed by Reutemann, Didier Pironi, de Angelis and Héctor Rebaque. In two more laps, the Alfa was ahead by two and a half seconds. Meanwhile, Jones was battling his way back through the field, and on lap 7, he was already poking around the gearbox of John Watson's McLaren, trying to take seventh place. Watson held him off until the tenth lap, and, once by, Jones quickly pulled away after de Angelis and Pironi.

Giacomelli continued to set an even pace, and his lead was ten seconds on lap 21, with Reutemann now threatening Piquet, whose tires were beginning to go off. Jones had caught up to de Angelis, and on the next lap, got around him for fifth.

Reutemann's pressure, and the Brabham's increasing lack of grip, finally got to Piquet on lap 26 as he spun off in turn one. The off-road excursion damaged a skirt, and he retired after reaching the pits. Three laps later, Jones passed Pironi for third, as the Ligier was also suffering from tire wear.

The only car between Jones and the leader now was teammate Reutemann, but with the Driver's Championship already in Jones' hands, there would be no team orders. Understeer induced by a worn left front tire was plaguing the Argentine, however, and Jones easily overcame him on lap 30 and set his sights on Giacomelli, now 12 seconds ahead. The red and white Alfa Romeo coasted to a halt in the Boot on lap 32 with electrical trouble. Once in the lead, Jones went faster and faster, finally doing a 1:34.068 on lap 44, better than his qualifying time.

When Watson pitted to replace a broken shock absorber on his McLaren, crowd favorite Mario Andretti moved up to the final points position. A set of new tires allowed René Arnoux to catch and pass the American, but a broken skirt soon slowed the Renault, and Andretti was able to regain the sixth spot and score his only point of the season.

The Williams team celebrated the climax to a year in which they had taken the Driver's and Constructor's Championships by waving a huge Union Flag at their one-two finish. The race saw not only the end of Formula One at Watkins Glen, but former champions Emerson Fittipaldi and Jody Scheckter's last Grand Prix and Mario Andretti's last race for Colin Chapman and Lotus. This Grand Prix would also witness the final occasion where a privateer entry would be classified as a finisher with Rupert Keegan finishing in 9th place in a RAM Racing-entered Williams FW07.



Pos No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 1:33.291
2 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford 1:34.080 +0.789
3 28 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford 1:34.111 +0.820
4 12 Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford 1:34.185 +0.894
5 27 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford 1:34.216 +0.925
6 16 France René Arnoux Renault 1:34.839 +1.548
7 26 France Didier Pironi Ligier-Ford 1:34.971 +1.680
8 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Brabham-Ford 1:35.166 +1.875
9 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford 1:35.202 +1.921
10 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo 1:35.235 +1.954
11 11 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 1:35.343 +2.052
12 25 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Ford 1:35.421 +2.130
13 8 France Alain Prost McLaren-Ford 1:35.988 +2.697
14 21 Finland Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford 1:36.332 +3.041
15 50 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan Williams-Ford 1:36.750 +3.459
16 31 United States Eddie Cheever Osella-Ford 1:36.908 +3.607
17 9 Switzerland Marc Surer ATS-Ford 1:37.001 +3.710
18 2 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 1:37.040 +3.749
19 20 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 1:37.088 +3.797
20 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 1:37.405 +4.114
21 4 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly Tyrrell-Ford 1:37.923 +4.632
22 3 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Tyrrell-Ford 1:37.966 +4.675
23 1 South Africa Jody Scheckter Ferrari 1:38.149 +4.858
24 30 West Germany Jochen Mass Arrows-Ford 1:38.526 +5.535
25 14 Netherlands Jan Lammers Ensign-Ford 1:38.532 +5.541
DNQ 43 New Zealand Mike Thackwell Tyrrell-Ford 1:51.102 +17.811
DNQ 51 United Kingdom Geoff Lees Williams-Ford - -
DNA 60 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell* Lotus-Ford - -
DNA 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille* Renault - -
  • = Mansell was originally entered in this race, but Andretti used the car originally allocated to Mansell after Andretti wrote off his car during the Canadian Grand Prix one week earlier. Jabouille was also entered in this race, but had to miss out due to leg injuries sustained at the same Canadian race.


Pos No Driver Constructor Tyre Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 27 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford G 59 1:34:36.05 5 9
2 28 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams-Ford G 59 + 4.21 3 6
3 25 France Didier Pironi Ligier-Ford G 59 + 12.57 7 4
4 12 Italy Elio de Angelis Lotus-Ford G 59 + 29.69 4 3
5 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Ford G 58 + 1 Lap 12 2
6 11 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford G 58 + 1 Lap 11 1
7 16 France René Arnoux Renault M 58 + 1 Lap 6
8 9 Switzerland Marc Surer ATS-Ford G 57 + 2 Laps 17
9 50 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan Williams-Ford G 57 + 2 Laps 15
10 21 Finland Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Ford G 57 + 2 Laps 14
11 1 South Africa Jody Scheckter Ferrari M 56 + 3 Laps 23
NC 7 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford G 50 + 9 Laps 9
Ret 2 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari M 49 Accident 18
NC 3 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Tyrrell-Ford G 40 + 19 Laps 22
Ret 30 West Germany Jochen Mass Arrows-Ford G 36 Transmission 24
Ret 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo G 31 Electrical 1
Ret 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-Ford G 25 Spun Off 2
Ret 6 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Brabham-Ford G 20 Engine 8
Ret 31 United States Eddie Cheever Osella-Ford G 20 Suspension 16
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford G 16 Spun Off 20
Ret 14 Netherlands Jan Lammers Ensign-Ford G 16 Steering 25
Ret 20 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford G 15 Suspension 19
Ret 4 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly Tyrrell-Ford G 3 Spun Off 21
Ret 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo G 2 Accident 10
DNS 8 France Alain Prost McLaren-Ford G Driver Injured 13

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 5 results from the first 7 races and the best 5 results from the last 7 races counted towards the Drivers' Championship. If different from Championship points, total points scored are shown in parentheses.


  1. ^ "Weather History for Watkins Glen, NY". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  2. ^ "1980 United States Grand Prix Entry list".
  3. ^ "1980 USA East Grand Prix". Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  4. ^ "1980 United States Grand Prix - Race Results & History - GP Archive". October 5, 1980. Retrieved November 1, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "United States 1980 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved March 21, 2019.

Further reading

  • Rob Walker (January, 1981). "22nd United States Grand Prix: Final Round". Road & Track, 110-113.

Previous race:
1980 Canadian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1980 season
Next race:
1981 United States Grand Prix West
Previous race:
1979 United States Grand Prix
United States Grand Prix Next race:
1989 United States Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 26 August 2023, at 05:06
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