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The 1978 Formula One season was the 29th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. Included was the F1 World Championship and one non-championship race. The season commenced on January 15, 1978 in Argentina, and ended on October 8 in Canada after sixteen races.

The World Drivers' Champion was American Mario Andretti, who drove for the Constructors' Champions, Lotus-Ford Cosworth. It would be Andretti's only title, and Lotus' last title.

The season was marred by the death of Andretti's teammate, Ronnie Peterson, at the Italian Grand Prix. Peterson finished second the Championship.


Teams and DriversEdit

Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 1978 Formula One Season is outlined below:

Constructor Chassis Tyre No. Driver Rounds
Team Engine
Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45C
BT46
BT46B
G 1 Austria Niki Lauda All
United Kingdom Parmalat Racing Team Alfa Romeo 115-12 F12 3.0 2 United Kingdom John Watson All
66 Brazil Nelson Piquet 16
Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 008 G 3 France Didier Pironi All
United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 4 France Patrick Depailler All
Lotus-Ford Cosworth 78
79
G 5 United States Mario Andretti All
United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 6 Sweden John Watson 1–14
55 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 15–16
McLaren-Ford Cosworth M26 G 7 United Kingdom James Hunt All
United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 8 France Patrick Tambay 1–5, 7–16
33 Italy Bruno Giacomelli 6, 9–10, 13–14
ATS-Ford Cosworth HS1
D1
G 9 Germany Jochen Mass 1–13
Germany ATS Racing Team
Germany F&S Properties/ATS Racing Team
Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 9
10
Netherlands Michael Bleekemolen 13–16
10 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 1–5, 11
10 Italy Alberto Colombo 6–7
10 Finland Keke Rosberg 8–10, 15–16
10 Austria Hans Binder 12
10 Austria Harald Ertl 14
Ferrari 312T2
312T3
M 11 Argentina Carlos Reutemann All
Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve All
Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth F5A G 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi All
Brazil Fittipaldi Automotive Cosworth DFV V8 3.0
Renault RS01 M 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille 3–16
France Equipe Renault Elf Renault EF1 V6t 1.5
Shadow-Ford Cosworth DN8
DN9
G 16 Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck All
United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 17 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni All
Surtees-Ford Cosworth TS19
TS20
G 18 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan 1–13
United Kingdom Team Surtees
United Kingdom Durex Team Surtees
United Kingdom Beta Team Surtees
Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 18 Italy Gimax 14
18 France René Arnoux 15–16
19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla 1–14
19 Italy Beppe Gabbiani 15–16
Wolf-Ford Cosworth WR1
WR3
WR4
WR5
WR6
G 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter All
Canada Walter Wolf Racing Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 21 United States Bobby Rahal 15–16
Ensign-Ford Cosworth N177 G 22 United States Danny Ongais 1–2
United Kingdom Team Tissot Ensign Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 22
23
Italy Lamberto Leoni 1–4
22 Belgium Jacky Ickx 5–8
22 Ireland Derek Daly 9–10, 12–16
22 Brazil Nelson Piquet 11
23 United States Brett Lunger 15
Ensign-Ford Cosworth N175 G 23 United Kingdom Geoff Lees 10
United Kingdom Mario Deliotti Racing Cosworth DFV V8 3.0
Ensign-Ford Cosworth N177 G 23 Austria Harald Ertl 11–14
Germany Sachs Racing Cosworth DFV V8 3.0
Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 308E G 24 United Kingdom Divina Galica 1–2
United Kingdom Olympus Cameras/Hesketh Racing Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 24 United States Eddie Cheever 3
24 Ireland Derek Daly 4–6
Lotus-Ford Cosworth 78 G 25 Mexico Héctor Rebaque All
Mexico Team Rebaque Cosworth DFV V8 3.0
Ligier-Matra JS7
JS7/9
JS9
G 26 France Jacques Laffite All
France Ligier Gitanes Matra MS76 V12 3.0
Matra MS78 V12 3.0
Williams-Ford Cosworth FW06 G 27 Australia Alan Jones All
United Kingdom Williams Grand Prix Engineering Cosworth DFV V8 3.0
McLaren-Ford Cosworth M25* G 28 Spain Emilio de Villota 7
Spain Centro Asegurador Cosworth DFV V8 3.0
McLaren-Ford Cosworth M23
M26
G 29 Brazil Nelson Piquet 12–14
United Kingdom BS Fabrications
United Kingdom Liggett Group/BS Fabrications
Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 30 United States Brett Lunger 1–14
Martini-Ford Cosworth MK23 G 31 France René Arnoux 3, 5–6, 9–13
France Automobiles Martini Cosworth DFV V8 3.0
Theodore-Ford Cosworth
Wolf-Ford Cosworth
TR1
WR3
WR4
G 32 United States Eddie Cheever 1–2
Hong Kong Theodore Racing Hong Kong Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 32 Finland Keke Rosberg 3–7, 11–14
Merzario-Ford Cosworth A1 G 34 Italy Alberto Colombo 14
Italy Team Merzario Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 37 Italy Arturo Merzario All
Arrows-Ford Cosworth FA1
A1
G 35 Italy Riccardo Patrese 2–14, 16
United Kingdom Arrows Racing Team Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 36 Germany Rolf Stommelen 3–16
Shadow-Ford Cosworth DN9 G 39 United States Danny Ongais 4, 13
United States Interscope Racing Cosworth DFV V8 3.0
McLaren-Ford Cosworth M23 G 40 United Kingdom Tony Trimmer 10
United Kingdom Melchester Racing Cosworth DFV V8 3.0

CalendarEdit

World Championship ScheduleEdit

The full World Championship Schedule for 1978 is outlined below:

Round Grand Prix Date
1 Argentina Argentine Grand Prix 15 January
Autódromo Oscar y Juan Gálvez Circuito N° 15
Official Title XIV Gran Premio de la República Argentina
Circuit Buenos Aires
Location Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lap distance 5.968 km (3.709 mi)
Race distance 310.336 km (192.875 mi)
Date 15 January Laps 52
2 Brazil Brazilian Grand Prix 29 January
Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet
Official Title VII Grande Prêmio do Brasil
Circuit Jacarepaguá
Location Brazil Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lap distance 5.031 km (3.127 mi)
Race distance 316.953 km (196.988 mi)
Date 29 January Laps 63
3 South Africa South African Grand Prix 4 March
Kyalami 1968layout
Official Title XXIV Grand Prix of South Africa
Circuit Kyalami Circuit
Location South Africa Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa
Lap distance 4.104 km (2.551 mi)
Race distance 320.112 km (198.951 mi)
Date 4 March Laps 78
4 United States United States Grand Prix West 2 April
Long Beach 1978
Official Title 3rd Long Beach Grand Prix
Circuit Long Beach Street Circuit
Location United States Long Beach, California, USA
Lap distance 3.251 km (2.021 mi)
Race distance 260.080 km (161.641 mi)
Date 2 April Laps 80
5 Monaco Monaco Grand Prix 7 May
Circuit de Monaco 1976
Official Title 36e Grand Prix de Monaco
Circuit Circuit de Monaco
Location Monaco Monte Carlo, Monaco
Lap distance 3.312 km (2.058 mi)
Race distance 248.400 km (154.382 mi)
Date 7 May Laps 75
6 Belgium Belgian Grand Prix 21 May
Circuit Zolder-1975-1985
Official Title XXXVI Grand Prix of Belgium
Circuit Circuit Zolder
Location Belgium Heusden-Zolder, Belgium
Lap distance 4.262 km (2.649 mi)
Race distance 298.340 km (185.42 mi)
Date 21 May Laps 70
7 Spain Spanish Grand Prix 4 June
Circuito Permanente del Jarama 1980
Official Title XXIV Gran Premio de España
Circuit Circuito del Jarama
Location Spain San Sebastián de los Reyes, Spain
Lap distance 3.404 km (2.116 mi)
Race distance 255.300 km (158.67 mi)
Date 4 June Laps 75
8 Sweden Swedish Grand Prix 17 June
Scandinavian Raceway 1978
Official Title XIV Grand Prix of Sweden
Circuit Scandinavian Raceway
Location Sweden Anderstorp, Sweden
Lap distance 4.025 km (2.502 mi)
Race distance 281.750 km (175.109 mi)
Date 17 June Laps 70
9 France French Grand Prix 2 July
Circuit Paul Ricard Le Castellet 1970-1999
Official Title 64e Grand Prix de France
Circuit Circuit Paul Ricard
Location France Le Castellet, France
Lap distance 5.809 km (3.61 mi)
Race distance 313.686 km (194.957 mi)
Date 2 July Laps 54
10 United Kingdom British Grand Prix 16 July
Brands Hatch
Official Title XXXI John Player British Grand Prix
Circuit Brands Hatch
Location United Kingdom West Kingsdown, Kent, England
Lap distance 3.908 km (2.429 mi)
Race distance 297.008 km (184.592 mi)
Date 16 July Laps 76
11 Germany German Grand Prix 30 July
Circuit Hockenheimring-1970
Official Title XL Großer Preis von Deutschland
Circuit Hockenheimring
Location Germany Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Lap distance 6.789 km (4.219 mi)
Race distance 305.505 km (189.873 mi)
Date 30 July Laps 45
12 Austria Austrian Grand Prix 13 August
Österreichring1977
Official Title XL Großer Preis von Deutschland
Circuit Österreichring
Location Austria Spielberg, Styria, Austria
Lap distance 5.941 km (3.692 mi)
Race distance 320.814 km (199.387 mi)
Date 13 August Laps 54
13 Netherlands Dutch Grand Prix 27 August
Circuit Park Zandvoort-1948
Official Title XXV Grand Prix van Nederland
Circuit Circuit Park Zandvoort
Location Netherlands Zandvoort, Netherlands
Lap distance 4.252 km (2.643 mi)
Race distance 318.900 km (198.198 mi)
Date 27 August Laps 75
14 Italy Italian Grand Prix 10 September
Monza 1976
Official Title 49° Gran Premio d'Italia
Circuit Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Location Italy Monza, Italy
Lap distance 5.800 km (3.605 mi)
Race distance 232.000 km (144.189 mi)
Date 10 September Laps 40*
15 United States United States Grand Prix 1 October
Watkins Glen 1975-1983
Official Title 23rd Toyota Grand Prix of the United States
Circuit Watkins Glen International
Location United States Watkins Glen, New York, USA
Lap distance 3.400 km (2.113 mi)
Race distance 200.600 km (124.674 mi)
Date 1 October Laps 59
16 Canada Canadian Grand Prix 8 October
Gilles Villeneuve Circuit Montreal (78-86)
Official Title XVII Grand Prix du Canada
Circuit Circuit Île Notre-Dame
Location Canada Watkins Glen, New York, USA
Lap distance 4.410 km (2.741 mi)
Race distance 308.700 km (191.858 mi)
Date 8 October Laps 70
  • * The race originally began with 52 laps, but the red flag appeared when the race was shorten to 40 laps after Peterson's fatal accident.

Non-Championship ScheduleEdit

The full Non-Championship Schedule for 1978 is outlined below:

Date Event Circuit Report
19th March United Kingdom XXX Daily Express International Trophy Silverstone Report

Season ReviewEdit

Pre-SeasonEdit

Race 1: Argentine Grand PrixEdit

The 1979 season opened with the annual trip to the Autódromo Municipal Ciudad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, with several changes to the field prior to the early 15 January start.[1] Regardless, the first pole of the season would be earned by Lotus stalwart Mario Andretti, who duly converted his quali-pace into an early lead.[1] Carlos Reutemann led the chase from second for Ferrari, while John Watson and Niki Lauda led the Brabham-Alfa Romeo charge in third and fourth.[1]

Andretti Argentine Grand Prix 1978

Mario Andretti completed a very lonely Sunday drive with victory for Lotus.

Andretti would soon disappear at the front of the field, aided by some dramatic tyre wear for Reutemann, which ultimately resulted in the Argentine racer slipping out of the top three.[1] Watson duly barged his way through to second, only to drop out of contention with an overheating engine.[1] Lauda therefore inherited second ahead of Peterson, before Peterson himself slipped back behind Patrick Depailler and James Hunt as Andretti claimed a dominant victory.[1]

Race 2: Brazilian Grand PrixEdit

It was Peterson who grabbed pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix on the 29 January, with Jacarepaguá hosting a Grand Prix for the first time.[2] Yet, unlike his teammate Andretti, Peterson was unable to convert pole into a lead at the start, for Reutemann came charging through from fourth to claim the lead.[2] Peterson got away in second ahead of Hunt and Andretti, while a clash further down put Riccardo Patrese and Watson down the order.[2]

Reutemann would go unchallenged after the opening lap, his Michelin tyres lasting the distance far better than the Goodyears used by the everyone else bar Gilles Villeneuve.[2] Peterson was among those to stuggle, slipping back early on, while Hunt was forced to abandon second when he burned through his tyres.[2] Andretti was then set to claim second, only for his gearbox to jam in the closing stages, allowing Emerson Fittipaldi and Niki Lauda to sweep past and onto the podium.[2]

Race 3: South African Grand PrixEdit

Patrese 1978 South African Grand Prix

Riccardo Patrese came so close to a shock win in his Arrows.

Kyalami returned to host the third race of the season, and 300th World Championship race, albeit after a five week break since the race in Brazil.[3] In terms of qualifying it was Lauda whom grabbed pole in an updated Brabham, only to get beaten off the line at the start.[3] Indeed, it was Andretti who surged into the lead early on, dragging South African hero Jody Scheckter along with him in the Wolf.[3]

However, attrition would steadily thin the field, allowing Patrese in the new Arrows to seize the lead after battling past Scheckter and Andretti as they hit tyre trouble.[3] Depailler and Lauda also moved forward and onto the podium, only for the latter to hit engine trouble, as did Patrese with fifteen laps to go.[3] That left Depailler on course to take victory, only for a resurgent Peterson to snatch the win away with half a lap to go.[3]

Race 4: Long Beach Grand PrixEdit

It would be an all Ferrari front row for the United States Grand Prix West in Long Beach, California, with Reutemann edging out the impressive rookie Villeneuve for pole.[4] They would, however, enter an all F12 fight for the lead into turn one at the start, with Lauda and Watson in their Alfa Romeo engined Brabhams pulling alongside off the line.[4] Ultimately it was Villeneuve who snatched the lead from Watson, with Lauda sneaking ahead of Reutemann on the exit.[4]

Start 1978 US GP West

It was an all Italian Flat-12 fight for the lead at the start, with the two Brabham-Alfa Romeos sandwiching the two Ferraris.

Those four would run nose-to-tail early on, only for Watson and Lauda to drop away with failures, before Villeneuve lost his shot at a maiden triumph when he crashed lapping Clay Regazzoni.[4] All that left Reutemann on his own ahead of Alan Jones, who was set for second until a fuel pressure issue dropped him back down the order.[4] That meant that a charging Andretti finished second ahead of Peterson, as Reutemann reinforced his lead in the Championship.[4]

Race 5: Monaco Grand PrixEdit

After a late cancellation to the trip to Fuji for the Japanese Grand Prix, the field convened at the Circuit de Monaco for the start of the European tour, with several new cars on display.[5] One of those cars would be the "ground effect" Lotus 79, although Andretti opted not to use it for the race.[5] Regardless, it was Reutemann who grabbed pole, only to make a poor start and allow Watson and Depailler to streak through into the lead.[5]

Reutemann's race was over before the end of the opening lap, getting bounced into the barriers by Lauda, as Depailler harassed Watson for the lead.[5] Their fight was ultimately resolved when Watson slid down an escape road, handing Depailler a healthy lead over Lauda, who breifly dropped down the order after a tyre change to replace a punctured tyre.[5] He duly charged back through to claim second, aided by a series of retirements, with Scheckter cruising home in third.[5]

Race 6: Belgian Grand PrixEdit

The Belgian Grand Prix of 1978 would, however, mark the start of a new era in F1, for it was the first race to be truly dominated by "ground effect".[6] Indeed, after making a brief appearance in Monte Carlo, Andretti used the new Lotus 79 to claim pole by almost a second, before sprinting clear at the start.[6] Villeneuve led the chase in second, while a slow start from Reutemann resulted in a crunch in the middle of the pack, with several drivers including Lauda and Hunt getting knocked out of the race.[6]

Andretti duly pulled out a massive lead over Villeneuve, who had to push hard to keep Peterson, using an older Lotus 78 at bay.[6] Both would subsequently stop for fresh tyres after half distance, with Peterson then making a late charge to leap back into second.[6] He duly passed Reutemann and Jacques Laffite in the closing stages, with the Argentine controversially taking third after knocking Laffite off on the final lap.[6]

Race 7: Spanish Grand PrixEdit

The Spanish Grand Prix played host to the seventh round of the 1978 World Championship tour, with Jarama taking the stage.[7] Qualifying would see a repeat of the respective sessions in Belgium, with Andretti again claiming a dominant pole for Lotus, with Peterson, equipped with his own Lotus 79 a close second.[7] Yet, unlike the race in Zolder the two Loti would be beaten off the line, with Hunt streaking into the lead ahead of Reutemann.[7]

Unfortunately for those two the slow start was to be as bad as it got for Andretti, who duly carved past the McLaren and Ferrari to snatch the lead early on.[7] He quickly disappeared into the distance, and ultimately victory, leaving all of the attention on Peterson, who was battling back from ninth after his awful getaway.[7] A series of aggressive moves, plus a spectacular driveshaft failure for Reutemann, ultimately saw the Swede finish second, with Laffite surviving well in the Ligier-Matra to claim third.[7]

Race 8: Swedish Grand PrixEdit

A revised Scandinavian Raceway greeted the field for the Swedish Grand Prix of 1978, which saw the controversial debut of the Brabham "Fan Car".[8] Indeed, having failed to replicate Colin Chapman's "ground effect" performance, Brabham designer Gordon Murray used a more agricultural technique to generate a low pressure zone under his car, namely an "extractor fan".[8] The South African designer claimed it was primarily used to cool the car, something which seemed to be true as the red-blue Brabhams failed to beat Andretti in the black-gold Lotus.[8]

After an overnight protest against the Brabhams was waved away it was Andretti whom snatched the lead at the start, fending off Lauda early on.[8] Patrese, meanwhile, go the jump on Watson, as did Peterson in the second Lotus until he picked up a puncture and stopped for fresh tyres.[8] That left Patrese on his own in third, as Andretti and Lauda streaked ahead, running nose-to-tail at a pace no-one could match.[8]

Lauda Swedish Grand Prix 1978

With Andretti gone, Lauda was left to claim an imperious victory for the Brabham BT46B.

Ultimately the pressure put on Andretti by Lauda told just after half distance, with the American racer slightly misjudging his entry into the Karussell, opening the door for Lauda as his Lotus drifted wide.[8] Lauda quickly pulled away from Andretti, aided by the fact that an oil slick had been dumped on the sweeping middle sector, causing everyone bar Lauda to slow through that section.[8] Andretti duly retired with an engine failure, leaving Patrese a delighted second ahead of Peterson, who just fell shy of the Italian on the final lap.[8]

After the race various appeals to the FIA were made to ban the "Fan Car", but all were rejected.[9] It was only the threat of a split in the ranks of the Formula One Constructors Association that saw the BT46B "banned", with Brabham owner, and F.O.C.A. leader Bernie Ecclestone deciding to withdraw the car on "safety" grounds.[9]

Race 9: French Grand PrixEdit

The Le Castellet circuit in Southern France hosted the French Grand Prix of 1978, with Lotus expected to dominate after the Brabham ban.[10] However, it was not to be in qualifying for John Watson, in the down-graded Brabham BT46, claimed pole, with Mario Andretti ending the session second.[10] Furthermore, Watson was able to convert pole into a lead at the start, although Andretti did lunge past the Ulsterman on the Mistral before the end of the opening tour.[10]

With that the race for victory was all but over, for Andretti simply drove clear of Watson over the following laps, aided by a lack of pace from the #2 racer.[10] That allowed Niki Lauda and Ronnie Peterson to sweep past as they duelled during the early stages, only for Lauda's engine to fail after ten laps.[10] That left Peterson clear to grab a lonely second, while James Hunt secured the final podium spot in third just before half-distance.[10]

Race 10: British Grand PrixEdit

Start British Grand Prix 1978

It was expected to be another all-Lotus affair as Andretti jumped Peterson at the start in Britain.

Brands Hatch had its turn to host the British Grand Prix in 1978, a track that was expected to suit the two black-gold Loti once again.[11] Peterson duly snatched pole ahead of Andretti, with a second between the Swede and the rest of the field, which was instantly converted to a one-two at the start, Andretti ahead of Peterson.[11] The pair expertly pulled clear from Jody Scheckter over the early laps, set to claim another imperious one-two.[11]

However, the ever present fable of the fragile Lotus would bite back in Brands, with first Peterson, and then Andretti, dropping out with mechanical strife early on.[11] That handed Scheckter the lead, which became fairly comfortable after Alan Jones retired, only for the South African racer himself to retire with a ruined gearbox.[11] Lauda therefore inherited the lead, but was powerless to prevent Carlos Reutemann sweeping through in the closing stages to claim victory for Ferrari, using the backmarker Bruno Giacomelli to pounce with five laps to go.[11]

Race 11: German Grand PrixEdit

Andretti and Peterson again duelled for pole at the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, with the American coming out on top ahead of the Swede.[12] The duo duly disappeared off into the distance at the start, Peterson beating Andretti off the line, leaving Lauda to lead the field from third.[12] Jones, however, proved to be the centre of action, attacking and ultimately passing Lauda early on for third.[12]

Peterson duly relented the lead after the fifth lap, a result of his contract declaring him a "number two" at Lotus.[12] They continued to pull away from the field at a cruise, until the Swede hit trouble with a gearbox issue, forcing him to retire.[12] Andretti was therefore left to claim a lonely victory, with attrition ultimately putting Scheckter and Jacques Laffite onto the podium.[12]

Race 12: Austrian Grand PrixEdit

The Österreichring in the Styrian Mountains hosted the twelfth round of the season, with Peterson again beating Andretti in qualifying.[13] They were almost split, however, by the ever improving, turbocharged, Renault of Jean-Pierre Jabouille, who claimed third ahead of Reutemann.[13] Regardless, Peterson would immediately sprint clear at the start, while the Argentine swept ahead of Andretti and Jabouille to claim second.[13]

In his desperation to pass the Argentine, however, Andretti would make a rare mistake, crashing out of the race halfway around the opening tour.[13] However, before Peterson and Reutemann could disappear heavy rain lashed down on the circuit, quickly causing the race to be red flagged after six laps.[13] Several drivers were out before the race was stopped, and were not allowed to take the restart.[13]

Peterson duly aced the restart, in wet conditions, to claim an early lead, and would only briefly lose it when he had to stop for fresh tyres.[13] Patrick Depailler claimed a strong second for Tyrrell, having briefly challenged Peterson, while the two Ferraris were strong, staying out on wets long after everyone else.[13] That allowed Gilles Villeneuve to claim a maiden podium finish, while Reutemann hit trouble late on.[13]

Race 13: Dutch Grand PrixEdit

Another race and another all conquering performance from Lotus, with the black-gold cars again dominating amid the dunes of the Circuit Park Zandvoort.[14] Andretti came out on top on their private duel for pole at the Dutch Grand Prix, and duly claimed the lead at the start.[14] There was some minor chaos behind them, with Didier Pironi and Riccardo Patrese making contact in the middle of the pack.[14]

Peterson once again demonstrated that he was the "number two" at Lotus, refusing to attack Andretti despite clearly having equal pace as they ran nose-to-tail.[14] As they cruised on to another one-two, the fight for third was fought between Laffite, Reutemann, Lauda, Watson and Emerson Fittipaldi, with attrition the main factor as the race wore on.[14] ultimately, Lauda held out the longest to finish third ahead of Watson, with Fittipaldi and Villeneuve completing the points.[14]

The result of the Dutch Grand Prix also meant that Lotus were declared as the International Cup for Constructors Champions with three rounds to go.[14]

Race 14: Italian Grand PrixEdit

1978 Italian Grand Prix accident

A jarring accident at the start of the Italian Grand Prix would claim the life of one of F1's most favoured sons.

Unfortunately the 1978 World Championship fight would come to a sad end in Monza, for issues in qualifying and in the warm-up left Peterson down in fifth in an dated Lotus 78.[15] That left the Swede in the middle of a midfield crunch at the start, caused by the starting lights flashing to green before the entire field had lined up on the grid.[15] Contact between Patrese and James Hunt ultimately resulted in Peterson's car getting pitched straight into the barriers, which duly caused the car to burst into flame.[15]

Hunt and Clay Regazzoni quickly sprinted over to pull Peterson clear of the burning wreck, the Swede having sustained severe leg injuries in the collision.[15] He was duly flown to hospital for emergency surgery, while Vittorio Brambilla was taken to Milan by ambulance after getting knocked unconscious after smashing into Peterson's spinning Lotus.[15] Back at the track, meanwhile, the restart of the race was pushed back over an hour due to barrier repairs, only to be delayed further when Scheckter crashed heavily at the Lesmo section.[15]

The additional delay to fix those barriers ultimately meant that the race distance had to be shortened to 40 laps, with fading light a major concern.[15] Another messy start saw Villeneuve and Andretti jump the start, with the Canadian ace snatching the lead.[15] The two duly duelled for victory until the closing stages, before Andretti claimed the win five laps before the "early" chequered flag.[15]

However, one minute time penalties for Andretti and Villeneuve dumped both down the order, meaning Ferrari traitor Lauda claimed victory ahead of teammate Watson.[15] Reutemann was classified in third, while Andretti ended up in sixth with Villeneuve seventh.[15] That result did, however, ensure that Andretti was World Champion, for Peterson was not expected to compete again in 1978 with his injuries.[15]

Unfortunately, Peterson would never recover from the injuries he sustained, for he succumbed to a fat embolism shortly after his surgery on the Monday after the race.[15]

Race 15: United States Grand PrixEdit

The loss of Peterson caused a universal slump of morale heading into the North American phase of the Championship, beginning with the annual trip to Watkins Glen for the United States Grand Prix in early October.[16] Andretti once again claimed pole position ahead of Reutemann in front of his home fans, while temporary Lotus teammate Jean-Pierre Jarier, using #55 rather than Peterson's #6, qualified in eighth.[16] Andretti would duly sweep into the lead at the start, albeit after taking over Jarier's car after an accident in the warm-up destroyed his car.[16]

Unfortunately for the home fans Andretti was not comfortable with his commandeered car, and duly slipped behind Reutemann and Villeneuve early on.[16] He duly retired after a duel with Lauda, while Jarier slowly gained confidence in the middle of the pack.[16] Reutemann, meanwhile, would claim victory as an engine failure dumped Villeneuve out of contention, meaning Jones and Scheckter completed the podium, albeit only after Jarier's late charge came to an end as he burned through the last of his fuel prematurely.[16]

Race 16: Canadian Grand PrixEdit

One week later and the F1 circus headed to the new Circuit Île Notre-Dame, the home of the Canadian Grand Prix and the 1978 season finale.[17] This time it was Jarier who emerged on pole ahead of Scheckter in the Canadian built Wolf, while World Champion Andretti only managed to claim ninth after a troubled run.[17] Indeed, it was a bitterly cold start to the weekend, with most of Friday's running ruled out by heavy rain.[17]

Amid a threat of snow, Jarier blasted clear at the start of the race, leaving Villeneuve to rue a poor start as he slipped behind Scheckter and Jones.[17] Those three duly truelled for second as Andretti took himself and Watson out of contention, while Jarier blasted away out front.[17] Unfortunately for him his hopes of a maiden victory were ended by a brake failure, while a slow puncture for Jones dumped him down the order after a pit stop.[17]

All that allowed Villeneuve to surge into the lead with twenty laps to go, the Canadian sweeping past Scheckter after they had dealt with Jones.[17] He duly cruised home to claim a famous home victory, with Shceckter slipping away to a lonely second ahead of Reutemann.[17] Thus the 1978 World Championship tour came to an end, with a new generation of drivers set to take the stage in 1979 and beyond.[17]

Non-Championship RoundsEdit

ResultsEdit

World ChampionshipEdit

A run down of results for the 1978 FIA Formula One World Championship is shown below:

Round Event Report
Grid Result
1 Argentina Argentine Grand Prix Report
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
2 Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Canada Gilles Villeneuve
Ferrari
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
3 France Patrick Depailler
Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth
1:49.76 on Lap 3
2 Brazil Brazilian Grand Prix Report
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
Fastest Lap
United Kingdom James Hunt
McLaren-Ford Cosworth
2 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi
Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
3 Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
1:43.07 on Lap 35
3 South Africa South African Grand Prix Report
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
1 Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
2 France Patrick Depailler
Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
United Kingdom James Hunt
McLaren-Ford Cosworth
3 United Kingdom John Watson
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
1:17.09 on Lap 2
4 United States United States Grand Prix West Report
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
1 Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
Fastest Lap
Canada Gilles Villeneuve
Ferrari
2 United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Australia Alan Jones
Williams-Ford Cosworth
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
3 France Patrick Depailler
Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth
1:22.215 on Lap 27
5 Monaco Monaco Grand Prix Report
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
1 France Patrick Depailler
Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
United Kingdom John Watson
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
2 Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
3 South Africa Jody Scheckter
Wolf-Ford Cosworth
1:28.65 on Lap 72
6 Belgium Belgian Grand Prix Report
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
2 Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
3 Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
1:23.13 on Lap 66
7 Spain Spanish Grand Prix Report
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
2 Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
3 France Jacques Laffite
Ligier-Matra
1:20.06 on Lap 5
8 Sweden Swedish Grand Prix Report
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Fastest Lap
United Kingdom John Watson
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
2 Italy Riccardo Patrese
Arrows-Ford Cosworth
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1:24.836 on Lap 5
9 France French Grand Prix Report
United Kingdom John Watson
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
1 United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
2 Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
3 United Kingdom James Hunt
McLaren-Ford Cosworth
1:48.56 on Lap 48
10 United Kingdom British Grand Prix Report
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
Fastest Lap
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
2 Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
South Africa Jody Scheckter
Wolf-Ford Cosworth
3 United Kingdom John Watson
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
1:18.60 on Lap 72
11 West Germany German Grand Prix Report
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
2 South Africa Jody Scheckter
Wolf-Ford Cosworth
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
3 France Jacques Laffite
Ligier-Matra
1:55.62 on Lap 26
12 Austria Austrian Grand Prix Report
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
2 France Patrick Depailler
Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
France Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Renault
3 Canada Gilles Villeneuve
Ferrari
1:43.12 on Lap
13 Netherlands Dutch Grand Prix Report
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Fastest Lap
Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
2 Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Austria Niki Lauda
Ferrari
3 Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
1:19.57 on Lap 57
14 Italy Italian Grand Prix Report
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 Austria Niki Lauda
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Fastest Lap
Canada Gilles Villeneuve
Ferrari
2 United Kingdom John Watson
Brabham-Alfa Romeo
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
France Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Renault
3 Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
1:38.23 on Lap 33
15 United States United States Grand Prix Report
United States Mario Andretti
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
Fastest Lap
Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
2 Australia Alan Jones
Williams-Ford Cosworth
France Jean-Pierre Jarier
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
Australia Alan Jones
Williams-Ford Cosworth
3 South Africa Jody Scheckter
Wolf-Ford Cosworth
1:39.557 on Lap 55
16 Canada Canadian Grand Prix Report
France Jean-Pierre Jarier
Lotus-Ford Cosworth
1 Canada Gilles Villeneuve
Ferrari
Fastest Lap
South Africa Jody Scheckter
Wolf-Ford Cosworth
2 South Africa Jody Scheckter
Wolf-Ford Cosworth
Australia Alan Jones
Williams-Ford Cosworth
Canada Gilles Villeneuve
Ferrari
3 Argentina Carlos Reutemann
Ferrari
1:38.072 on Lap 70

Non-ChampionshipEdit

Final StandingsEdit

World Championship for DriversEdit

Outlined below are the full final standings from the 1978 FIA Formula One World Championship for Drivers:

Pos.* Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Pts.
Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil (1960–1968) Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of the United States Flag of Monaco Flag of Belgium Flag of Spain 1977 1981 Flag of Sweden Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of the United States Flag of Canada
1st Andretti 1st 4th 7th 2nd 11th 1st 1st Ret 1st Ret 1st Ret 1st 6th Ret 10th 64
2nd Peterson 5th Ret 1st 4th Ret 2nd 2nd 3rd 2nd Ret Ret 1st 2nd Ret 51
3rd Reutemann 7th 1st Ret 1st 8th 3rd Ret 10th 18th 1st Ret DSQ 7th 3rd 1st 3rd 48
4th Lauda 2nd 3rd Ret Ret 2nd Ret Ret 1st Ret 2nd Ret Ret 3rd 1st Ret Ret 44
5th Depailler 3rd Ret 2nd 3rd 1st Ret Ret Ret Ret 4th Ret 2nd Ret 11th Ret 5th 34
6th Watson Ret 8th 3rd Ret 4th Ret 5th Ret 4th 3rd 7th 7th 4th 2nd Ret Ret 25
7th Scheckter 10th Ret Ret Ret 3rd Ret 4th Ret 6th Ret 2nd Ret 12th 12th 3rd 2nd 24
8th Laffite 16th 9th 5th 5th Ret 5th 3rd 7th 7th 10th 3rd 5th 8th 4th 11th Ret 19
9th Villeneuve 8th Ret Ret Ret Ret 4th 10th 9th 12th Ret 8th 3rd 6th 7th Ret 1st 17
10th Fittipaldi 9th 2nd Ret 8th 9th Ret Ret 6th Ret Ret 4th 4th 5th 8th 5th Ret 17
11th Jones Ret 11th 4th 7th Ret 10th 8th Ret 5th Ret Ret Ret Ret 13th 2nd 9th 11
12th Patrese 10th Ret 6th 6th Ret Ret 2nd 8th Ret 9th Ret Ret Ret 4th 11
13th Hunt 4th Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 6th 8th 3rd Ret DSQ Ret 10th Ret 7th Ret 8
14th Tambay 6th Ret Ret 12th 7th Ret 4th 9th 6th Ret Ret 9th 5th 6th 8th 8
15th Pironi 14th 6th 6th Ret 5th 6th 12th Ret 10th Ret 5th Ret Ret Ret 10th 7th 7
16th Regazzoni 15th 5th DNQ 10th DNQ Ret 15th 5th Ret Ret DNQ NC DNQ NC 14th DNQ 4
17th Jabouille Ret Ret 10th NC 13th Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 4th 12th 3
18th Stuck 17th Ret DNQ DNS Ret Ret Ret 11th 11th 5th Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 2
19th Rebaque DNQ Ret 10th DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ Ret 12th DNQ Ret 6th Ret 11th DNQ Ret DNQ 1
20th Brambilla 18th DNQ 12th Ret DNQ 13th 7th Ret 17th 9th Ret 6th DSQ Ret 1
21st Daly DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNQ Ret DSQ Ret 10th 8th 6th 1
NC Lunger 13th Ret 11th DNQ DNPQ 7th DNQ DNQ Ret 8th DNPQ 8th Ret Ret 13th 0
NC Giacomelli 8th Ret 7th Ret 14th 0
NC Mass 11th 7th Ret Ret DNQ 11th 9th 13th 13th NC Ret DNQ DNQ 0
NC Jarier 12th DNS 8th 11th DNQ DNQ 15th Ret 0
NC Arnoux DNQ DNPQ 9th 14th DNPQ 9th Ret 9th Ret 0
NC Stommelen 9th 9th Ret Ret 14th 14th 15th DNQ DSQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ 16th DNQ 0
NC Piquet Ret Ret Ret 9th 11th 0
NC Rosberg Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNQ DNPQ 15th 16th Ret 10th NC Ret DNPQ Ret NC 0
NC Keegan Ret Ret Ret DNS Ret DNQ 11th DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ DNS 0
NC Ertl 11th Ret DNPQ DNQ 0
NC Ickx Ret 12th Ret DNQ 0
NC Rahal 12th Ret 0
NC Merzario Ret DNQ Ret Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNQ NC DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ Ret Ret Ret DNQ 0
NC Leoni Ret DNS DNQ DNQ 0
NC Ongais Ret Ret DNPQ DNPQ 0
NC Bleekemolen DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ 0
NC Cheever DNQ DNQ Ret 0
NC Colombo DNQ DNQ DNPQ 0
NC Galica DNQ DNQ 0
NC Gabbiani DNQ DNQ 0
NC de Villota DNQ 0
NC Lees DNQ 0
NC Trimmer DNQ 0
NC Binder DNQ 0
NC Gimax DNQ 0
Pos.* Driver Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil (1960–1968) Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of the United States Flag of Monaco Flag of Belgium Flag of Spain 1977 1981 Flag of Sweden Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of the United States Flag of Canada Pts.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
  • * The 1979 FIA Yearbook did not separate drivers whom ended the season level on points. Positions listed on this table do distinguish tied drivers based on their best finishing position.
  • A drivers best seven results from the first eight rounds and their best seven results from the final eight rounds contributed to their score.

International Cup for ConstructorsEdit

Outlined below are the full final standings from the 1978 FIA Formula One International Cup for Constructors:

Pos.* Constructor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Pts.
Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil (1960–1968) Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of the United States Flag of Monaco Flag of Belgium Flag of Spain 1977 1981 Flag of Sweden Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of the United States Flag of Canada
1st Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1st 4th 1st 2nd 11th 1st 1st Ret 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 6th 15th 10th 64
2nd Ferrari 7th 1st Ret 1st 8th 3rd 10th 9th 12th 1st 8th 3rd 6th 3rd 1st 1st 58
3rd Brabham-Alfa Romeo 2nd 3rd 3rd Ret 2nd Ret 5th 1st 4th 2nd 7th 7th 3rd 1st Ret 11th 53
4th Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 3rd 6th 2nd 3rd 1st 6th 12th Ret 10th 4th 5th 2nd Ret 11th 10th 5th 24
5th Wolf-Ford Cosworth 10th Ret Ret Ret 3rd Ret 4th Ret 6th Ret 2nd NC 12th 12th 3rd 2nd 24
6th Ligier-Matra 16th 9th 5th 5th Ret 5th 3rd 7th 7th 10th 3rd 5th 8th 4th 11th Ret 19
7th Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 9th 2nd Ret 8th 9th Ret Ret 6th Ret Ret 4th 4th 5th 8th 5th Ret 17
8th McLaren-Ford Cosworth 4th 4th 11th 12th 7th 7th 6th 4th 3rd 6th Ret 8th 9th 5th 6th 8th 15
9th Williams-Ford Cosworth Ret 11th 4th 7th Ret 10th 8th Ret 5th Ret Ret Ret Ret 13th 2nd 9th 11
10th Arrows-Ford Cosworth 10th 9th 6th 6th Ret 14th 2nd 8th Ret 9th Ret Ret Ret 16th 4th 11
11th Shadow-Ford Cosworth 15th 5th 5th 10th Ret Ret 15th 5th 11th 5th Ret NC Ret NC 14th Ret 6
12th Renault Ret Ret 10th NC 13th Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 4th 12th 3
13th Surtees-Ford Cosworth 18th Ret 12th Ret Ret 13th 7th Ret 17th 9th Ret 6th DSQ Ret 9th Ret 1
14th Ensign-Ford Cosworth Ret Ret DNQ DNQ Ret 12th Ret DNQ DNQ Ret 11th Ret Ret 10th 8th 6th 1
NC ATS-Ford Cosworth 11th 7th 8th 11th DNQ 11th 9th 13th 13th NC Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret NC 0
NC Martini-Ford Cosworth DNQ DNPQ 9th WD 14th WD DNPQ 9th Ret 0
NC Merzario-Ford Cosworth Ret DNQ Ret Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNQ NC DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ Ret Ret Ret DNQ 0
NC Theodore-Ford Cosworth DNQ DNQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNQ DNPQ 0
NC Hesketh-Ford Cosworth DNQ DNQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNQ 0

See AlsoEdit


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