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The 1980 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula 5000 race apart of the Australian Drivers Championship which had opened up its entry list to Formula One cars following the Australian celebrations of its newly crowned F1 champion Alan Jones. Jones took part in the event and would dominate the event. Standing alongside him on the podium from the Formula One world was Bruno Giacomelli in his Alfa Romeo and Didier Pironi driving the local machinery.


BackgroundEdit

The Australian Grand Prix had at this time not been a Formula One event. Instead the event traditionally held the final round of the Australian Drivers Championship which was locally known as Australian Formula 1, however the cars were not Formula One specification and instead were Formula 5000. 

The Formula One calendar had concluded and in 1980, Australia had its first Formula One World Champion since 1966 in the form of Alan Jones. Jones had recently returned to Australia during the off-season of Formula One where his success had earned him celebrity status. Australian Grand Prix organiser Bob Jane therefore considered opening the Australian Grand Prix to Formula One cars providing Jones the opportunity to showcase his skills to his home crowd. 

Bob Jane invited the Formula One teams to participate in the event, however the turnout from the F1 world was poor, only Alan Jones in his {Williams, Bruno Giacomelli in his Alfa Romeo and Didier Pironi who would sample the local machinery arrived for the event. Pironi notably choosing to compete in one of the older and slower F5000 cars, the Elfin-Chevrolet rather than the Lola-Chevrolet in which most of Australia's top drivers were competing in. 

QualifyingEdit

As was expected, the two Formula One cars of Alan Jones's Williams and Bruno Giacomelli's Alfa Romeo blew their F5000 competition away. The home crowd was expecting to see an easy Alan Jones victory, however Giacomelli's qualifying pace was only slightly slower than Jones's Williams, indicating it would not be a complete walk in the park for Jones on Sunday. 

Didier Pironi, the third Formula One driver in the race was driving one of Elfin-Chevrolet's, one of the older Formula 5000 cars. Pironi did well to put his Elfin eighth on the grid, just behind several of the much faster Lola cars. 

Qualifying ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time
27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford 0:36.1
2 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 0:36.3
3 84 Australia Alfredo Costanzo United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 0:37.9
4 76 Australia John Wright United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 0:38.8
5 4 Australia Jon Davison United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 0:39.7
6 10 Australia Rob Butcher United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 0:40.0
7 7 Australia Chas Talbot United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 0:40.0
8 25 France Didier Pironi Australia Elfin-Chevrolet 0:40.2
9 11 Australia John Bowe Australia Elfin-Chevrolet 0:40.5
10 17 Australia Mel McEwin Australia Matich-Repco 0:40.8
11 21 Australia Peter Edwards United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 0:41.1
12 71 Australia John Smith Australia Ralt-Ford 0:41.4
13 38 Australia Ivan Tighe United Kingdom Chevron-Chevrolet 0:41.6
14 33 Australia Tim Slako Australia Elfin-Chevrolet 0:42.0
15 8 Australia Ian Adams United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 0:42.0
16 16 Australia Barry Singlelton Australia Gardos-Chevrolet 0:42.2
17 34 Australia Colin Trengove United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 0:42.3
18 77 Australia Peter Williamson Australia Galloway-Chevrolet 0:42.6
19 48 Australia Ray Hangar United Kingdom March-Ford 0:43.5
20 12 Australia Garrie Cooper Australia Elfin-Chevrolet DNP

RaceEdit

ReportEdit

The race would take place under the gruelling Australian sunshine, the race being held under an air temperature of 45 degrees celsius. As predicted Alan Jones and Bruno Giacomelli led the field away, Jones however was facing close competition from Giacomelli who remained tight on the Williams driver's tail. On lap 7, Giacomelli took the lead from Jones, stealing the limelight away from the local favourite, however Jones remained stuck to Giacomelli's tail.

Didier Pironi, had meanwhile been blitzing the local competition. Although local driver Alfredo Costanzo was able to hold Pironi's charge briefly, Pironi moved into third position where he was in a class of his own amongst the F5000 drivers, only Jones and Giacomelli he was unable to catch. 

The duel for the lead between Giacomelli and Jones continued to wage on. However it was lap 36 when the pair came to lap Pironi for the third time that the race had a turn. Pironi acted like he did not see Giacomelli, Jones went to pass around the outside when Giacomelli was forced wide. The two cars touched and Giacomelli spun off the circuit. Whilst Giacomelli was able to catch up to Jones once again, his rear tyres began to fade and he therefore had to back off.

Jones was therefore faced with a comfortable win in front of his home crowd, but there was a small scare on lap 76 when Jones came round to lap the Elfin of Garrie Cooper where he nearly spun. However Jones maintained control and took a comfortable race win one lap ahead of Giacomelli. Pironi took third, proving his own ability where he defeated the local drivers in their own machinery, not to mention in the less competitive Elfin. 

ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid
1 27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford 95 1:00.16.4 1
2 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo 94 +1 lap 2
3 25 France Didier Pironi Australia Elfin-Chevrolet 91 +4 laps 8
4 84 Australia Alfredo Costanzo United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 90 +5 laps 4
5 7 Australia Chas Talbot United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 87 +8 laps 7
6 10 Australia Rob Butcher United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 85 +10 laps 6
7 12 Australia Garrie Cooper Australia Elfin-Chevrolet 85 +10 laps 20
8 34 Australia Colin Trengove United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 84 +11 laps 17
9 21 Australia Peter Edwards United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 84 +11 laps 11
10 38 Australia Ivan Tighe United Kingdom Chevron-Chevrolet 83 +12 laps 13
11 11 Australia John Bowe Australia Elfin-Chevrolet 79 +16 laps 9
Ret 76 Australia John Wright United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 70 Fuel pump 4
Ret 4 Australia Jon Davison United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 68 Gearbox 5
Ret 8 Australia Ian Adams United Kingdom Lola-Chevrolet 60 Rocker stud 15
Ret 17 Australia Mel McEwin Australia Matiach-Repco 33 Clutch 10
Ret 77 Australia Peter Williamson Australia Galloway-Ford 27 Engine 18
Ret 33 Australia Tim Slako Australia Elfin-Chevrolet 17 Water pump 14
Ret 16 Australia Barry Singleton Australia Gardos-Chevrolet 6 Oil leak 16
Ret 71 Australia John Smith United Kingdom Ralt-Ford 1 Engine 12
DNS 48 Australia Ray Hanger United Kingdom March-Ford 0 19

MilestonesEdit

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