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BackgroundEdit

The 1980 Spanish Grand Prix had intended to be the seventh round of the 1980 Formula One World Championship. Following the Monaco race, Nelson Piquet led the championship by one point ahead of René Arnoux with Alan Jones a further three points adrift in third. Williams led the constructor's standings, five points ahead of Ligier.

Heading into the event, tensions had begin to brew between Formula One's governing body, the FISA and FOCA, the body representing the Formula One team's on the grid. The only three team's not associated with FOCA were the manufacturer teams, Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo.

At the beginning of the season, FISA President Jean-Marie Balestre had announced that there would be a mandatory drivers pre-race briefing which had compulsory attendance for all drivers on the grid. However during the previous two rounds in Belgium and Monaco, the FOCA drivers had been instructed to boycott the driver briefings by FOCA CEO Bernie Ecclestone. FOCA being unhappy with FISA, feeling they were demonstrating bias towards the three manufacturer teams.

As a result, heading into the Spanish race Balestre had ordered the suspension of fifteen of the driver's superlicenses, until a fine of approximately $2,000 had been paid by each. In a press conference held on the Thursday before the race weekend, Balestre announced to the race organisers of the Spanish Grand Prix, the Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE) that the suspended driver's would not be allowed to take part in Friday practice the following day until their fines had been paid. 

Despite this, the FOCA driver's continued to refuse to pay their fines despite the threat of expulsion from the event. RACE, worried that the event would not go ahead offered to deposit the fines to the FISA on behalf of the driver's. Balestre refused, stating the fines had to paid in full by the drivers.

A FOCA spokesperson then pointed out a failure in this argument as Essex, a sponsor for Mario Andretti had previously paid his fine for him to ensure he did not run into problems with his superlicense ahead of the 1980 Indianapolis 500 that Andretti was competing in. Furthermore, Nelson Piquet had been allowed to compete in an Endurance race at the Nürburgring, despite his superlicense being supposedly suspended. 

RACE had been instructed by the Spanish King, Juan Carlos that the race must be run regardless of the FISA-FOCA dispute. Due to this the race organisers would allow the FOCA teams to participate in the event, despite the race losing the sanctioning of the FIA if it did. 

As a result the race would go ahead without the sanctioning of the FIA and therefore losing its status as a 1980 World Championship event.

QualifyingEdit

Friday practice got underway with all the teams with the exception of Ferrari, Renault, Alfa Romeo and Osella. All four teams gave the same reason for their non-participation, they could not afford to lose their superlicenses which allowed them to compete in other motorsport categories. Renault team manager Jean Sage, said the four teams were neither for or against Balestre and simply could not afford the risk of competing. 

The four teams kept their cars on hand in case of a reconciliation with the FIA. Negotiations between Balestre and Ecclestone continued throughout Friday, Balestre continued to insist full payment if the FIA was to sanction the event whilst Ecclestone continued to refuse to pay as payment would prevent FOCA to continue to question the legalities of the fines. 

Ahead of Saturday qualifying, Osella team principal Enzo Osella had began to consider to enter the event if the team ran under its sponsor's name whilst Renault and Alfa Romeo were seemingly prepared to enter only if Ferrari were willing as well. Ecclestone negotiated with Ferrari manager, Marco Piccinini throughout the morning, however Piccinini refused to change his stance as Ferrari supremo Enzo Ferrari was refusing to enter the event in fear of reprisal in Ferrari's other motorsport ventures. As a result, neither Renault, Alfa Romeo and Osella would have any further participation in the event.

During qualifying, the Ligier cars seemed to have the pace, Jacques Laffite and Didier Pironi dominated the session. A late charge from Alan Jones's Williams allowed him to split the Ligier rampage by moving into second place on the grid. Jones had during the session a scuffle with the local talent, Emilio de Villota in the privately entered Williams by RAM. De Villota continually blocking Jones saw the official Williams driver angrily gesticulating to the Spaniard as he finally drove past.

Qualifying ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor
26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Ford
2 27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford
3 25 France Didier Pironi France Ligier-Ford
4 28 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford
5 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford
6 8 France Alain Prost United Kingdom McLaren-Ford
7 6 Argentina Ricardo Zunino United Kingdom Brabham-Ford
8 11 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford
9 9 Netherlands Jan Lammers Germany ATS-Ford
10 31 United States Eddie Cheever Italy Osella-Ford
11 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford
12 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford
13 12 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Ford
14 30 Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford
15 3 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford
16 4 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford
17 34 Spain Emilio de Villota United Kingdom Williams-Ford (RAM)
18 21 Finland Keke Rosberg Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford
19 20 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford
20 17 United Kingdom Geoff Lees United Kingdom Shadow-Ford
21 14 France Patrick Gaillard United Kingdom Ensign-Ford
22 18 Ireland Dave Kennedy United Kingdom Shadow-Ford

RaceEdit

As the race began, Carlos Reutemann made a strong start from fourth on the grid to climb to first, teammate Alan Jones moved into second. Pole sitter Jacques Laffite dropped back to fourth behind Ligier teammate Didier Pironi

The two Williams cars of Reutemann and Jones began to pull away as the two Ligier cars of Pironi and Laffite diced with Nelson Piquet's Brabham not far behind.

The second lap saw Dave Kennedy, having qualified for his first race with Shadow, fly off the circuit and into the barriers. Emilio de Villota joined him the barriers, however unlike Kennedy, De Villota continued albeit with a significantly more battered car. 

On lap three Laffite overtook Pironi for third. The younger Frenchman battling with oversteer. Further down the field, the two McLaren cars battled spectacularly for twelfth place. On lap five Alain Prost finally overtook teammate John Watson, however only two corners later his engine blew and he had to retire.

Lap 11 saw Keke Rosberg suffer a brake failure, spinning his Fittipaldi into the catch fencing, two laps later Derek Daly suffered a brake failure going down the main straight suffering an enormous accident going into the first corner. Amazingly the Tyrrell driver emerged unhurt. 

On lap 13, Jones missed a gear and dropped behind the two Ligier's of Laffite and Pironi as well as Piquet's Brabham

Over the space of five laps, the three cars of Jan Lammers, Mario Andretti and Riccardo Patrese who had been battling for sixth had retired. This had promoted the second Arrows of Jochen Mass into sixth, following an overtake on Ricardo Zunino who was soon to retire. 

At the front, Reutemann and Laffite continued to battle for the lead. On lap 36 the two cars came up to lap the slower car of De Villota. De Villota pulled to the left to allow the leader of Reutemann through, at the same time Laffite pulled to the inside of De Villota as Reutemann went around the outside. However three cars abreast heading into the corner was too much to handle and the trio collided in a big way. Both Reutemann and Laffite were out on the spot whilst De Villota limped back to the pits to retire. 

Nelson Piquet was the new race leader, two seconds ahead of Didier Pironi who was one second ahead of Alan Jones. However on lap 42, Piquet would be forced to retire with gearbox allowing Pironi to take the lead.

50 seconds adrift of Jones in second was Eddie Cheever and Jochen Mass who led the battling duo of John Watson and Elio de Angelis. Watson and De Angelis had battled throughout the race, however was to come to a dramatic end on lap 49. Watson had come up to the rear of the slower backmarker of Patrick Gaillard in the Ensign. Gaillard had braked much earlier than expected and Watson's McLaren flew over the top of Gaillard's car. Despite the severity of the accident which saw tyre tracks on Gaillard's helmet, no one was hurt. Watson was out whilst Gaillard limped back to the pits for a new rear wing. 

In the lead, Jones had slowed his water temperature getting too high forcing him to slow down and cool off. Pironi who now seemed to have the race in hand then had the tables turned against him when on lap 65 his front left wheel suddenly came loose and flew off his car. Pironi ground to a halt as Jones took the lead.

At the same time, Mass was able to overtake Cheever for second position. Cheever who had driven a remarkable race was forced to retire two laps after Pironi with gearbox failure.

By the end of the race only six cars remained. Jones took the win ahead of Mass, De Angelis, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Emerson Fittipaldi and the distantly adrift Gaillard.


ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid
1 27 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Williams-Ford 80 1:43.14.076 2
2 30 Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 80 +50.940 14
3 12 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 80 +1:12.271 13
4 3 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 79 +1 lap 15
5 20 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford 79 +1 lap 19
6 14 France Patrick Gaillard United Kingdom Ensign-Ford 75 +5 laps 21
Ret 31 United States Eddie Cheever Italy Osella-Ford 67 Gearbox 10
Ret 25 France Didier Pironi France Ligier-Ford 65 Lost wheel 3
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 49 Accident 12
Ret 5 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 42 Gearbox 5
Ret 17 United Kingdom Geoff Lees United Kingdom Shadow-Ford 42 Suspension 20
Ret 28 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Williams-Ford 36 Accident 4
Ret 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Ford 36 Accident 1
Ret 6 Argentina Ricardo Zunino United Kingdom Brabham-Ford 34 Gearbox 7
Ret 34 Spain Emilio de Villota United Kingdom Williams-Ford (RAM) 34 Accident 17
Ret 29 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Arrows-Ford 30 Gearbox 11
Ret 11 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford 29 Engine 8
Ret 9 Netherlands Jan Lammers Germany ATS-Ford 26 Electrical 9
Ret 4 Ireland Derek Daly United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford 13 Accident 16
Ret 21 Finland Keke Rosberg Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford 11 Accident 18
Ret 8 France Alain Prost United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 5 Engine 6
Ret 18 Ireland Dave Kennedy United Kingdom Shadow-Ford 2 Accident 22
WD 1 South Africa Jody Scheckter Italy Ferrari
WD 2 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Italy Ferrari
WD 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault
WD 16 France René Arnoux France Renault
WD 22 France Patrick Depailler Italy Alfa Romeo
WD 23 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Italy Alfa Romeo
DNA 41 United Kingdom Brian Henton United Kingdom Ensign-Ford
DNA 50 Chile Eliseo Salazar United Kingdom Williams-Ford (RAM)

MilestonesEdit

v·d·e Nominate this page for Featured Article
V T E Spain Spanish Grand Prix
Circuits Pedralbes (1951, 1954), Jarama & Montjuïc (1967 - 1975), Jarama (1976 - 1981), Jerez (1986 - 1990), Catalunya (1991 - Present)
Catalunya2007
Races 19511952–195319541955–1967196819691970197119721973197419751976197719781979198019811982–1987198619871988198919901991199219931994199519961997199819992000200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
Non-Championship Races 19231924–1925192619271928–192919301931–19321933193419351936–196619671968–19791980

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