As we build up to celebrating Williams Grand Prix Engineering’s 40th year in Formula 1 at the forthcoming Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, we’re taking you back to the end of 1980, the year in which the team sealed its first drivers’/constructors’ title double.
JUN 09th 2017
Video: Williams caps title‑winning 1980 season with US GP victory
Frank Williams’ squad, which had only joined the ranks of Grand Prix winners the previous season, had wrapped up the makes’ race three weeks earlier at Monza’s Italian GP and Alan Jones had become only the second Australian World Champion in the following race in Canada, thanks to a 16-second victory over team-mate Carlos Reutemann.
For the season finale, the F1 circus converged on the magnificent Watkins Glen for the 20th and final race at the New York State road course.
And that end-of-term, feel-good factor kicked in immediately when popular Italian Bruno Giacomelli captured his maiden pole position for Alfa Romeo. It was the first qualifying-topping result for Alfa since Juan Fangio started at the front in the 1951 Italian Grand Prix.
Sadly for Giacomelli and Alfa fans, there would be no fairytale ending; the car led the first 31 laps – a fraction over half distance – until the V12 179 suffered electrical failure.
With Giacomelli sidelined, Jones took over at the front having worked his way up from fifth on the grid in the Cosworth DFV-powered FW07B. He controlled the race for the remaining 28 laps to take his fifth win of the year to add to victories in Argentina, France, Britain and Canada. Reutemann made sure of the team’s second successive one-two, 4.2 seconds adrift. The podium was completed by Ligier’s Didier Pironi in his final race for the French team before joining Ferrari for 1981.
With Reutemann’s Monaco win making it six for the year, Williams took twice as many victories as rivals Brabham and Renault, which accounted for the team scoring nearly twice as many points as anyone else.
Photography courtesy of LAT Images
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