• Austrian Grand Prix

Jones secures back-to-back victories

ESPNF1 Staff
August 12, 1979
Alan Jones dives down the inside of Gilles Villeneuve to take the lead © Sutton Images
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Alan Jones scored his second win in as many races and Williams its third in succession at the Austrian Grand Prix at the Österreichring.

For the third grand prix running Williams dominated. Jones set the fastest time - three seconds quicker than the one which had secured pole a year earlier - with Rene Arnoux in his turbocharged Renault alongside him on the front of the grid.

Jones battled hard on the opening laps with Gilles Villeneuve and the pair moved clear of the field. "I was expecting a challenge from a yellow Renault at the start, and was very surprised when a red car shot up the inside," said Jones. "Villeneuve made a mistake coming on to the pit straight, and it was not difficult to take him under braking for the next corner. After that I had no problems apart from a balance weight coming off the front wheels when there were five laps to go."

Jean-Pierre Jabouille did pass Villeneuve before the Frenchman quit with tyre trouble, but Arnoux then again pushed the Ferrari back into third before the Renault had to pit four laps from the end which dropped it back to sixth. The tussle for third was won by Jacques Lafitte (Ligier) when he overtook Jody Scheckter's Ferrari on the last lap.

But the forthright Jones then hit out at the new points system which meant only the best four results from each half of the season counted. "I get penalised because my car was not running as well in the first half. Even if I won the remaining four races I could not win the title." Scheckter's fourth meant he retained a six-point lead in the championship over Lafitte and Villeneuve.

And the day ended in confusion as the race commissioner impounded the Williams cars and ordered them to be sent to London to check for engine irregularities. There was no reason given why he acted this way and nothing came of it.

Lotus' poor season rumbled on, with the Lotus 80 all but sidelined as Colin Chapman continued to make modifications to the previous season's Lotus 79. Again neither car went the distance.

The pit-lane gossip grew that Niki Lauda was poised to leave Brabham for McLaren. The teams refused to confirm or deny the speculation while Lauda himself remained elusive.

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