The first World Champion for Williams and the template by whom all future Williams drivers would be judged, Australian Alan Jones turns 70 years old today. He clinched the title during the penultimate round of the 1980 season, the Canadian Grand Prix, in the legendary Williams FW07.
His title rival was Nelson Piquet, who at the time was racing in only his second full F1 season. Piquet qualified on pole ahead of Jones but the start of the race ended in tears when the pair collided, causing a massive multi-car pile up that caused the race to be red-flagged.
Piquet’s car was too badly damaged to continue at the restart so he had to use his qualifying car, which was in no way set up to last an entire Grand Prix distance. During the restarted race Piquet led the early stages before his engine expired on lap 23. The Ligier of Didier Pironi won on the road but was handed a whopping 60 second penalty for jumping the start, dropping him to third
This meant that Jones won the race and the championship, with team mate Carlos Reutemann finishing second. It’s a wonder this doesn’t go down as one of the more controversial ways to win a title, because it certainly seems like it was an exciting one!