Celebrating Jenson Button's 40th birthday: What happened in F1 in 1980?

19-01-2020 10:49 | Updated: 19-01-2020 15:09
by Matt Gretton
Celebrating Jenson Button's 40th birthday: What happened in F1 in 1980?

Jenson Button is celebrating a big milestone today: his 40th birthday (Sunday, January 19). The 2009 F1 world champion is one of the most popular stars to have ever graced the track. Button can still be found in the paddock at some races but he's behind the Sky Sports camera rather than in the cockpit. The British driver won 15 races between 2006 and 2012. 

Button won the 2009 championship against all odds. Before the season started he wasn't sure if he had a drive let alone a decent car. But up stepped Ross Brawn and they produced a challenger which won eight races. 

To help us celebrate his birthday, we thought we'd take a flashback to the year in which Button was born. 

What happened in F1 in 1980?

1980 featured five teams whose names are still on the grid today. Williams, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo all competed but the later three finished in the bottom three places in the constructors' championship. Speaking of today, Williams did something they wouldn't be able to do now. They comfortably managed to win the title by 54 points. 

Also unlike today, the season started in early January. Just after the new year, the teams jetted off to Argentina for the first round of the season. The winner of this race, Alan Jones, went on to win the world championship. He was the first Australian to win the title since Jack Brabham in 1966. No driver from Australia has done this since Jones. 

His closest rival, Nelson Piquet, led the championship after 12 of the 14 rounds. But two back-to-back wins in Canada and the United States from Alan Jones was enough for him to steal the title and starve Piquet of a world championship trophy for another year. 

Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell both made their debuts in 1980. The reigning world champion, Jody Scheckter had a disastrous season picking up just two points. Patrick Depailler, who was racing for Alfa Romeo in 1980, was killed in a crash at Hockenheim during a testing session. He was a Grand Prix winner in each of the previous two seasons. 

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