The 1979 Italian Grand Prix was round 13 of the Formula 1 World Championship.

Three drivers arrived at Monza still with a chance of winning the World Championship,namely Jody Scheckter,Gilles Villeneuve and Jacques Laffite.



Practice was headed up by the 1500cc turbocharged Renaults,with Jabouille setting up pole position with a time of 1m 34,5 s.

Arnoux was only fractionally slower,and Renault felt confident of a repeat of their win at Dijon a few months previously.Scheckter qualified third in his Ferrari 312 T4,Jones fourth in his Williams-Ford,Villeneuve was fifth in the other Ferrari.Regazzoni in the other Williams-Ford qualified sixth,Laffite in the Ligier-Ford seventh,and a young Nelson Piquet rounded off the top eight in his Brabham-Alfa Romeo.



At the green light Scheckter got a terrific start and led into the first chicane,followed by Arnoux,Villeneuve and Laffite.

On the opening lap Arnoux was making up ground on the leading Scheckter.As they arrived at the Parabolica,Arnoux had his Renault in Scheckter's slipstream,and on the following pit straight got right alongside the Ferrari.Some late braking by Arnoux ensured his Renault would take the lead.



On lap 2 Regazzoni in the Williams was slow coming out of Curva Grande,and Piquet,who was following closely shifted to one side to try to avoid him,but the two cars touched.Piquet was sent into the barriers,the Brabham splitting into two pieces on impact.Fortunately Piquet was not hurt.

Up at the front Arnoux was heading up the high speed train of Scheckter,Villeneuve and Laffite.Jabouille in fifth place was starting to lose touch of the leading group.For the next dozen laps or so Scheckter was following Arnoux as if the two were tied together.Scheckter was visibly faster through the Lesmos,but there was no way to overtake.The Renault had that small,but important advantage on the long straights.



Lap 13 Arnoux slowed suddenly,his engine faltered,just like it did for most of the 1979 season.

Regazzoni did well to get past Jabouille to take over fourth place.

Lap 48 marked another retirement by someone in the lead group,Laffite's exit meant his chances for the title were now over.Regazzoni inherited third place.


1979 World Champion

Scheckter reeled off the remaining laps,hoping that his car would last the distance.Villeneuve had promised Scheckter that he would not try to overtake him,and he was true to his word.Scheckter crossed the line with Villeneuve right behind him.

Scheckter had become the first,and so far only South African born driver to win the Drivers Championship.


Written by Kenneth Neuse,your All Things Motoring correspondent in Charlotte,North Carolina.