The first races of the 1980 season proved to be very promising for the Renault F1 team, and for its drivers Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux.
At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Jabouille took pole and led for 25 of 40 laps. The Renaults were dominant at Interlagos, which was located at 850 meter (2840ft) above sea level, giving the turbocharged Renault engines a considerable horsepower advantage. But he retired with turbo failure and his team mate René Arnoux took the lead and won.
Same story two weeks later at Kyalami in South Africa (also in altitude), where Jabouille again captured pole and led for a while and retired, and Arnoux took the lead from 2nd place and won the race.
This would become a familiar situation for the unlucky Jabouille, who had retired from every race he participated in so far in the season, but finally broke his duck on round 10, at the spectacular Österreichring (Austrian Grand Prix), where he finally finished and won a race! His immense development work with Renault over the past 4 seasons gave him his second and last victory of his F1 career.
Picture above: Jean-Pierre Jabouille celebrates victory on the podium of the 1980 Austrian Grand Prix, with Alan Jones (2nd) and Carlos Reutemann (3rd).
Bad luck continued for the tall French driver, who retired from the lead in the next two races at Zandvoort and Monza, and who then suffered a terrible accident, when he went head-on into the tire-wall because of another mechanical failure in Canada, and broke both his legs badly.
His injuries saw him sit out till after the second race of the 1981 season (he had signed for the Ligier team), but it soon became clear that he wasn’t fully fit, at which point he decided to retire from Formula One, and he then became manager at the Talbot-Ligier team in 1982.
Picture below: Arnoux and Jabouille are confident ahead of the 1980 season. Three victories but so many DNF’s will follow.