1978 Brazilian Grand Prix

The 1978 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 29 January 1978 at Jacarepagua. The race was won by Argentine driver Carlos Reutemann driving a Ferrari 312T2 in a flag-to-flag performance. The win also represented the first win for tyre manufacturer Michelin. Local driver Emerson Fittipaldi was second, scoring the first podium finish for the Fittipaldi team with Austrian Brabham driver Niki Lauda finishing third. French driver Didier Pironi took his first points in Formula One, finishing sixth.

1978 Brazilian Grand Prix
Race 2 of 16 in the 1978 Formula One season
Circuit Jacarepagua.png
Race details
Date January 29, 1978
Location Jacarepagua, Brazil
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.031 km (3.126 mi)
Distance 63 laps, 316.953 km (196.945 mi)
Weather Dry
Pole position
Driver Lotus-Ford
Time 1:40.45
Fastest lap
Driver Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari
Time 1:43.07 on lap 35
First Ferrari
Second Fittipaldi-Ford
Third Brabham-Alfa Romeo


The first Formula One race held at Jacarepagua was held in typically extreme weather conditions of January in Rio, meaning the race was held in both hot and humid conditions. Ronnie Peterson took the pole position in the leading Lotus ahead of James Hunt in the leading McLaren, teammate Mario Andretti in the other Lotus, Carlos Reutemann in the leading Ferrari, Patrick Tambay in the second McLaren and Gilles Villeneuve in the other Ferrari.

Peterson got off to a poor start from the pole and dropped back to 4th, whilst into the first corner it was Reutemann from 4th on the grid who got the best start and lead the first lap for Ferrari ahead of Hunt, Andretti, Peterson, Tambay and Villeneuve. Hunt in the leading McLaren and Andretti in the leading Lotus were running 2nd and 3rd behind Reutemann, until Hunt was forced to pit for tyres whilst Andretti soon started to suffer from gearbox problems and dropped to 4th, handing their 2nd and 3rd places over to home favourite Emerson Fittipaldi and reigning world-champion Niki Lauda respectively. Peterson eventually retired after a collision by lap 16. The hot and humid conditions had eventually caused Hunt, Tambay and Villeneuve in the other Ferrari to all spin off and crash by lap 36. Reutemann meanwhile had no challengers for the lead all race long, and won by a comfortable margin ahead of former double world-champion Fittipaldi, Lauda, Andretti in the remaining Lotus, Clay Regazzoni in the Shadow and Didier Pironi in the Tyrrell.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 11   Carlos Reutemann Ferrari 63 1:49:59.86 4 9
2 14   Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 63 +49.13 secs 7 6
3 1   Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo 63 +57.02 secs 10 4
4 5   Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 63 +1:33.12 3 3
5 17   Clay Regazzoni Shadow-Ford 62 +1 Lap 15 2
6 3   Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Ford 62 +1 Lap 19 1
7 9   Jochen Mass ATS-Ford 62 +1 Lap 20
8 2   John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo 61 +2 Laps 21
9 26   Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 61 +2 Laps 14
10 36   Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 59 +4 Laps 18
11 27   Alan Jones Williams-Ford 58 +5 Laps 8
Ret 25   Héctor Rebaque Lotus-Ford 40 Physical 22
Ret 12   Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 35 Spun Off 6
Ret 8   Patrick Tambay McLaren-Ford 34 Spun Off 5
Ret 7   James Hunt McLaren-Ford 25 Spun Off 2
Ret 16   Hans-Joachim Stuck Shadow-Ford 25 Fuel System 9
Ret 20   Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford 16 Accident 12
Ret 6   Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford 15 Collision 1
Ret 22   Danny Ongais Ensign-Ford 13 Brakes 23
Ret 30   Brett Lunger McLaren-Ford 11 Overheating 13
Ret 4   Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 8 Accident 11
Ret 18   Rupert Keegan Surtees-Ford 5 Accident 24
DNS 23   Lamberto Leoni Ensign-Ford 0 Transmission 17
DNS 10   Jean-Pierre Jarier ATS-Ford Mass Drove Car 16
DNQ 37   Arturo Merzario Merzario-Ford
DNQ 32   Eddie Cheever Theodore-Ford
DNQ 19   Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Ford
DNQ 24   Divina Galica Hesketh-Ford

Lap leadersEdit

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ "1978 Brazilian Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Brazil 1978 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 13 March 2019.

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1978 Argentine Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1978 season
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1978 South African Grand Prix
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1977 Brazilian Grand Prix
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1979 Brazilian Grand Prix