It happened today

Jody Scheckter's first race for Ferrari

21 Jan 1979

On 21st January 1979, the Argentinian Grand Prix took place in Buenos Aires, as the first round of that year’s Formula 1 World Championship. Scuderia Ferrari arrived with the previous year’s car, the 312 T3, given that the new one, the T4, had only been revealed to the press by Enzo Ferrari a few days earlier. However, there was one important new element in the team, as South Africa’s Jody Scheckter joined Gilles Villeneuve in the driver line-up, having moved from Wolf.

It was a less than sparkling debut. Fifth in qualifying 1”3 off Lafitte’s pole in the Ligier, Scheckter was involved in a huge pile-up at the start. The race was stopped, but the Ferrari man didn’t make the restart because of a dislocated wrist. Villeneuve started tenth but the degradation of the Michelin tyres meant he was not competitive and then the engine broke, forcing him to retire with five laps to go. The race was won by Laffitte, ahead of former Ferrari driver Reutemann (Lotus) and Watson (McLaren.)