René Arnoux. Photo: Renault Sport
The World of 1980 had begun in Argentina with the victory of Alan Jones (Williams), followed by the Brabham of Nelson Piquet. A harbinger of what ultimately would be the final result of the championship. However, neither the australian nor the brazilian would be protagonists in the Grand Prix of Brazil, and for the last time it was going to take place in the original layout of Interlagos: since 1981, Jacarepaguá, in Rio de Janeiro (who had already premiered in 1978), was going to take over and when the Formula 1 returned to Sao Paulo, in 1990, he did so in the reduced version that has survived until today.
The fast path paulista was fertile ground for the domain of the Renault RE20 turbo, which was confirmed with the pole of Jean Pierre Larrousse. His companion, Rene Arnoux, with problems in the second qualifying session, had to settle with a close the third row, behind Pironi (Ligier), Villeneuve (Ferrari), Reutemann (Williams) and Laffite (Ligier).
The putting into action of Larrousse was very poor and was overtaken by Villeneuve, Pironi and Laffite. But the French took no or a lap to get rid of the Ligier and halfway through the second lap passed without problems to the canadian Ferrari, which would continue to losing positions. In the round 14, Arnoux was already second after the abandonment of Laffite and the pit stop of Pironi. The doublet of Renault seemed to be sung until on lap 25 Larrousse suffered a broken turbo which put the victory on a platter to his companion. Arnoux scored the first victory of his career, ahead of Elio de Angelis (a result that Lotus, after his disappointing season of 1978, celebrated as a victory) and Alan Jones.