Formula One drivers from Finland

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Mika Häkkinen in 2009

There have been eight Formula One drivers from Finland who have taken part in races since the championship began in 1950. Three drivers have won the World Drivers' Championship, with Keke Rosberg being the first in 1982. Mika Häkkinen won it in 1998 and retained it in 1999, becoming the first Finnish double world champion. Kimi Räikkönen is the most recent Finnish champion having won the title in 2007.

World champions and race winners[edit]

To date nine Finnish drivers have taken part in a race weekend, with eight taking part in at least one race.[1] Of those drivers three have won the World Drivers' Championship.[2] The first Finnish champion was Keke Rosberg who won in 1982.[3] Mika Häkkinen won the 1998 title and successfully defended it the following year.[4] Kimi Räikkönen is the most recent Finnish world champion having won in 2007.[3]

Heikki Kovalainen is the only Finnish race winner who has not won the world championship title.[2] His single race win came at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix as a driver with McLaren.[5]

Current drivers[edit]

For 2014, Kimi Räikkönen has returned to Ferrari, following two seasons at Lotus. His Formula One debut was with Sauber before he secured a seat at McLaren, replacing compatriot Mika Häkkinen. His second season with the team was very successful and Räikkönen took ten podium finishes on the way to second place in the Drivers' Championship. After three further seasons with McLaren, during which he had mixed results, he moved to Ferrari, replacing Michael Schumacher. Räikkönen won the 2007 title, his first year with the team, but he only won three races over the following two years. Ferrari signed Fernando Alonso and released Räikkönen from his contract a year early. He spent two years in other racing categories before returning to Formula One with Lotus in 2012.[3] An Autosport survey taken by 217 Formula One drivers saw Räikkönen voted as the 22nd greatest F1 driver of all time.[6]

Valtteri Bottas is a former GP3 champion. He joined Williams as a test driver in 2010 and remained in the role until the end of the 2012 season,[7] making his race weekend debut at the first practice session for the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix.[1] On 28 November 2012, it was announced that Bottas would be promoted to a race drive for Williams in 2013, a position he has retained for 2014.[8]

Kimi Räikkönen, 2013
Kimi Räikkönen
2014 season position: 10th 
Valtteri Bottas, 2009
Valtteri Bottas
2014 season position: 4th 

Former drivers[edit]

Häkkinen in the McLaren MP4/13 in 2008

Mika Häkkinen joined Lotus in 1991 and raced with the team for two seasons. The team was plagued by poor reliability and Häkkinen was only able to finish just over half of the races.[4] He moved to McLaren, initially as a test driver and reserve for Ayrton Senna and Michael Andretti, and was later promoted to the driving seat when Andretti left. On his debut in Portugal, Häkkinen impressed by out-qualifying three-time world champion Senna and was given a permanent seat with the team.[4][9] He raced with the team for the rest of his career, completing nine more seasons before retiring. However, his career could easily have been cut short at the end of the 1995 season when a crash in the practice sessions for Adelaide took him close to death. An emergency tracheotomy at the circuit saved his life before he was transferred to hospital. During the break between seasons he was able to make an excellent recovery, returning for the first race in 1996. It was not until the final race of the 1997 season that he would score a maiden victory, but that signalled the start of Häkkinen's most successful period in the sport.[9] He became the world champion in 1998 and retained the title the following year. He came close to winning it for a third successive year, finishing second behind Michael Schumacher. After a slightly disappointing 2001 season, during which Häkkinen would visit the podium just three times, he retired from the sport.[4] In the Autosport driver survey Häkkinen was placed as the 15th greatest F1 driver in history, higher than any of his compatriots.[10]

Keke Rosberg in the Williams FW10 in 1985

Keke Rosberg scored his maiden race win in 1982 and, combined with five podium finishes, he also won the drivers' title. He is one of only two racers to win the championship in a season where he only scored one race victory, the other being Mike Hawthorn.[3] The Autosport survey placed Rosberg in 25th in the top 40 greatest F1 drivers in history.[11] His son Nico was born in Germany and races under the German flag.[12]

Heikki Kovalainen drove for numerous teams between 2007 and 2013, the highlights of his career being a single pole position and single race victory for McLaren in 2008.

JJ Lehto was managed by Keke Rosberg[3] and joined Formula One with Onyx in 1989. He only started two races in the first year and five in his second season, moving to Dallara for 1991. He achieved his career best result of third place but only finished five of the 16 races he started. He left the sport in 1994 and pursued other racing series.[13]

Mika Salo joined the ailing Lotus team for the final two races of the 1994 season. He moved to Tyrrell for three seasons, each year scoring a highest race position of fifth. After spending 1998 with Arrows, Salo had a period where he raced as a stand-in for BAR and Ferrari. It was with Ferrari that Salo, racing instead of an injured Michael Schumacher, could have won the 1999 German Grand Prix had it not been for team orders forcing him to allow team-mate Eddie Irvine through to take the victory. He regained a full-time drive in 2000 when he joined the Sauber team, but did not compete in the following year. He returned to lead the Toyota team in 2002 but was bought out of the second year of his contract, ending his Formula One career.[14]

Leo Kinnunen was the first Finnish driver in Formula One.[15] He entered six grand prix in 1974[14] but was only successful in his qualification for the Swedish Grand Prix, from which he retired eight laps in after an engine failure. Kinnunen was the last Formula One driver to race with an open helmet and goggles.[15]

Mikko Kozarowitzky entered two races in 1977 but failed to qualify for either of them.[16]

Timeline[edit]

1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Kinnunen
Kozarowitzky
Rosberg
Lehto
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Lehto
Häkkinen
Salo Salo
Räikkönen
Kovalainen
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Räikkönen
Kovalainen
Bottas

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "iWITNESS: Malaysia". Williams F1. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Finland". Object Co., Ltd. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Keke Rosberg". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Mika Häkkinen". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Heikki Kovalainen". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Kimi Räikkönen". Autosport. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Straw, Edd; Beer, Matt (14 August 2012). "Valtteri Bottas determined to convert third driver role into long F1 career with Williams". Autosport. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (28 November 2012). "Williams confirms Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado for 2013". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Donaldson, Gerald. "Mika Hakkinen". Formula1.com. Formula One World Championship Limited. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Mika Hakkinen". Autosport. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Keke Rosberg". Autosport. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Collantine, Keith. "Nico Rosberg". F1 Fanatic. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "J J Lehto". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Mika Salo". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Leo KINNUNEN". Formula One Rejects. 2001. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Mikko Kozarowitzky". ESPN F1. ESPN EMEA Ltd. Retrieved 21 September 2012.