Keke Rosberg

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Keke Rosberg
Anefo 932-2378 Keke Rosberg, Zandvoort, 03-07-1982.jpg
Rosberg at the 1982 Dutch Grand Prix
Born (1948-12-06) 6 December 1948 (age 65)
Solna, Stockholm County, Sweden
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Finland Finnish
Active years 19781986
Teams Theodore, ATS, Wolf, Fittipaldi, Williams, McLaren
Races 128 (114 starts)
Championships 1 (1982)
Wins 5
Podiums 17
Career points 159.5
Pole positions 5
Fastest laps 3
First race 1978 South African Grand Prix
First win 1982 Swiss Grand Prix
Last win 1985 Australian Grand Prix
Last race 1986 Australian Grand Prix

Keijo Erik "Keke" Rosberg (About this sound pronunciation ) (born 6 December 1948) is a Finnish former racing driver and winner of the 1982 Formula One World Championship. He was the first Finnish driver to compete regularly in the series. Rosberg grew up in Oulu and Iisalmi, Finland. He is the father of current Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Nico Rosberg.

Formula One career[edit]

Minor teams[edit]

Rosberg in the Wolf pits in 1979.

Rosberg had a relatively late start to his F1 career, debuting at the age of 29 after stints in Formula Vee, Formula Atlantic and its antipodean counterpart Formula Pacific and Formula Two, then "feeder" series to Formula One. His first Formula One drive was with the Theodore team during the 1978 season.[1] He immediately caught the attention of the Formula One paddock with a superb drive in the non-Championship BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone in just his second race with the team, emerging victorious after many of the big names had been caught out by a tremendous downpour. Rosberg wasn't able to qualify for a race afterwards, and was signed by another uncompetitive team, ATS, for three races after the Theodore team scrapped its unreliable car design. He returned to Theodore after they acquired chassis from the Wolf Formula One team, but these were also uncompetitive and Rosberg returned to ATS to end the season.

He next emerged with the Wolf team, midway through the 1979 season. However, the team was having difficulty staying solvent, and Rosberg had problems in finishing races. Rosberg soon had to change teams again when Wolf left Formula One, and signed with Fittipaldi Automotive which had bought the remains of Walter Wolf's squad. He secured his first two point-scoring results in the 1980 season, including a podium, but often failed to finish or qualify. 1981 was worse as he failed to score at all.

The sharp end[edit]

Rosberg won the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix in a Williams FW09.

Despite this, Williams was interested in Rosberg, with the retirement of former World Champion Alan Jones leaving a seat open for the 1982 season.[1] Given a competitive car, Rosberg had a highly successful year. He consistently scored points and earned his first victory in the Swiss Grand Prix at Dijon-Prenois late that year (despite being called the "Swiss Grand Prix", the race was held in France due to Switzerland's ban on motor racing in effect since the 1955 Le Mans disaster).

Rosberg's first memorable season came in a year where no driver won more than two races. With Ferrari's season marred by the death of Gilles Villeneuve at Zolder, the career-ending injuries to Didier Pironi at Hockenheim and the turbocharged Brabham-BMW and Renault cars suffering from poor reliability (and not helped by Brabham continually changing between the Ford V8 and the BMW turbo), consistency won Rosberg the Drivers' Championship, despite his Williams FW07C using the normally aspirated Ford DFY V8 engine which was considered outdated and out-matched against the vastly more powerful turbo cars. Rosberg's 1982 Championship proved to be the last World Championship win for the old Cosworth DFV engine which had been introduced to F1 by Lotus in 1967 (the DFY was a development of the DFV).

Rosberg driving for Williams at the 1985 German Grand Prix.

Rosberg's post-championship years would be hamstrung by both uncompetitive chassis from Williams, and the powerful but unreliable Honda turbo engine. For his title defense in 1983, Rosberg was again using the reliable Ford DFY V8. However, by this time, Ferrari, Renault and BMW had got their act together and the reliability of their turbo engines was starting to match their speed and power output. Rosberg still put his Williams FW08 on pole for the opening race of the season in Brazil (where he was disqualified from 2nd place because he was push started in the pits after he was forced to abandon his car in his pit bay due to a fuel vapor fire), and then won both the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch and in Monaco thanks to a clever choice of slicks at the start when all others started on wets, but it was increasingly obvious that without a turbo charged engine, results would be scarce. To that end, Frank Williams concluded a deal to run the Honda V6 turbo engine in his cars. Honda had come back into Formula One that year with the Spirit team and results had been slow with unreliability, but they were enthusiastic about joining Williams who had a reputation as a Championship-winning team. Rosberg and team mate Jacques Laffite first got their Honda turbos in the season ending South African Grand Prix at Kyalami and immediately the new Williams FW09 was on the pace. Rosberg finished in 5th place to give him 5th place in the championship. During the year, Rosberg earned the title "King of the atmospherics".

Despite good power from the Honda engines, Williams and Rosberg struggled in 1984 mostly due to the FW09B chassis not being rigid enough to handle the power delivery of the 850 bhp (634 kW; 862 PS) V6. The Finn managed to tame both the car and engine long enough to win the Dallas Grand Prix, but his only other podium for the year was a second at the season opener in Brazil (the 3rd time in succession he finished second in Brazil, but the only one from which he was not disqualified). After a frustrating year he finished the championship in 8th place with 20.5 points.

1985 would prove better for both Rosberg and Williams. The Finn had a new team mate in Nigel Mansell and the all carbon fibre Williams FW10 chassis was a big improvement over the FW09B. For the first few races the team used the 1984 engines until Honda introduced an upgraded version which improved power delivery, fuel economy and most importantly, reliability. Rosberg used the new engine to good effect, winning the Detroit Grand Prix and claiming pole in the next two races in France at the Paul Ricard Circuit and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Rosberg's pole-winning lap at Silverstone created history when he lapped the 4.719 km (2.932 mi) circuit in 1:05.591 for an average speed of 160.9 miles per hour (258.9 km/h). This would remain the single fastest lap of a circuit in Formula One until broken by Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya at the 2002 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Keke Rosberg's fifth and final Grand Prix victory came at the 1985 Australian Grand Prix on the Adelaide Street Circuit. As it was the final race of the season, it was also Rosberg's final race for Williams. The win enhanced Rosberg's reputation as a "street fighter" as his final four wins (Monaco, Dallas, Detroit and Adelaide) had all come on street circuits.

Just as the Honda engine began producing regular results, Rosberg decided to leave Williams at the end of 1985 and signed for McLaren, winners of the 1984 and 1985 Drivers' and Constructors Championships. The Williams-Honda team would go on to dominate Grand Prix racing in 1986 and through 1987.

At the time, Rosberg's move to McLaren for the 1986 season had seemed a master stroke as they were the championship team of the previous two seasons, having done so (especially in 1984) in dominating fashion.[1] However, the 1986 McLaren was now somewhat underpowered compared to its rivals, and Rosberg was soundly beaten by teammate, 1985 World Champion Alain Prost (the McLaren MP4/2C had been designed by John Barnard to suit the smoother style of Niki Lauda and Alain Prost, while Rosberg had never shed the ground effects style of late braking and throwing the car into a corner. It wasn't until it became known Barnard was leaving for Ferrari that the designer allowed Rosberg to fundamentally change his cars set up to suit his style. Ironically this coincided with Rosberg's only pole position of the season in Germany). On top of that, the fatal crash of Elio de Angelis while testing a Brabham in France deeply affected him (Rosberg and de Angelis were close friends) and he retired at the end of the season. He would later claim that he retired "too soon"[citation needed].

Keke Rosberg dominated the final race of his Formula One career, the 1986 Australian Grand Prix, though he did not win. While holding a 30 second lead over Nelson Piquet (his replacement at Williams), he had a rear tyre let go on lap 62. Thinking the noise from the back of his McLaren was engine related, he shut the engine off and pulled off the circuit, only to find when he got out and checked that all he needed to do was drive back to the pits to change tyres. However, he later revealed that he would never have won anyway, that he planned to give best to Alain Prost in the Frenchman's bid for back-to-back World Championships (Prost needed to win the race with Nigel Mansell finishing no better than 4th to claim the championship, while Rosberg had dropped out of title contention some races before). As it turned out, Prost won the race and the title, and a lap after Rosberg's retirement Mansell suffered the same fate as his former team mate, though in much more spectacular fashion.

Rosberg, who had made up his mind in mid 1984 that he would only race for two more years (but didn't announce it publicly until Germany 1986), had no regrets about leaving Williams and joining McLaren at a time when the Honda engine was starting to come on strong, while the Porsche built TAG engine (and the 3 season old MP4/2) was starting to show its age. In an interview following his retirement announcement, Rosberg said that he was glad he left Williams when he did, stating that had he stayed with them he may have quit Formula One early in the 1986 season after Frank Williams pre-season accident (in which he suffered a spinal cord injury which left him a tetraplegic) had left someone in a position of authority within the team who he said was one of the reasons he had decided to leave Williams, adding "We simply could not stand each other". While Rosberg did not name the person, it was generally believed to be Williams head designer and Technical Director Patrick Head, who had taken over the day-to-day running of the team while Frank Williams recovered from his accident.

After Formula One[edit]

In 1989 Rosberg made his comeback in the Spa 24 Hours in a Ferrari Mondial run by Moneytron (cf. Jean-Pierre Van Rossem and Onyx), the same team that gave Rosberg's protégé JJ Lehto his debut in Formula One. Rosberg was a key element of Peugeot's extremely competitive sportscar squad in the early 1990s.[1] But after two years with the marque and varied successes (two victories and a failed attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans), he moved on to the German Touring Car Championship, the DTM, driving for Mercedes-Benz and Opel. Here he set up his own team, Team Rosberg, in 1995 and at the end of that year withdrew from driving to concentrate on running it.

Team Rosberg ran for another year in the DTM, until the series collapsed, and has been present in Formula BMW, German Formula Three, the Formula Three Euroseries and A1 GP since. Team Rosberg returned to the revived DTM in 2000, entering two Mercedes. Success, or even just scoring points, became harder with each passing season and Team Rosberg quit the series after their 2004 campaign, only to return in 2006, this time with Audi.

The next generation[edit]

Rosberg later spent a long time managing his countrymen JJ Lehto and future world champion Mika Häkkinen. Until 2008, he also managed his son Nico who entered Formula One in 2006 driving for Williams F1. In 2013 he and Nico became the first father and son to both win at Monaco, 30 years apart from each other.

Helmet[edit]

In his karting years, Rosberg had a white helmet with a blue stripe, then, in F1, Sid Mosca (who designed helmets for Brazilian drivers including Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Emerson Fittipaldi) painted Rosberg's helmet white with a blue circle on the top and the stripe was divided in a big blue rectangle covering the visor area with some blue rectangles behind (similar to Didier Pironi's helmet design). In 1984, the rectangles were replaced by a yellow trapezium. His son Nico has a helmet that has similarities to Keke's design, with grey replacing blue and with flame motifs.

Racing record[edit]

Complete European Formula Two Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pos Pts
1976 Team Warsteiner Eurorace Toj F201 BMW HOC
Ret
THR
Ret
VAL
DNQ
SAL
13
PAU
HOC
Ret
ROU
4
MUG
24
PER
DNQ
HOC
5
10th 5
Fred Opert Racing Chevron B35 Hart EST
Ret
NOG
1977 Fred Opert Racing Chevron B35 Hart SIL
Ret
6th 22
Chevron B40 THR
NC
HOC
8
NÜR
3
VAL
12
PAU
11
MUG
Ret
ROU
NOG
13
PER
1
MIS
EST
4
DON
2
1978 Fred Opert Racing Chevron B42 Hart THR
Ret
HOC
8
NÜR
2
PAU
DNS
MUG
Ret
VAL
Ret
ROU
DON
1
NOG
17
PER
MIS
HOC
5th 16
1979 Project Four Racing March 792 BMW SIL
HOC
1
THR
NÜR
Ret
VAL
MUG
PAU
HOC
ZAN
PER
MIS
DON
12th 9

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
1978 Theodore Racing Hong Kong Theodore TR1 Cosworth V8 ARG
BRA
RSA
Ret
USW
DNPQ
MON
DNPQ
BEL
DNQ
ESP
DNPQ
NC 0
ATS Racing Team ATS HS1 SWE
15
FRA
16
GBR
17
Theodore Racing Hong Kong Wolf WR3 GER
10
AUT
NC
Wolf WR4 NED
Ret
ITA
DNPQ
ATS Racing Team ATS D1 USA
Ret
CAN
NC
1979 Olympus Cameras Wolf Racing Wolf WR8 Cosworth V8 ARG
BRA
RSA
USW
ESP
BEL
MON
FRA
9
GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
NC 0
Wolf WR7 GBR
Ret
Wolf WR9 AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
CAN
DNQ
Wolf WR8/9 USA
Ret
1980 Skol Fittipaldi Team Fittipaldi F7 Cosworth V8 ARG
3
BRA
9
RSA
Ret
USW
Ret
BEL
7
MON
DNQ
FRA
Ret
GBR
DNQ
10th 6
Fittipaldi F8 GER
Ret
AUT
16
NED
DNQ
ITA
5
CAN
9
USA
10
1981 Fittipaldi Automotive Fittipaldi F8C Cosworth V8 USW
Ret
BRA
9
ARG
Ret
SMR
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
DNQ
ESP
12
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
DNQ
AUT
NED
DNQ
ITA
DNQ
CAN
DNQ
CPL
10
NC 0
1982 TAG Williams Team Williams FW07C Cosworth V8 RSA
5
BRA
DSQ
USW
2
SMR
1st 44
Williams FW08 BEL
2
MON
Ret
DET
4
CAN
Ret
NED
3
GBR
Ret
FRA
5
GER
3
AUT
2
SUI
1
ITA
8
CPL
5
1983 TAG Williams Team Williams FW08C Cosworth V8 BRA
DSQ
USW
Ret
FRA
5
SMR
4
MON
1
BEL
5
DET
2
CAN
4
GBR
11
GER
10
AUT
8
NED
Ret
ITA
11
EUR
Ret
5th 27
Williams FW09 Honda V6 (t/c) RSA
5
1984 Williams Grand Prix Engineering Williams FW09 Honda V6 (t/c) BRA
2
RSA
Ret
BEL
4
SMR
Ret
FRA
6
MON
4
CAN
Ret
DET
Ret
DAL
1
8th 20.5
Williams FW09B GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
8
ITA
Ret
EUR
Ret
POR
Ret
1985 Canon Williams Team Williams FW10 Honda V6 (t/c) BRA
Ret
POR
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
8
CAN
4
DET
1
FRA
2
GBR
Ret
GER
12
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
BEL
4
EUR
3
RSA
2
AUS
1
3rd 40
1986 Marlboro McLaren International McLaren MP4/2C TAG V6 (t/c) BRA
Ret
ESP
4
SMR
5
MON
2
BEL
Ret
CAN
4
DET
Ret
FRA
4
GBR
Ret
GER
5
HUN
Ret
AUT
9
ITA
4
POR
Ret
MEX
Ret
AUS
Ret
6th 22
  • ‡ Race was stopped with less than 75% of laps completed, half points awarded.

Formula One Non-Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2
1978 Theodore Racing Hong Kong Theodore TR1 Cosworth V8 INT
1
1979 Olympus Cameras Wolf Racing Wolf WR9 Cosworth V8 ROC
DIN
6
1980 Skol Team Fittipaldi Fittipaldi F7 Cosworth V8 ESP
Ret
1981 Skol Team Fittipaldi Fittipaldi F8C Cosworth V8 RSA
4
1983 TAG Williams Team Williams FW08C Cosworth V8 ROC
1

In popular culture[edit]

In level 7 game 11 of the popular video game Angry Birds created by the Finnish company Rovio there is a caricature of Rosberg in a racing car sitting on the year '1982'.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Keke Rosberg". formula1.com. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Keke Rosberg at Wikimedia Commons

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
first winner
Autosport
International Racing Driver Award

1982
Succeeded by
Nelson Piquet
Sporting positions
Preceded by
James Hunt
BRDC International Trophy winner
1978
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Nelson Piquet
Formula One World Champion
1982
Succeeded by
Nelson Piquet
Preceded by
Gilles Villeneuve
Brands Hatch Race of Champions winner
1983
Succeeded by
Incumbent