Keke Rosberg  Finland

driver portrait
World Championship Career
Year Car Race Start Won Pod Class Best Pole Front Best Lap Hat Pts Pos
1978 Theodore, Wolf, ATS 14 9 0 0 3 10 0 0 15 0 0 0 -
1979 Wolf 8 7 0 0 1 9 0 0 8 0 0 0 -
1980 Fittipaldi 14 11 0 1 7 3 0 0 6 0 0 6 10
1981 Fittipaldi 14 9 0 0 3 9 0 0 8 0 0 0 -
1982 Williams 15 15 1 6 11 1 1 1 1 0 0 44 1
1983 Williams 15 15 1 2 11 1 1 1 1 0 0 27 5
1984 Williams 16 16 1 2 6 1 0 1 2 0 0 20.5 8
1985 Williams 16 16 2 5 9 1 2 6 1 3 0 40 3
1986 McLaren 16 16 0 1 8 2 1 1 1 0 0 22 6
Total 128 114 5 17 59 1 5 10 1 3 0 159.5
Race Circuit Date
First race South African Grand Prix Kyalami March 4, 1978 Race results
Last race Australian Grand Prix Adelaide October 26, 1986 Race results

Few have worked as hard as Keke Rosberg to get in to Formula One, and even fewer have made the most of their opportunities like the Flying Finn did. Having become the European kart champion in 1973 he moved in to Formula Vee, but needing prize money to progress in 1978 he successfully raced in European Formula Two, the North American Formula Atlantic and Formula Pacific series. It meant a season where he competed in 41 races on 36 weekends across five different continents.

Having found a way in to Formula One with the Theodore team, Rosberg secured a stunning win in the non-championship International Trophy race at Silverstone, triumphing in only his second Formula One race in wet conditions which caught many others out. He spent the rest of the season switching between the uncompetitive Theodore and ATS teams, before moves to Wolf and then Fittipaldi saw little improvement as he often failed to qualify - despite a third place for Fittipaldi at the Argentine Grand Prix in 1980.

The Fittipaldi team's funds ran out in 1981, but fortune was on Rosberg's side as a vacancy opened up at Williams when 1980 champion Alan Jones retired. An impressive test for the team at Paul Ricard secured him the position, and in a competitive car he could finally show what he could do. His first season with the team saw him take only one win, but a series of other high finishes in a year where 11 different drivers won races was enough to see him crowned world champion.

The dominance of turbo-power kept Rosberg out of the title picture the following season, and his 1984 car was unreliable. In 1985 though, he showed some of the awesome speed that was his trademark, taking pole position at Silverstone with a lap that averaged 160.9mph, a record that stood until Juan Pablo Montoya beat it setting his pole lap at Monza in 2002. Rosberg won two races that year to finish third in the championship, hampered by a spate of early and mid-season retirements.

He left Williams to join McLaren, who had taken the previous two world championships with Niki Lauda and Alain Prost respectively. But Prost comprehensively beat Rosberg in an underpowered car, while the death of his close friend Elio de Angelis in testing at Paul Ricard hit Rosberg hard, and he retired at the end of the season. He stayed around the Formula One paddock though, going on to manage fellow Finns JJ Lehto and Mika Hakkinen, before overseeing his son Nico's career, as the Rosberg name continues in the sport.

Strengths and weaknesses
Hard working and fiercely committed, Rosberg looked fast and was fast, as his lap at Silverstone testified. He made the most of his opportunities when they came to him, but his driving style eventually wore him down and was outlasted by the much more tactical Prost at the end of his career.

Career high
Finishing fifth in Las Vegas to clinch the 1982 world championship in a normally aspirated car, despite many rivals using turbo-engines.

Career low
Failing to score a point at all in 1981, as his Fittipaldi team withdrew from the sport, leaving his career in the balance.

"I'm a cocky bastard and I know it."

In 1983: "I was probably the fastest I'd ever been in my career. I just refused to accept that anybody could beat me and to stay with the turbos I was prepared to take massive risks."

He is one of only two drivers to have won the world championship with only one victory, the other being Mike Hawthorn in 1958.

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