Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Keijo ‘Keke’ Rosberg (born December 6, 1948) was a popular Formula One driver in the early 1980s and, despite his birthplace (Stockholm, Sweden), was the first regular driver from Finland in the series.
Keke had a relatively late start to his F1 career, debuting at the age of 29 after stints in the Toyota Atlantic series, Formula Vee, and a successful stint in Formula 2, then the ‘feeder’ to F1. He debuted with the underpowered Theodore team in 1978 and won a non-championship race that season in just his second race with the team, emerging victorious after many of the big names dropped out. Rosberg wasn’t able to qualify for a race afterwards, and was signed by another uncompetitive team, ATS for 3 races after the Theodore team scrapped the unreliable car design. He returned with Theodore after they borrowed chassis from the Wolf formula 1 team, but these failed to work with the team, and returned to ATS to end the season.
He emerged with the Wolf team midway through 1979, but it was having problems staying solvent, and Keke had problems in finishing races. Rosberg had to change teams again when they left F1, and signed with Emerson Fittipaldi’s racing team. He had his first two point-scoring results in 1980 but often failed to finish or qualify; 1981 was worse—he failed to score again.
Despite this, Williams had an interest in Keke in 1982 with the retirement of previous World Champion Alan Jones leaving a spot open. Given a competitive car, Keke was a ‘revelation’ that year. Rosberg consistently scored points and earned his first victory at Dijon-Prenois late that year. Rosberg’s season came in a year where no driver won more than two races and his consistency won Rosberg the championship.
With the developments of Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, and the re-emergence of Niki Lauda, Rosberg didn’t come close to winning another title but continued his consistent driving with Williams for 3 more seasons before retiring with a productive year with McLaren in 1986.
The original ‘Flying Finn’ later spent a long time managing future world champion and fellow Finn Mika Häkkinen. His son Nico has proved to be a good driver himself and has spent time test-driving for Williams.
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