Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Champion Snapshot - Keke Rosberg 30 Jul 2004

Keke Rosberg (FIN) Williams took fifth position and with it secured his first and only World Championship title. United States Grand Prix, Rd 16, Las Vegas, USA, 25 September 1982. World © Phipps/Sutton

Finnish, 6/12/1948, World Champion 1982

One of the many 'flying Finns' that Formula One racing has played host to so far, Rosberg offered a far more rugged persona than some of his more recent compatriots. Rosberg, armed with his trademark moustache and blessed with a spectacularly innovative and aggressive driving style, was one of the last Formula One drivers to succeed without adopting the kind of 'total fitness' regime that has since become a vital adjunct to success.

Keijo Rosberg began racing in his native Finland in VW-powered Formula Vee, then moving into Formula Two. He made his Formula One debut in 1978 driving for the Theodore team, although he was able to make only a limited impression in a very uncompetitive car, failing to pre-qualify no fewer than four times during the season. He then moved onto Wolf and ATS before finding himself at Fittipaldi in 1980 - looking set for a career as a journeyman driver near the back of the grid.

But Rosberg's natural talent was just looking for an opportunity to shine. When Alan Jones announced his (first) retirement from the sport Rosberg was offered a test with Williams. He impressed and was asked to join the team for the 1982 season. When Carlos Reutemann also retired after just two races, Rosberg found himself as team leader. He put in a series of strong performances to take the season's drivers' championship by five points, despite only winning a single race at the Swiss Grand Prix in Dijon.

He stayed at Williams in 1983, taking victory at Monaco but finishing the season down in fifth place. He won the US Grand Prix in Dallas in 1984 and Detroit in 1985, but otherwise had unsuccessful seasons. In 1986 he moved to McLaren, his best performance being a second place at Monaco. He retired from Formula One at the end of the season and became involved in the management of several Formula Three teams, plus the personal management of fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen. Now he concentrates his attention on the development of his highly talented racing son, Nico Rosberg.