|Born||14 February 1944|
|Died||11 September 1978 (aged 34)|
|Formula One World Championship Career|
|Teams||March, Tyrrell, Team Lotus|
( 123 starts)
|First Race||1970 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Last Race||1978 Italian Grand Prix|
|First Win||1973 French Grand Prix|
|Last Win||1978 Austrian Grand Prix|
Bengt Ronnie Peterson (14 February 1944 – 11 September 1978) was a Swedish racing driver. Known by the nickname 'SuperSwede', he was a two-time runner-up in the FIA Formula One World Drivers' Championship.
Peterson began his motor racing career in kart racing, traditionally the discipline where the majority of race drivers begin their careers in open-wheel racing. After winning a number of karting titles, including two Swedish titles in 1963 and 1964, he moved on to Formula Three, where he won the Monaco Grand Prix Formula Three support race for the 1969 Grand Prix. Later that year he won the European Formula Three Championship and moved up into Formula One, racing for the March factory team. In his three-year spell with the team, he took six podiums, most of which were scored during the 1971 Formula One season in which he also finished as runner-up in the Drivers' Championship.
After seeing out his three-year contract at March, Peterson joined Colin Chapman's Team Lotus in 1973, partnering defending champion Emerson Fittipaldi. During his first two seasons with Lotus, Peterson took seven victories, scoring a career-best 52 points in 1973. After a poor 1975 season, Peterson moved back to March and scored his final victory for the team at the 1976 Italian Grand Prix. After spending 1977 with Tyrrell, he moved back to Lotus for the 1978 season as "number two" driver to Mario Andretti. Peterson scored two wins, at the South African and Austrian Grand Prix races, and would finish second in the Drivers' Championship standings despite a fatal first-lap accident at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix.
Pre - Formula OneEdit
Peterson was born in Almby in the vicinity of Örebro, Sweden. He developed his driving style at a young age while competing in karting, and rapidly worked his way up to the pinnacle of European karting before switching to cars.
After his karting years, Peterson entered Formula Three racing in the Svebe, a 1L, Brabham-derived Formula car he co-designed with his father Bengt (who was a baker) and Sven Andersson.
Superb results from the outset quickly attracted the attention of the ambitious Tecno company from Italy, who signed him up in 1968. The pairing produced some fine results, and he won the 1969 Formula Three Championship.
Even after his elevation to F1 status Peterson still drove in lower echelon racing series (which was common at the time), winning the 1971 European Formula Two Championship driving for March.
1970 - 1972Peterson made his Grand Prix debut in a March 701 for Colin Crabbe's works-supported Antique Automobiles Racing Team at the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix. The limited budget of Crabbe's privateer team allowed only minimal testing, but Peterson qualified 12th out of 16 cars in the race. He was 10 places behind Jackie Stewart and Chris Amon, both on the front row of the grid in their newer specification 701s, but only just behind the more experienced Jo Siffert in the second works March. Peterson was the only March driver to finish the race, in seventh place.
In 1971 Peterson moved up to the full March works team, and made an instant impression. Five Formula One Grand Prix second places earned him the position of runner-up to Jackie Stewart in that year's World Championship. Within that year, Peterson drove in the World Sports Car Championship driving an Autodelta Alfa Romeo to win the Watkins Glen 6 hours. Peterson stayed at March until 1973, when he signed for John Player Team Lotus to partner Emerson Fittipaldi.
1973 - 1976
Peterson's first Grand Prix win was at the 1973 French Grand Prix, held at Paul Ricard, in a Lotus 72. There were three more wins that year, in Austria, Italy and the United States, but poor reliability restricted him to only third place in the World Championship at season's end.
1975 was a bad year for Lotus. The Lotus 76 proved a failure, and he reverted to driving the 72F.
Peterson had signed for Shadow but Lotus owner Colin Chapman convinced him to stay with Lotus due to a promise Chapman made to accelerate the rate of development on the Lotus 77. He drove the first two races of 1976 in the Lotus 77 before rejoining March Engineering. Driving the March 761, he won the Italian Grand Prix.
In 1977, he raced for Tyrrell, driving the six-wheel Tyrrell P34B. His only podium finish was a third place at the Belgian Grand Prix. Unlike many cars in the other teams, the P34 didn't undergo any refinement for the new season. And Goodyear couldn't deliver that specially developed tyre that the P34 needed exclusively.
After spending 1977 with Tyrrell, Ronnie Peterson moved back to Lotus for the 1978 season as "number two" driver to Mario Andretti. Peterson scored two wins, at the South African and Austrian Grand Prix races, and would finish second in the Drivers' Championship standings despite a fatal first-lap accident at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix.
Complete Formula One resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)