Ronnie Peterson

Country Sweden
Date of Birth 11-2-44
Died 11-9-78
  Lotus Career
Debut 28-1-73 10-5-70
Last Race 10-9-78
Races 59 123
Wins 9 10
Podiums 18 26
Poles 13 14
Points 144 206

Other information...

"Super Swede" started his racing career with March and was runner up to Jackie Stewart in the 1971 World Championship before joining Team Lotus. Widely regarded to be fast no matter what, he would frequently copy Emerson Fittipaldi's setup and then go faster. Unfortunately he joined Lotus just as the Lotus 72 was stating to become uncompetative. Combined with the disaster that was the Lotus 76 and after one drive of the Lotus 77 he returned to March (with Gunnar Nilsson going to Lotus as part of the deal).

The 1976 season with March was a disaster (aside from the win at Monza) and a move to Tyrrell followed. During that season he was scheduled to be on the plane in which Graham Hill was killed but ducked out before takeoff. The 1977 season was also a disaster as he was driving the six-wheeled Tyrell P34 which no longer had the benefit of tyre development from Goodyear. By this time Lotus had returned to the front of the grid and Peterson begged Colin Chapman to give him a drive.

Now paired with Mario Andretti and soon driving the Lotus 79 he was back to his best. One of the conditions of his joining was that he would support Andretti's World Championship bid (just like Irvine/Barrichello/Massa to Schumacher). Despite sometimes being faster (even without qualifying tyres and with half a tank of fuel!) he stuck to his word. Near the end of the season he had signed to drive for McLaren in 1979.

Unfortunately at Monza he crashed his Lotus 79 in the morning practice and had to start the race in the (structurally inferior) Lotus 78. At the first chicane there was large crash and he was rescued from a burning car by James Hunt, Clay Regazzoni and Patrick Depailler. Taken to hospital with broken legs he was expected to survive, but during the night he died from an embolism.