Ronnie Peterson-The Super Swede

Do you want to post a tribute about your favourite retired drivers, perhaps you want to discuss the rantings of the MIT (men in tweed). They thought they were safer when they retired, perhaps not mumblers!! How about a tribute to those that are not drivers but still in the game?

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Ronnie Peterson-The Super Swede

Postby craggle78 » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 12:48 pm

Ronnie Peterson, made his Formula 1 debut in 1970 with the March team, the same team he had been racing for in the junior formula. He immediately impressed the world with his raw speed. In 1971 he scored five second place finishes and was runner-up to Jackie Stewart in the World Championship. The March team was run on a shoestring budget and it was not until he left for Lotus in 1973, that he won his first race at the French Grand Prix.
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Teaming with Emerson Fittipaldi, the current World Champion, he was proving to be more than a match for the Brazilian. He went on to win three more races that year and finished third in the World Championship. Fittipaldi soon left for McLaren and Ronnie Peterson continued with Lotus as the team leader for the next two years but the Lotus 72 was at the end of its useful life. In 1976 he returned to March but had limited success. 1977 brought an offer to drive the 6-wheel Tyrrell. This very complex car was just the opposite of what Peterson needed. Being a disaster as a test driver he was lost in the Tyrrell.
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1977 served as the low point of his career and for 1978 he returned to Lotus as a number two to Mario Andretti. Mario at first questioned this arrangement as he well new that Ronnie was no number two. As an indication of his character Ronnie accepted this position without malice; a far cry from the political intrigue that is Formula 1 today. Together they dominated the 1978 season in the Lotus 79 with Peterson scoring a pair of spectacular wins. Peterson acted the loyal number two but there were time when his brilliance could not be masked. He out qualified his teammate at Brands Hatch even though he was using hard compound tires, rather than the qualifiers which were held for Andretti, and a half tank of gas! After his victory at Zeltweg in Austria he trailed Andretti by only 9 points with 4 races remaining. It was well known that he would be with another team in 1979 and some suggested that he should just go for the championship with nothing to lose. Nothing except his word: SuperSwede"I'm going to McLaren next year", he said. "It's not announced yet, but Mario knows, Some of these people," he sighed, "who say I should forget our agreement now... I don't understand them. I had open eyes when I signed the contract, and I also gave my word. If I break it now, who will ever trust me again?" At the next race Andretti's car broke an exhaust and lost power yet Peterson followed him over the line. Peterson felt that his time would come next year, as he had been offered a number one position with McLaren. All of that ended before it began when Ronnie Peterson died as the result of an accident at Monza. In 1978, in Formula One the music had stopped, more than a man died that day for Formula 1 had lost its innocence.
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Ronnie Peterson
stats-

Number of Grand Prix-123

Number of wins-10

Number of pole positions-14

Number of fastest laps-9

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Postby yeoldetifosi » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 3:37 pm

There's only ever been a handfull of drivers that I've really cared a fig about and Ronnie Peterson was one of them.
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."
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Postby John » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 9:54 pm

I never saw Ronnie Peterson race and while I have often heard people, who have only witnessed the modern era of F1, praise other drivers like Fangio and Clark it is usually the older guys who knew and saw Peterson race who rave about him....

That say's a lot about how special he must have been... It is a sad fact that unless you achieve a WDC, only those who saw you race will remember you....
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Postby Stoozie » Thu 04 Jan, 2007 8:27 pm

I have to admit that I blubbed the day it was reported he had died. It was at work and I felt pretty stupid...

He had been a boyhood hero and lived in Maidenhead not too far away from me. Seeing him hang his Lotus in oversteer around the old Woodcote at 160mph+ was truly jaw dropping, it brings a lump to my throat just thinking of it, and his senseless death... I really wanted him to be WDC in 78, finally he seemed to have a chance...

He had a beautiful girlfriend whom he eventually married in the mid-70s and the even sadder thing is that she never got over his death and commited suicide about 10 years later. She is buried alongside him. They had a daughter, only an infant when he died; I hope she is proud of him and has coped with her loss of both parents.
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Postby Sort » Fri 12 Jan, 2007 8:59 pm

I was only 7 years old when Ronnie died, but i remember my father telling me and seeing it on the tv.
Sweden i think will never have a big racing star as Ronnie was.
He did thing with the cars that you normaly dont see.
I have searched the internet for info on Ronnie.
I found one site where it was an interview with
Mario Andretti.

Most Painful Moment: "When my best friend and teammate Ronnie Peterson was killed on the same day I won the World Championship. It was so ironic. So unfortunate in every way. Obviously it could have been the happiest moment of my life. Turned out to be one of the saddest. Tough to celebrate under those circumstances."

He is missed by a lot of racing fans all over the world.
I bet that he would have been champion for not one year but more if not Ricardo Patrese had messed it all up.
I still hold him as the reason Ronnie died.
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Postby yeoldetifosi » Fri 12 Jan, 2007 9:05 pm

Sort wrote:I bet that he would have been champion for not one year but more if not Ricardo Patrese had messed it all up. I still hold him as the reason Ronnie died.

I have to be honest I've always felt it to be a little unfair the way Patrese has been 'branded' the killer. James Hunt used to return to the theme from time to time which was kind of ironic as he was also present at the scene so to speak.
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."
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Postby Sort » Fri 12 Jan, 2007 9:11 pm

Nicknamed Super Swede, Ronnie Peterson rose from karts to F3 to become European F2 Champion in 1972, and came closest to winning the F1 World Championship in 1973 and 1978. By common consent the fastest driver in Formula 1 in that era, Ronnie Peterson was, paradoxically, a quiet, shy person and an all-round nice guy. Behind the wheel of a car though, he came alive, deferring to no one in his mission to be the quickest. His fans loved him for it, and everyone admired him, from his F1 peers to team owners and mechanics, many of whom testify to this effect in the following chapters. For that reason, he remains an icon of speed, his prowess recalled whenever an ace from the past is required as a benchmark. As Johnny Tipler's book reveals, Ronnie invariably strove to wring the ultimate performance out of anything he drove. And that, ironically, was probably what cost him the F1 World Championship. Not content with merely winning, he sought to annihilate the opposition and, in the process, subjected cars and tires to stresses greater than they had been designed to accept. If they didn't break, he usually won, but not often enough to gain the title.
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Postby Sort » Fri 12 Jan, 2007 9:13 pm

yeoldetifosi wrote:
Sort wrote:I bet that he would have been champion for not one year but more if not Ricardo Patrese had messed it all up. I still hold him as the reason Ronnie died.

I have to be honest I've always felt it to be a little unfair the way Patrese has been 'branded' the killer. James Hunt used to return to the theme from time to time which was kind of ironic as he was also present at the scene so to speak.


Yes he was in the scene to but it was Patrese that started the accident.
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Postby Sort » Fri 12 Jan, 2007 10:00 pm

This is from Tthe official Ronnie Peterson website!

Local boy Riccardo Patrese, driving his first season in Formula 1, tries to pass as many as possible directly in the start. Driving in very high speed outside the white lines Patrese comes on the liong straight. When he is alongside James Hunt Patrese realizes that he has to get back onto the track again if he is to make it through the needles eye. He throws his Arrows in behind jody Scheckter, but immediately in front of Jamed Hunt. Hunt has no room. Some say that Patrese touched Hunts right front wheel, but whatever the reason, Hunts McLaren is thrown out to the left and towards Ronnie. Regardless if Patrese touched Hunt or not, is is certain that the accident never would have happened if Patrese hadn't been in the race. Competely irresponsible driving without any regard for the rest of the field. Later investigations showed that Patrese held almost 200 km/h and James Hunt 211 km/h when his left front wheel hits Ronnies right rear wheel. The black Lotus heads for the right barrier. It is also visible how Hunts McLaren is thrown into the air. In a fraction of a second a burst of flames come from the Lotus. Immediately thereafter it hits the barrier.

Ronnies first manager Sveneric Eriksson:

"When Ronnie died, Sweden stopped. All was quiet. In many workplaces noting was done during the day, people only discussed how Ronnie could die that way he did. In schools the children cried. Their great idol was gone. Some schools had to close, and the children were sent home."
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Postby Sort » Fri 12 Jan, 2007 10:39 pm

This is the same poster i had on the wall of Ronnie.....

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Postby plutoman » Sat 27 Jan, 2007 2:16 pm

First race I watched on the telly was South Africa 1978; Ronnie took Depailler on the last lap to win. Even though I'd missed his glory years, he became my first racing hero. Since then there have been only three others that have embodied the same spirit - Gilles Villeneuve, Keke Rosberg and Jean Alesi. Too many egos around nowadays.
"I ain't heard that much worth listening to. Just a lot of guys laying down a lot of rules and regulations."
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