Ronnie Peterson

Ronnie Peterson

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freedman

Original Poster:

4,433 posts

152 months

Sunday 9th September 2007
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Date wise a day early but as the race is today it seems appropriate,

29 years ago (Sept 10th 1978) Ronnie Petertson was involved in an accident at the start of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza which claimed his life (he actually died on 11th Sept from complications after an operation to his broken legs).
Known as Superswede, Ronnie was the first reason I started to follow moyor racing and having seen him get pole position at Silverstone in 1973 I was hooked (he finished 2nd behind Peter Revson in the race).
I could ramble on at length but I think it easier just to say he was my first real 'hero'(in the sporting world), as well as being a fantastically quick driver he was a man of honour and class, I still remember the news of his death being announced and how devastated I was. Still missed today Ronnie. A brief resume follows:-


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. 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, Though he did win the Italian GP at Monza . 1977 brought an offer to drive the 6-wheel Tyrrell. This very complex car was just the opposite of what Peterson needed. Not being the greatest test driver he was lost in the Tyrrell. 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: "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.

frown

velocemitch

2,677 posts

165 months

Sunday 9th September 2007
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I remember that season too, Ronnie nailed to his 'leaders' wing for race after race. Really sad the way he died....

freedman

Original Poster:

4,433 posts

152 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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30 years ago frown

Cara Van Man

29,977 posts

196 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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gosh, 30 years?

I remember, as a kid, seeing the pile up and the fire, thinking "Wow, that looks bad"........

Sitting in a JPS Lotus car now holds a special 'something' for me.


Fivepercent

382 posts

132 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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I remember watching him at Monaco, repeatedly getting it out of shape between the armaco barriers. He really could get on top of a car and throw it down the road.

Eric Mc

107,447 posts

210 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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Time flies.

I remember it well. A sad day which affected many of the drivers on the grid very deeply.

pablo

14,567 posts

218 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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my father has an awesome photo of Ronnie in a 72 at Oulton Park at one of the Gold Cup meetings, its an amazing photo, i'll try to get it scanne din or something...

RW-W113

365 posts

140 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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An awesome driver one of the most skilled of his era. My best recollection was of him doing demonstration runs at Mallory Park in the JPS. You were a lot closer to the action and noise than at most of the circuits where F1 was running.

crossle

1,509 posts

196 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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He was great fun to watch. Redefined "sideways"!

FourWheelDrift

77,834 posts

229 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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Oddly coincidental Ricardo Patrese is in the motorsports news today after testing a 2007 Honda F1, Ricardo is the man wrongly blamed by James Hunt as the person who caused Ronnie's accident.

Cara Van Man

29,977 posts

196 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
quotequote all
FourWheelDrift said:
Oddly coincidental Ricardo Patrese is in the motorsports news today after testing a 2007 Honda F1, Ricardo is the man wrongly blamed by James Hunt as the person who caused Ronnie's accident.
i seem to remember it was Hunt who caused it.

But I stand to be corrected.

entropy

3,778 posts

148 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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FourWheelDrift said:
Oddly coincidental Ricardo Patrese is in the motorsports news today after testing a 2007 Honda F1, Ricardo is the man wrongly blamed by James Hunt as the person who caused Ronnie's accident.
Most people seem to enjoy pointing fingers at James Allen saying how biased he is towards M Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton in his commentary but nothing is as worse as what James Hunt did whenever Patrese was on the TV screens when he made it every opportunity to diss the poor Italian in the early 1980s.

BigBen

9,817 posts

175 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
quotequote all
entropy said:
FourWheelDrift said:
Oddly coincidental Ricardo Patrese is in the motorsports news today after testing a 2007 Honda F1, Ricardo is the man wrongly blamed by James Hunt as the person who caused Ronnie's accident.
Most people seem to enjoy pointing fingers at James Allen saying how biased he is towards M Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton in his commentary but nothing is as worse as what James Hunt did whenever Patrese was on the TV screens when he made it every opportunity to diss the poor Italian in the early 1980s.
Not just in the 1980s, right until the end of Patrese's career (or Hunt's death can't recall which came first)

FourWheelDrift

77,834 posts

229 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
quotequote all
From memory, Peterson was on the right, Hunt on the left and Patrese in the middle but slightly behind both, Hunt pulled across to the right clipped the front of Patrese's Arrows and caused Hunt to turn more violently right into Peterson sending him towards the barrier.

Eric Mc

107,447 posts

210 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
quotequote all
Although Hunt was wrong to take the position he did with Patrese, I think his situation was far more forgiveable than that of Allen. Hunt was involved in the accident and, as we all know, when you are in the middle of an accident your view as to how things happened won't be very clear. In addition, he helped pull poor Ronnie out of the wreckage so was face to face with his injuries. The accident affected him very badly and was probably instrumental in him retiring early in the 1979 season. I think he was also in a state of denial in respect of his contribution to the accident and wanted someone else to blame. Patrese, being the new kid on the block in 1978, was picked on - unfairly as it happened.

Allen, on the other hand, is a mere journalist/commentator who has just taken a position out of enthusiasm and wanting to appear "cool".

entropy

3,778 posts

148 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
quotequote all
BigBen said:
entropy said:
FourWheelDrift said:
Oddly coincidental Ricardo Patrese is in the motorsports news today after testing a 2007 Honda F1, Ricardo is the man wrongly blamed by James Hunt as the person who caused Ronnie's accident.
Most people seem to enjoy pointing fingers at James Allen saying how biased he is towards M Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton in his commentary but nothing is as worse as what James Hunt did whenever Patrese was on the TV screens when he made it every opportunity to diss the poor Italian in the early 1980s.
Not just in the 1980s, right until the end of Patrese's career (or Hunt's death can't recall which came first)
I remember reading somewhere Hunt secretly forgiven Patrese and/or admitted he was in the wrong.

crossle

1,509 posts

196 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
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I seem to recall that Hunt led a campaign to ostracise Patrese, which led to Ricardo being banned from a Grand Prix or two?

Whatever the circumstances, it was a terrible accident and a great shock to learn that Ronnie had died as a result of not too serious an injury.

nc107

347 posts

153 months

Wednesday 10th September 2008
quotequote all
RW-W113 said:
An awesome driver one of the most skilled of his era. My best recollection was of him doing demonstration runs at Mallory Park in the JPS. You were a lot closer to the action and noise than at most of the circuits where F1 was running.
I was there then as well, its where I first got his autograph (I think I was 8 at the time). They say you only have one hero when you are young and he was mine - I first saw him at mallory in 1971 (?) in F2 when his team mate was Niki Lauda. I also remember him giving the Porsche 935s a run for their money in the works BMW at Silverstone in '77(?) amongst other things. Memory's a bit rusty but they come flooding back smile

freedman

Original Poster:

4,433 posts

152 months

Thursday 10th September 2009
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31 years ago cry

rdjohn

3,637 posts

140 months

Thursday 10th September 2009
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nc107 said:
I also remember him giving the Porsche 935s a run for their money in the works BMW at Silverstone in '77(?) amongst other things.)
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3024/2734290091_992cd65414.jpg?v=0

Link to the car at Le Mans Classic last year. Whenever people talk about "drifting" now, my memory tends to go back to Ronnie's driving style. He was terrific!!