Cold Comforts - F1 Rookies and Their Nations.


Valued Member
The rookies found on the F1 grid this year will be taking on the challenge of their first F1 season in different ways. Ericsson will likely have the difficulty of a poor Caterham but the advantage of a mid-road yardstick in Kobayashi to fight, Magnussen will have a World Champion team-mate but a promising car, while Kvyat is the latest on the Toro Rosso conveyor belt that seldom leads to the promised land.

Their appearances mark the returns of their northern European nations to the F1 stage after varying absences, as the rest of northern Europe meets the challenge of neighbours' Finland's F1 success.

Sweden have, of course, been the most successful of the three, but Ericsson is the first Swedish driver to enter F1 for over 20 years. The first Swedish F1 start was Jo Bonnier's start at Monza in 1956, and his was to be a long career - he was the third man to reach 100 Grands Prix (after Jack Brabham and Graham Hill) - and he was to take a win at Zandvoort in his big day. He died at Le Mans in 1972.

The second Swede in F1, Ronnie Peterson, would be more successful still, winning 10 Grands Prix in F1 and finishing second in the championship twice. This, in the era of a Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp, saw Sweden as the pre-eminent Scandanavian power. He was joined by Gunnar Nilsson, who won at Zolder in 1977 and had a pretty promising career ahead of him; alas like Bonnier before them Nilsson and Peterson were to die before their times, both in 1978, Nilsson to cancer, Peterson to complications following a crash at Monza.

With tips of the hat to the point-scorers Wissel and Borgudd, and the one time heroes Palm, Roos and Andersson, Sweden in the last few years relied on Stefan Johansson to take their points - he scored 12 podiums without taking that win as a driver for three of the great F1 teams - McLaren, Ferrari and (checks notes) Onyx. OK, 2 of the great F1 teams. He retired in 1991 to leave the grid without Swedes until now...

By this point, Denmark had racked up two Grand Prix starts from Tom Belsø in 1974. Belsø took one eighth place finish for Iso-Marlboro, the clunky sponsors name for Frank Williams Racing Cars. That was it until Jan Magnussen, like his son later, made his debut for McLaren. His was at Aida while Mika Hakkinen recovered from appendicitis. A top ten finish wasn't bad, considering Blundell was 9th.

His next chance came at Stewart. A troubled first season saw him score nothing after finishing on few occasions, while Barrichello took the team's points at Monaco, in 2nd. Magnussen celebrated his first points at Montreal in 1998 with a sixth placed finish; the team celebrated by sacking him and replacing him with Jos Verstappen, which is more than a tad harsh. He'd not looked good against Barrichello, in fairness.

The only other Dane to start in F1 is Nicolas Kiesa who replaced Jaguar's Pizzonia replacement and hero of the could-have-beens Justin Wilson at his original seat at Minardi. After 5 attempts at qualifying in which he committed the cardinal sin of not beating Verstappen, his career in F1 was justly over.

The younger Magnussen has a small target to beat - Denmark's 1 point record could be over very quickly!

Russia's involvement, of course, starts and stops with Renault and Caterham (but somehow never Lotus) driver Vitaly Petrov in 2010-12. He scored his only podium at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne, having spent 2010 being made to look very poor indeed by Robert Kubica. He was then made to look quite poor by Nick Heidfeld and did not really sufficiently make headway against Bruno Senna. Hopefully, Seb Vettel still raises a glass to him after all those laps ahead of Alonso at Abu Dhabi.

If Kvyat makes Red Bull, he will probably claim eminence over Petrov.

So, the focus is on these guys; Magnussen and Kvyat laying down their own tracks over a lack of history, Ericsson relighting a legacy of a bygone age. Finland has had all the north of Europe's champions so far; but wasn't Keke Rosberg born in Stockholm?
How long has it been since there was a Kiwi in F1? When you think that there were 3 in F1 at the same time, the lack thereof since that time seems inexplicable.
Mitch Evans might end that streak siffert_fan if all goes well for him. Look out for him in GP2 this year he should be amongst the title contenders.

Still no Italians back on the F1 grid yet which is a real bummer for such an F1 loving country.
I dunno. They'd love to see an Italian in a Ferrari to the point where they are starting to pretend Ferrari youth driver Marcelleo is Italian (he's Swiss) just like they use to pretend Alesi was. Hey and Bianchi too!

You stole my thread idea by the way *shakes fist* but you wrote it better.

K-Mag will take all the rookie headlines thus year but watch for Kyvat coming through for second half of the season. If its like GP3 last year it takes him a couple of races to get on top of things and then he starts getting better.

Watched some of the GP3 races back from last year recently and he really was quietly brilliant. Starting to think I should have picked him over JEV in the team mates game.
Top Bottom