Perhaps surprisingly, only ten Swedes have ever driven in Grands Prix. Though, eleven Swedish drivers have entered. Erik Lundgren was the first-ever driver from Sweden to enter a Formula One race, in the 1951 German Grand Prix, but he later withdrew. Here is a look at the ten drivers who actually participated in Grand Prix tournaments, some of whom had more success than others.
In 1956, Jo Bonnier became the first Swedish racer to drive in a Grand Prix. He made his debut at the Italian Grand Prix, which resulted in retirement. Bonnier sporadically raced for fifteen more Formula One seasons, and his greatest accomplishment was winning the Dutch Grand Prix with BRM in 1959.
Reine Wisell started his career very promisingly when he became the Swedish F3 champion in 1967 and scored a podium finish in his debut race with Lotus at the 1970 United States Grand Prix. Unfortunately, his form dropped soon after and he eventually retired from racing in 1974. Anyone who bet on Wisell at the time would have been sorely disappointed. Thankfully, betting strategies and knowledge of form are much easier to obtain these days. You can now find out the latest betting odds and drivers’ forms instantly by using an online sportsbook.
Without a doubt, Sweden’s most successful Formula One driver was Ronnie Peterson. Over a career spanning nine seasons, he won ten Grands Prix. He began his Formula One career, after a successful kart racing and F3 career, with the March factory team in 1969. During his 1971 season with March, Peterson took six podium positions. Learn more about Ronnie Peterson.
Despite winning the United States Formula Super Vee tournament in 1973 and performing well in F2 competitions in Europe and Canada, Bertil Roos had only one shot at a Formula One Grand Prix, and he blew it. The only race he competed in was the Swedish Grand Prix of 1974. He retired after just two laps due to transmission failure.
Torsten Palm started out doing well in F3. In 1969, he came second to Ronnie Peterson in the Swedish Championship, and then went on to win the tournament in both 1970 and 1971. But as for Formula One, Palm only entered two Grands Prix, both in 1975. He failed to qualify for Monaco and he finished 10th in the Swedish Grand Prix, despite running out of fuel.
Although Conny Andersson entered five Grands Prix, he only qualified for the 1976 Dutch Grand Prix. He competed with Surtees. However, Andersson retired after nine laps.
Gunnar Nilsson’s short career, of only two seasons, was very up and down, but he did qualify for every Grand Prix tournament he entered. Hid greatest moment came in 1977 when he won the Belgian Grand Prix.
Stefan Johansson also had an up and down career. He failed to qualify for his first two Formula One races in 1980 and did not return until 1983. During that season, Johansson drove six of his seven Grands Prix for Spirit. He went on to have topsy-turvy seasons with Ferrari and McLaren.
Slim Borgudd entered fifteen Grands Prix with ATS and Tyrell, but he failed to pre-qualify five times. He scored his only point during the 1981 British Grand Prix. After only three races with Tyrell, Borgudd was dumped.
Marcus Ericcson made his debut in Formula One in 2014 with Caterham F1, but he struggled throughout the season. He had a little more success when he signed with Sauber in 2015, but his best championship result in his two seasons with Sauber was only 17th place with nine points, in 2018.