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Keke and his teammates

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#1 William Hunt

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 13:54

I've been reading a lot about the '80s era lately. An interesting person was Keijo Rosberg. He won the world title in '82 with only one win but was especially known for his spectacular driving style.

However I've read that Keke was not an easy person to get along with. Aparently Jacques Laffite lived completely in his shadow during his two year spell at Williams. Rosberg demanded and got a protected status and always got better equipment, Jacques was like the 5th wheel on a car but since he is a real gentleman he never complained that much. I also read that Keke (for some reason he didn't want people to use his real name Keijo) nicknamed Jacques Laffite 'E.T.'.

After Jacques' two year deal with Williams ended the Frenchman was more than happy to go back to 'les blues'. In the meantime Peter Warr had told Nigel Mansell that he wasn't welcome anymore at Lotus (since Champman died Nigel's place was in danger) and that they had signed the young Senna. Frank Williams decided to give his countryman Mansell a chance, Nigel earned his spot mainly thanks to his fighting spirit in races like Dallas '84.

But as soon as Rosberg heard that Mansell was signed he tried to burn his Williams contract. Keke was furious and dind't want Mansell as his teammate. Keke contacted Renault and McLaren and although Renault was interested Keke couldn't leave since his Williams deal was like cement and Frank refused to release his topdriver. But at the end of '85 Keke left for McLaren, he didn't want to drive with Mansell in the same team.

In '86 Keke Rosberg was the second highest paid driver in F1. McLaren offered Keke a deal that for those days was astronomic : 3.3 million dollars ! Keke bought a Lear Jet with his salary, aparently he liked to spent his fortune on luxury things like an aeroplane. In '86 only Nelson Piquet was paid a higher salary.

ut '86 would be Keke's final F1 year, he did manage to lead the last GP race of his life, in Adelaïde. Keke would afterwards still make a come-back with Peugeot in sportscar and nowadays he manages a team and some drivers, including his own son.

But what I am wondering is. Why did Keijo Rosberg not want Nigel Mansell as his teammate ? Did the two have words before ? Did they have a crash before or did they simply not like each other ? I can't imagine that Keke was scared of Nigel since Keke was considered the better driver of the two in '84 and Mansell was mostly outpaced by de Angelis at Lotus.


#2 Zawed

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 00:26

I've read that once Rosberg got to know Mansell, he found that his opinion of Mansell (which was supposedly largely based on what other people had told him about Mansell, primarily de Angelis I believe) was in fact incorrect and subsequently Keke got on quite well with him.

#3 William Hunt

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 00:47

Does this mean that de Angelis didn'get along well with Mansell ?

I've read in a magazine that Rosberg was furious that Mansell went to Williams and that one of the main reasons that Keke moved to McLaren was (apart from the money) Mansell's presence.

I've also read in the same magazine that Mansell was kicked out of Lotus by Peter Warr, who was unsatisfied about Mansell's performances in '84. They also mentioned that Mansell had always been protected by Chapman during his time at Lotus.

#4 Gary Davies

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 02:09

Never thought I'd find myself quoting from Nige's excruciating biography ... In it, he, too, asserts that Rosberg "had heard that I was trouble, a disruptive influence within a team..."

Mansell untimately came to the conclusion that Rosberg's position was largely as a result of speaking to Warr, and to a lesser extent was formed through speaking "... to Elio, one of his closest friends in racing, at a time when Elio and I were at loggerheads."

In the same book, Mansell also quotes Rosberg thus: "It is true that I went to Frank Williams when I heard that Nigel was joining the team, and said that I would leave if he came. Frank held me to my contract and so I stayed. The reports I had heard about him [Nigel] were very negative and at the time we had a nice balance in the team with Jacques Lafitte and I saw no need to change a good team. Nigel worked hard to prove me wrong and he succeeded. It took about three months for me to realise that I had been wrong about him and from then on we worked very well together."

#5 arcsine

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 06:53

When in 1985 did Rosberg sign for McLaren? Was it before he accepted that his initial impressions of Mansell had been wrong?

What sort of insight does Keke give about Mansell et al in his autobiography? (I've seen his book listed on ebay but there don't seem to be many copies around.)

#6 William Hunt

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 11:48

Originally posted by Vanwall
"... we had a nice balance in the team with Jacques Lafitte and I saw no need to change a good team. ..."[/i]

In '83 & '84 it was a balance completely in favour of Keke Rosberg at Williams. Laffite was treated pretty bad by Williams, he was considered the 5the wheel of a car, a 2nd driver like Schumacher's teammates. Rosberg always got the best material. Laffite was very unhappy about this situation and already wanted to return to Ligier in '84 but since he had a two year deal he had to sit it out until '85. For some reason Rosberg had nicked Jacques 'E.T.' at the time, I think he thought the Frenchman was weird. Laffite was always one of my favourite drivers and drove very strong for Ligier before he came to Williams, I never understood why Williams didn't give him equal status when he joined them, after all : Laffite had won more races than Rosberg and he started his carreer in the '70s with Williams so was not a complete stranger to the team. I don't think the Williams team in '83-'84 was well balanced at all.

#7 David Hyland

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 00:41

I seem to remember that Rosberg took exception to Mansell's driving style/tactics at one of the 1984 GPs - Dallas maybe?


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Posted 29 March 2004 - 10:16

Originally posted by David Hyland
I seem to remember that Rosberg took exception to Mansell's driving style/tactics at one of the 1984 GPs - Dallas maybe?

Indeed it was Dallas 1984, the supposed F1 track where the tarmac literally broke up. Mansell was blatantly blocking and Keke wasn't impress. When Keke got in front he balked Mansell and Mansell had to almost literally stop his car to avoid an accident into one of the chicanes, Keke shaking his fist furiously at Nigel as if to say "do not try and pass me here!"