Joakim Bonnier

Joakim Bonnier

Former F1 driver
Name = Jo Bonnier

Nationality = flagicon|Sweden Swedish
Years = F1|1956 - F1|1971
Team(s) = Maserati, Scuderia Centro Sud, Joakim Bonnier Racing Team, BRM, Porsche, Rob Walker Racing Team, Lotus, Brabham, Anglo-Suisse Racing/Ecurie Bonnier and Honda
Races = 108 (104 starts)
Championships = 0
Wins = 1
Podiums = 1
Points = 39
Poles = 1
Fastest laps = 0
First race = 1956 Italian Grand Prix
First win = 1959 Dutch Grand Prix
Last win = 1959 Dutch Grand Prix
Last race = 1971 United States Grand Prix

Joakim "Jo" Bonnier (January 31 1930 - June 11 1972) was a Swedish sportscar racing and Formula One driver who raced for various teams.


Early life

Jo Bonnier was born in Djurgården, Stockholm, to the wealthy Bonnier family. He spoke six languages. His parents hoped that he would become a doctor. His father, Gert, was a professor of geneticsat the University of Stockholm. Many members of his large family were in the publishing business, and it was his aspiration to join them for a while. He attended Oxford University for a year, studying languages. He then went to Paris, France planning to learn about publishing.

First competition

Bonnier began competitive racing in Sweden at 17, on an old Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He returned home to Sweden in 1951 after his Paris trip. He took part in several rallies as the proud owner of a Simca."Bonnier Seeks Grand Prix Win", Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1962, Page B2.]

Formula 1 driver

He entered Formula 1 in F1|1956 with a Maserati. Bonnier's racing career almost ended in September 1958 at a race at Imola, near Modena. He debuted a 1,500 Maserati and moved up through the field following a bad start. Bonnier passed Luigi Musso and was gaining on leader Eugenio Castellotti at around two seconds per lap. Bonnier lost control when another car pulled directly into him while negotiating a fast corner. His Maserati struck a large rock at the edge of the road and catapulted. The other driver went underneath him as he turned over and over in the air. While he was upside down the crash hat of his competitor made contact with his. Bonnier's Maserati landed on its side before skidding 75 feet and headed into a ditch. He came to a stop there against a pole. Bonnier was thrown out. He suffered a concussion, several cracked ribs, and a broken vertebra. Nothing remained of hiscar aside from a pile of smoking junk.

His greatest achievement in F1 was taking victory for BRM in the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, when the notoriously unreliable car worked well for once (Dan Gurney and Hans Herrmann had bad crashes after brake failures). He also won the 1960 German Grand Prix with a Porsche 718, a race held for Formula 2 in preparation for the rule change of 1961. Bonnier was one of the driving forces behind the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.

Despite his win for BRM, Bonnier did not drive for many works teams throughout his career, with only one-offs as a replacement driver for Lotus, Brabham and Honda. After his debut in a works Maserati, he then drove for his own "Joakim Bonnier Racing Team" and for Mimmo Dei's Scuderia Centro Sud in the late 50s, before finding a spot in the BRM and Porsche teams.

After Porsche quit Grand Prix racing at the end of the 1962 season, Bonnier switched to Rob Walker Racing Team, the only privateer that had scored wins in World Championship events, where he drove Coopers and Brabhams, scoring few points.

In 1966 he reformed his own team as Anglo-Suisse Racing Team (later to be renamed Ecurie Bonnier), but his interest in F1 gradually diminished. His last full season was 1968, in which he traded his old Cooper T86 for an also old McLaren. He raced occasionally in F1 until 1971.Alongside F1, Bonnier also took part in many sports car races. He won the 1960 Targa Florio, co-driving a works Porsche 718 with Hans Herrmann, and in 1962 took a Ferrari 250 TRI entered by Count Giovanni Volpi to top honors in the 12 Hours of Sebring, sharing the car with Lucien Bianchi. In 1963 he was once again winner at the Targa Florio, with Carlo Mario Abate in another works Porsche 718.

ports car racer

1964 was his best year in sports car racing, where he co-drove a Ferrari P entered by "Maranello Concessionaires" with Graham Hill, taking a 330P to second place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and to a win at Montlhery, while a 12 hour race in Reims also gave him a first place in a 250LM.

He then won the 1000km Nürburgring in a Chaparral in 1966 (with Phil Hill), his last win in a major sports car event, but still managed to snatch victories in the minor 1000 km of Barcelona at Montjuïc in 1971 (with Ronnie Peterson), and the 4 Hours of Le Mans in 1972 (with Hughes de Fierlandt). By then, he had taken to managing his team, entering several cars in World Sportscar Championship events, and taking a backseat to driving. Nevertheless he was involved in an accident in Le Mans in 1972 when his Lola-Cosworth T280 collided with a Ferrari Daytona driven by a Swiss amateur driver Florian Vetsch. His car was catapulted into the trees and he was killed.

Complete Formula One World Championship results

() (Races in bold indicate pole position)


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