Former F1 driver Reine Wisell is 70 years old today.
Wisell’s arrive on the F1 stage was similarly times to that of fellow Swede Ronnie Peterson, and while Ronnie would manage to carve out a lengthy and successful F1 career until his tragic death in 1978, Wisell’s was comparatively briefer and less successful.
Coincidentally, it was a death of another Lotus driver, Jochen Rindt (who would later be posthumously awarded the World Championship) in 1970 that propelled Wisell from Formula 2 into Formula 1, where Colin Chapman hired the long-haired driver as team-mate to its other new signing, Emerson Fittipaldi.
Not only did Wisell create history for himself in scoring points on debut, he actually managed a podium finish, picking up third at Watkins Glen, which was a race that Fittipaldi actually won. While overshadowed by the Brazilian’s maiden F1 victory, his efforts were still acknowledged and he was retained for the 1971 season.
Despite a pair of fourth-placed finishes to his credit, Fittipaldi proved the better driver in 1971, and Wisell left at season’s end to join BRM for 1972, and he rejoined Lotus for the final races of that season as well.
However, his star had quickly faded, and he only did a few guest outings in 1973 and 1974 before moving on to GT and touring car racing in 1975.