Keijo Erik "Keke" Rosberg (born December 6, 1948) was a popular Formula One driver in the early 1980s and, despite his birthplace Stockholm, Sweden, was the first regular driver from Finland in the series.
Keke had a relatively late start to his F1 career, debuting at the age of 29 after stints in the Toyota Atlantic series, Formula Vee, and a successful stint in Formula 2, then the "feeder" to F1. He debuted with the underpowered Theodore team in 1978 and won a non-championship race at Brands Hatch that season in just his second race with the team, emerging victorious after many of the big names had been caught out by a tremendous downpour. Rosberg wasn't able to qualify for a race afterwards, and was signed by another uncompetitive team, ATS for 3 races after the Theodore team scrapped the unreliable car design. He returned with Theodore after they borrowed chassis from the Wolf formula 1 team, but these failed to work with the team, and returned to ATS to end the season.
He emerged with the Wolf team midway through 1979, but the team was having problems staying solvent, and Keke had problems in finishing races. Rosberg had to change teams again when they left F1, and signed with Emerson Fittipaldi's racing team. He had his first two point-scoring results in 1980 but often failed to finish or qualify; 1981 was worse—he failed to score again.
Despite this, Williams had an interest in Keke in 1982, with the retirement of then reigning World Champion Alan Jones leaving a spot open. Given a competitive car, Keke was a "revelation" that year. Rosberg consistently scored points and earned his first victory in the French Grand Prix at Dijon-Prenois late that year. Rosberg's first memorable season came in a year where no driver won more than two races, (though it must be said that the highly successful Ferrari season was damaged by the injuries to Didier Pironi and the tragic fatality of Gilles Villeneuve at Zolder) and consistency won Rosberg the Drivers' Championship, despite using the once ubiquitous Ford/Cosworth normally aspirated V8 against turbo-engined rivals.
Rosberg's post championship years would be hamstrung by both uncompetitive chassis from Williams, and the powerful but unreliable (until 1985) Honda turbo engine. Cruelly, the Honda engine came right just after Rosberg had signed for McLaren in mid-1985. The Williams-Honda team would dominate the next 30 months of grand prix racing - with both Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell benefitting from the work Keke had done to develop the engine in conjunction with Honda. At the time, Rosberg's move to McLaren for 1986 had seemed a master stroke - the team was coming off back to back championships in 1984/85. However, Rosberg found himself in an underpowered McLaren, was soundly beaten by teammate Alain Prost (who, it must be said, was favoured within the team for his smooth style), and retired at the end of 1986. He would later admit that he retired "too soon".
The original "Flying Finn" later spent a long time managing future world champion and fellow Finn Mika Häkkinen, and Jyrki Järvilehto. His son Nico has proved to be a good driver himself and has spent time test-driving for Williams after a string of F3 and F3000 successes. In November of 2005, Nico was confirmed to drive the Williams as one of its race drivers for 2006.