Jo Bonnier


  • Stockholm, Sweden Place of Birth
  • 31 January 1930 Date of Birth
  • 1956 Italian Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • Ecurie Bonnier Current/Last Team

Born into a privileged family, this Swedish driver first gained renown as an ice-racer in the early 1950s with an Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. His success led to him becoming an Alfa Romeo distributor in 1954. Transitioning to circuit racing in 1955, Bonnier quickly established himself as a frontrunner in Scandinavia. His ambitions expanded in 1956 with notable victories at Aintree, AVUS, Castelfusano, and a class win at the Nurburgring 1000 Km alongside Mackay-Fraser, driving a GT Alfa. By then, he had also begun running Maserati sports cars, later joining the works team in 1957 and achieving a third-place finish in the 1957 Swedish Grand Prix with a SOOTS.

BornKarl Jockum Jonas “Joakim” Bonnier
31 January 1930
Stockholm, Sweden
Died11 June 1972 (aged 42)
Le Mans, France

Though not yet among the elite, Bonnier purchased a Maserati 250F for the 1957-58 F1 seasons, securing modest results, including second places at Syracuse and Caen. His career took a significant turn in late 1958 when he joined BRM, where he clinched his maiden championship Grand Prix victory at the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix, marking Bourne’s first such win. Despite remaining with BRM until the end of 1960, subsequent successes eluded him, although he notably led the 1960 Argentine Grand Prix before mechanical failure intervened.

Beginning a fruitful association with Porsche in 1959, Bonnier capitalised on opportunities in 1960, claiming victories at the 1960 Modena Grand and the rain-soaked non-championship 1960 German Grand Prix in F2. His success continued with a triumph at the Targa Florio in a Porsche RSK alongside Herrmann. Feeling underappreciated at BRM, Bonnier shifted to Dan Gurney‘s team in 1961, interspersing his season with victories in New Zealand before focusing on Porsche commitments. Although he achieved commendable results in non-championship races, including several second and third places, his world championship Grand Prix performances lagged behind Gurney’s dominance, particularly in 1962 with the Porsche 804.

Following Porsche’s F1 withdrawal, Bonnier joined Rob Walker Racing Team in 1963, racing privately entered cars until 1965. Despite occasional flashes of speed, he increasingly devoted himself to leading the newly formed Grand Prix Drivers’ Association. Establishing his own team in 1966, Bonnier continued racing Cooper-Maseratis and McLarens, but with diminishing competitiveness, culminating in a lackluster 1971 season.

Despite waning Grand Prix fortunes, Bonnier relished sports car racing, highlighted by victories such as the Nurburgring 1000 Km in 1966 alongside Phil Hill. His later successes included championships in the European 2-litre category with a Lola in 1970. Racing with undiminished enthusiasm past the age of 40, Bonnier’s final competitive years were marred by a tragic incident at Le Mans in 1972, underscoring his lifelong advocacy for circuit safety.

Jo Bonnier Formula One World Championship career

F1 Career1956–1971
TeamsMaserati, Scuderia Centro Sud, Joakim Bonnier Racing Team, BRM, Porsche, Rob Walker Racing Team, Lotus, Brabham, Anglo-Suisse Racing/Ecurie Bonnier and Honda
Entries109 (104 starts)
Career points39
Pole positions1
Fastest laps0
First entry1956 Italian Grand Prix
First win1959 Dutch Grand Prix
Last win1959 Dutch Grand Prix
Last entry1971 United States Grand Prix

Sources: Wikipedia.com and historicracing.com


Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
British Team Lotus 1951 Swiss Grand Prix Died, F1 Legend
American Eagle 1971 Austrian Grand Prix Died, F1 Legend
British Brabham 1958 Monaco Grand Prix Died, F1 Legend
American McLaren 1959 French Grand Prix Died
Austrian Team Lotus 1964 Austrian Grand Prix Died, F1 Legend
Swiss BRM 1962 Monaco Grand Prix Died


Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Maserati Italian 1950 Historic
BRM British 1951 Historic
Porsche German 1961 Historic
Team Lotus British 1958 Historic
Brabham British 1962 Historic
Honda Racing Japanese 1964 Historic
Ecurie Bonnier Swedish 1957 Historic