30/9/1941 - 20/3/2022
Reine Wisell was a Formula One driver from Sweden. He participated in 23 grands prix, debuting on October 4, 1970. He achieved 1 podium, and scored a total of 13 championship points. Reine Wisell died this year
A contemporary and rival of Ronnie Peterson in Scandinavian Formula 3, Wisell did not quite have the talent to make a top-line career, despite a most promising start in 1970 when, thrust into the Lotus team at Watkins Glen, he took the 72C into third place.
His career had begun as far back as 1962 with an unreliable Mini Cooper and he then switched to an Anglia, which was similarly troublesome, but Reine plugged away, returning to a Mini in 1965 to take the runner-up position in the Swedish Group 5 championship. Early in 1966 he swapped his saloon for a Cooper F3 car and soon began to show a great deal of flair. By the end of that season he had done well enough to progress to a Brabham bought from his experienced rival Picko Troberg, and he was the man to watch in 1967, comfortably taking the Swedish F3 title, but more importantly making an impression in his occasional appearances in European events. It was now time to spread his wings and compete outside Scandinavia on a regular basis. He travelled down to Bologna with Ronnie Peterson and the two Swedes each ordered themselves a new F3 Tecno for the 1968 season. Reine gained valuable experience racing abroad that year and scored 11 wins in total, while his younger rival concentrated on racing at home and took the Swedish crown.
In 1969 Wisell took up an offer to race F3 and GT cars for Chevron, but generally endured a disappointing time. Feeling that he now needed to find a more challenging arena, Reine was persuaded to join Jo Bonnier's sports car team in 1970, and also took over the Sid Taylor F5000 McLaren with great success, winning three of the final four rounds towards the end of the year. Of course, by then his big chance had arrived, his performance and that of Emerson Fittipaldi ensuring their places in the Lotus team for 1971. It was to be a hectic year for the Swede, who did a full Formula 2 programme highlighted by a splendid win in the Pau GP. His performances in Formula 1 were solid but not inspired, and Chapman decided to promote his then current hot-shot Dave Walker into the team for 1972.
Wisell moved to BRM who were running a multi-car squad which spread the available resources too thinly. Nothing worthwhile was achieved and Reine even made a brief return to the Lotus fold in place of the luckless Walker for the Canadian GP. Wisell, no longer considered to have sufficient Grand Prix potential, drifted into other forms of the sport. His superb win in the F2 Eifelrennen was a timely reminder of the talent that still lurked, but his subsequent occasional Grand Prix appearances brought no joy.
After sharing a Gulf/John Wyer GR7 with Vern Schuppan in 1974, but gaining little success, Wisell raced a Porsche Carrera with distinction in 1975 before drifting out of the sport.
(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000