Eddie Cheever raced in Formula One from 1978 to 1989, driving for nine different teams. He started 132 races, achieved nine podium finishes, and scored a total of 70 championship points.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Eddie Cheever spent his early years in Rome, where his father took him to a sports car race in Monza at the age of eight, sparking his interest in motorsports. Cheever began racing go-karts and won the Italian and European Karting Championships at age 15. He worked his way up through the levels of European Formula racing, competing with fellow American Danny Sullivan in Formula Three in 1975 and winning against Gunnar Nilsson and Rupert Keegan at the end of 1975. Cheever then joined Ron Dennis’ Project Four team in Formula Two in 1976-1978, finishing as the runner-up to René Arnoux in the 1977 championship.
Cheever entered the sport in 1978 and drove for several teams, including Osella, Tyrrell, Ligier, Renault, and Alfa Romeo. Cheever’s most successful season was in 1983 when he drove for Renault and earned four podiums and 22 championship points, though he was replaced after the team lost both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles late in the season. Cheever had two unsuccessful seasons with Alfa Romeo as a teammate to Italian Riccardo Patrese before the team pulled out of F1 at the end of 1985, leaving Cheever without an F1 drive. In 1986, Cheever raced in only one F1 Grand Prix as a replacement for the injured Patrick Tambay for the American Haas Lola team. Cheever was signed by the Arrows team in 1987, where he drove for two seasons, and his most notable result was securing third place at the 1988 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
From 1986 to 1988, while he was still in F1, Cheever won ten sports car races for Jaguar. After his F1 career he moved to the US in 1990 to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in the CART series. Cheever finished eighth in his first attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in 1990 and was named the race’s Rookie of the Year and CART’s Rookie of the Year.
Cheever moved to the Indy Racing League (IRL) in 1996 and set the fastest race lap to date at the Indianapolis 500. He then set up his own team and won the 82nd Indianapolis 500 in 1998, becoming the first owner/driver to win the race since 1977.
Cheever’s IRL team ran cars until July 2006, and he provided television commentary for the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 from 2008 to 2018.
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Eddie Cheever: F1 Career statistics
|Starts||132 (143 entries)|
|active years||1978, 1980-1989|
|teams||Theodore, Hesketh, Osella, Tyrrell, Ligier, Renault, Alfa Romeo, Haas Lola, Arrows|
 image credit Hans van Dijk for Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons  Martin Lee from London, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons