Wednesday, August 9: Forty-nine-year old Jonas Andersson made his first appearance in the UIM F1H2O World Championship way back in 2006 but, like a fine red wine that improves with age, the Swede appears to be getting more competitive as the years go by.
Following a disappointing start to his 2023 campaign in Indonesia, the Team Sweden racer has taken back-to-back Grand Prix victories in China and France and headed into the mid-summer break with a 15-point cushion over his nearest rival in the Drivers’ Championship. Victory at the next round of the series in Sardinia at the end of September could see the Swede in an unassailable position in the five-round championship before the traditional season finale returns to Sharjah in mid-December.
Winner of the world title in 2021, the Frovi driver missed out on a second successive championship by the narrowest of margins in 2022 and is certainly the favourite to secure a second title with two rounds to run. He has already finished fourth, third and second on two occasions in his F1H2O racing career and has 12 career Grand Prix wins and 29 podium finishes from 113 starts since securing his first victory in Saint Petersburg in 2008 on his way to third in that title race.
Way back at the turn of the century, Andersson was a potent force in Scandinavian racing. He finished third in the F2000 Scandinavian Championship and the Timed Trial Trophy and repeated the feat in F2000 in 2002. By that time, he was the man to beat in that discipline and two F2000 World Championship titles followed in 2003 and 2004, followed by the Scandinavian title and the President’s Cup in 2005.
As a member of the Rainbow Team in 2006, Andersson entered the F1H2O series and finished fifth in his first year, the highlights being a first podium in Sharjah, fourth in Portugal and fifth in Abu Dhabi to make up for missing the opening round in Qatar and failing to finish the two races in Como and Chongzhou.
The following season, Andersson teamed up with Marit Strømøy in F1 Team Sweden and then with Philippe Tourre and Uvis Slakteris in 2008. He then rejoined Strømøy in the operation rebranded as Team Azerbaijan for the 2009 and 2010 seasons before returning to the Team Sweden name in 2011 with team-mates Rhys Coles and Tommy Wahlsten. Bimba Sjoholm and Erik Stark joined him in 2012, although the team reverted to Team Ajerbaijan branding the following year with Terri Rinker, Wahlsten and Pal-Virik Nilsen sharing the second boat.
Jesper Forss came on board under the Team Sweden banner for three seasons from 2014 and Stark returned with Erik Edin in 2017, the operation taking on Team Amaravati branding for 2018 with Edin playing a supporting role to Andersson. The Swede finished runner-up to Shaun Torrente in 2019 before the onset of the Covid-19 travel restrictions forced the cancellation of racing in 2020.
Andersson returned focused and determined and teamed up with Kalle Viippo in 2021 to claim a maiden world title. The Finn remained in the team for the 2022 and 2023 campaigns. Team Sweden has now finished second to Team Abu Dhabi for the last three World Championship campaigns and currently holds a three-point cushion over the Sharjah Team with two races to run in 2023.