Aidan Keranen is an Australian racer in both the RaceDepartment Simulated Career Games. He was a part of both inagural seasons, for both the GP4 Formula 1 career and the RFactor Endurance career. At the 1988 Japanese Grand Prix, he became the first champion of the F1 category.
Aidan Keranen, hailing from Victoria, Australia, got his start in various forum related racing series before moving into the first Simulated season of Formula One. With Finnish heritage and name, Keranen goes to some lengths occasionally to be Finnish. Including accents and mannerisms, Keranen could be forgiven sometimes, though often he can be quite blunt and up front, a mixture of both Australian and Finnish heritage.
Keranen started the season strongly, with pole in Brazil, although he would ultimately DNF from there. This though was backed up by another front row start in Imola, to which Keranen took control after the pit stops to score his first win and the first for Tyrrell. Another pole and non points finish in Monaco left Keranen with 9 points from the first 3 races.
In Mexico, a poor qualifying meant Keranen needed to make up positions, and was going about this when he retired in a race of attrition. In Canada, Bailey was moved to reserve driver as new signing Tobi Kederer made his debut. Keranen was again on the front row, and led for a portion of the race as the Benettons collided, but could only muster second place, lifting the Australian to second in the standings.
A DNF in Detroit was followed by a Tyrrell 1-2 in France with Keranen backing up Kederer. A DNF in the UK was next, before a late pit stop robbed Keranen of a podium in Germany.
A string of 3 DNF's in Hungary, Belgium and Italy, all of which from leading the race, saw Keranen with an uphill, but not entirely impossible effort to capture the title. A lucky win in Portugal as rival Laad retired late on was the perfect start to this period of the championship.
In Spain, Keranen took advantage of the light rain and scored a second victory in succession, and gave him complete control on the title race. At the next race in Suzuka, with only good friend Omer Said who could beat him, Keranen started from pole with Said in 22nd. Said never got to the points, while Keranen took the win and the championship with his third straight win.
At the season ending Australian Grand Prix, Keranen was looking to end on a high, and after holding off a flying Laad late in the race, Keranen scored a win at home and a record 4th straight win to see out the 1988 season and bid farewell to Tyrrell after helping win both titles at the team.
For the 1991 season, Keranen moved over to childhood favourite team McLaren. After a poor 1988 season, this was seen as a step backwards for the champion, although Keranen saw potential along with a great car. At the season opener in Pheonix, Keranen nearly vindicated his decision with a drive that was a handful of laps from a victory.
Taking 4th in Brazil was followed with a 7th at Imola and 4th again in Monaco. Although openly stating his 2nd driver status and his wish to see both championships at McLaren, with Ben Herbert taking the drivers, Keranen led a McLaren 1-2 in Canada with a strong drive. 6th in Mexico and 8th in France led into a second win for Keranen at Silverstone after Herbert retired.
After this, the money that Keranen had brought to Woking was starting to make magic happen, and Herbert went on a 3 race streak in Germany, Hungary and Belgium, with Keranen retiring in Germany, and scoring 4th and 3rd in Hungary and Belgium. Another 4th in Italy meant Keranen and McLaren were still working well.
But the run to the end of the season was a struggle, as Keranen made no more points for McLaren, 3 DNF's in Portugal, Japan and Australia and a lone 7th in Spain. Herbert took the drivers title, but a double DNF for McLaren in Australia saw Tyrrell successfully defend their title.
After pushing hard, and ultimately failing to secure the title, McLaren started the 1992 season on the back foot well and truly. A massive roll over for Keranen at the first corner in Kyalami was a sign, and 9th in Mexico and 11th in Brazil showed struggle. In Spain Keranen took his first points of the season with a strong 4th.
While Herbert won in San Marino, Keranen saw out straight DNF's in San Marino and Monaco, but finished Canada in 11th with a fastest lap. The fastest lap kickstarted something in the Australian, scorching to 2nd and 3rd in France and Britain.
12th in Germany led into 5th in Hungary and another podium in 3rd at Spa. These though would be the last points for the season, and Herbert only added a further point in Italy. Keranen saw out the season with retirements in Italy, Japan and Australia, finishing the Portuguese GP in 11th. These results condemned McLaren to 8th in the Constructors, even though both men finished in the top 10 for the season.
If 1992 was deemed a failure, 1993 was about to cripple Woking. Losing Honda power, again money flow from the end of 1992 impacted the start of 1993.
Keranen saw the finish in 7th for the opening South African GP, and saw the finish in every GP until mid way through the season, securing 16th in Brazil, 10th in Donington and San Marino, 8th in Spain, his season lone point at Monaco with 6th, 14th in Canada, 12th in France, 13th in Germany and 10th in Britain before losing the finishing streak in Hungary and Belgium with two straight DNF's.
13th in Italy, 12th in Portugal, DNF in Japan and a 9th in Australia saw the 1988 champion finish bottom of classified drivers with a single point.
At this time, both Keranen and Herbert were tipped to lose their seats at McLaren, although a lack of interest in moving to Woking saw both drivers kept, crucially with money flow to start the new season.
1994 started with real belief in Woking of recapturing some form, as the off season had brought about one of the biggest shake ups in Simulated Career history. Although Keranen retired in Brazil, at Aida in Japan, he finished 5th, doubling his 1993 points haul. With retirements in San Marino and Monaco, he was otherwise unable to continue his fine form from Japan.
In Spain however, Keranen secured his first milestone since 1992 with a Pole Position, but a bad start quickly saw him out of podium contention. The Australian however drove a solid race and was rewarded with another 4th place. 13th was the best he could do in Canada after reported problems with the car, while Herbert secured a podium in 2nd place.
In France, another poor qualifying for Keranen meant a big job ahead, but although making up spots quickly, by the Adelaide hairpin his race was over.
While France was a low point for Keranen, the return to Silverstone still brought high hopes for him and the team, and after securing pole, Keranen waltzed away for the win by 27 seconds and his first since the 1991 British Grand Prix, and first podium of any sort since the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix.
Riding high into Germany, another decent qualifying performance saw Keranen able to convert it into another podium place, second wedged between home-racers Utzer and Foro. But for all the positives, the season rounded out in unspectacular fashion, with 4th in Jerez the only other points gathered. But after his win and podium, Keranen saw another year in Woking.
After breaking a duck in '94 and money in the bank, McLaren were expected to be leading contenders again. But bad luck in the first flyaway races then progressed into a lack of speed from the new Mercedes-Benz powered car.
A pair of 8th places in Canada and France were highlights into the mid season, retirements in Germany and Hungary did naught to help.
A number of races in which Keranen was able to run in the top 6 for much of the race resulted in nothing, but another stirring drive in Japan gave Keranen 5th place, and 2 points, thus keeping his record of points in every season intact, plus doubling that of 1993. Keranen finished the season in Adelaide with an unconvincing 13th place.
Well before this however, McLaren announced that frontrunners Xen Foro and the 1993 champion Lesley Buurlage had signed to McLaren, leaving Keranen (and Herbert) in the cold. As such, Keranen was able to reignite the old fires at Tyrrell and secured a return to his former championship team. Herbert duly followed soon after.
Keranen prospered in the atmosphere of a top team again, and compared to McLaren, saw the car well developed before being shipped to Keranen's hometown of Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix, now the curtain raiser for the season.
With the sun mostly shining for qualifying, Keranen was able to wrestle his new Tyrrell around the Albert Park course and sneak second, even though the car was setup for the race instead. Come race day, Keranen was able to beat former Tyrrell teammate Tobi Kederer off the line, and while the reliability of the Yamaha engine was questioned, Keranen lasted the distance to score a famous victory for the Australian, marking 5 in a row for him as a Tyrrell driver.
Travelling to Brazil, a solid qualifying gave Keranen a chance. Starting 9th, Keranen lost out at the start, but proceeded to calmly move up the field, breaking into the top 6 within 10 laps. After the final stops on lap 56/72, Keranen was in a 3 way battle for first, 5 seconds adrift of Kederer and a second ahead of Rautavaara. Keranen quickly ate into the lead of Kederer, making the decisive move on lap 66 before stretching out to a 3 second victory over Rautavaara and 5 secs to Kederer in 3rd. 6th in Argentina ended the streak, retiring in the European GP ended the points streak. A return to the points in San Marino before a second placing in Monaco and Keranen was still well into the title hunt, but while Spain provided another point, no points in Canada, France, Germany and Hungary hurt, even with a win in the British GP in between. 4th in Belgium left Keranen being 25 points behind former teammate Kederer with only 30 left. Not content to see the season end, Keranen won in Italy, but the German took second. In Portugal, Kederer was promised the title should he finish 4th, but could only manage 5th as Keranen swept to another victory, leaving a title showdown in Suzuka. It proved to be a large anti-climax, as Keranen qualified well down the order, and both the title aspirants retired. While hard to take, Keranen enjoyed 5 wins and second place in arguably his most successful season since 1988.
Confidence was high in the Tyrrell camp heading into 1997, with Pablo Diehl joining the team, but an unlucky change of engine during the off season caught Keranen off guard. Arriving in Melbourne, Keranen was heartbroken to end up a retirement, watching as the Yamaha engine previously used at Tyrrell powered Milos Ancevski to victory in his Arrows. The season was a dismal failure, and signalled the end of an era as Ken Tyrrell decided to sell out the team for 1998. Keranen announced his intention to leave the team, 5th in Britain and 6th in Luxembourg the only points finishes for him. Keranen announced near the end of the season that he had negotiated a deal to drive at Jordan for 1998.
Keranen moved to the Irish team looking forward, and was quickly joined by Formula FG upstart Tim Engberink. The two got on well together, but at the Australian Grand Prix neither really performed great, although Keranen snagged the fastest lap of the race. Retirement in Brazil lead into the first points of the season with 5th in Argentina. Engberink decided to go better in San Marino, the Dutchman sweeping to his maiden victory in the category. Further success came for Engberink, with a pole, 2 wins and a second in the next 4 races, while Keranen also got a point in Monaco as Engberink won. However, in the aftermath of the French GP (another Engberink victory), Keranen appeared on a Sports show alongside McLaren driver Omer Said, who was a Jordan driver in 1997. With the entire paddock knowing that Keranen wanted back at McLaren, he joked with Said on-air that they should swap seats, as the Jordan was doing well and the McLaren was a little bit behind. While the two joked, the teams behind the scenes actually sought approval from the RDFIA and the swap was ratified. As such, the British GP was Keranen's first race back at McLaren since the 1995 Australian GP. Keranen thanked all his supporters, and credited the work at Jordan for allowing themselves to get to that position. He left on good terms, and returned to McLaren with intentions of success. Thus Keranen and Said became the first pair of drivers to drive for two teams in a single season.
And so before anyone really knew what had happened, Said and Keranen had swapped seats in one of the more controversial moments in the series' history. As Keranen settled back into a McLaren-Mercedes for the first time in nearly 3 years, Omer Said was busy making the most of the car, scoring 5th on his return as Keranen battled to 10th. His new teammate Xen Foro was unable to finish, while Engberink won. While his return seemed to be what everyone originally thought (a bad idea), Keranen was able to wrestle his McLaren to within 2 seconds of victory in Austria, a result he took the blame for, citing that he should have done better and won. A strong qualifying in Germany was going well until spinning off from 4th early on.
Complete Formula 1 resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Grand Prix winsEdit
Complete rFactor Season ResultsEdit
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