The Argentinian driver and politician, vice-world champion in Formula 1 in 1981, died on Wednesday at the age of 79.
Carlos Reutemann died on Wednesday at the age of 79 after a long illness. The Argentinian pilot participated in 146 Grand Prix on behalf of Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams between 1972 and 1982. He won 12 victories in Formula 1. Among his opponents were Niki Lauda, Mario Andretti, James Hunt, Alan Jones, Jody Schekter or Nelson Piquet.
The news was announced on social media by her daughter Cora Reutemann:
“Dad left in peace and dignity after fighting like a champion, with a noble and strong heart. I accompanied him until the end. I feel proud and blessed to have had such a father. I know he will be with me every day of my life until we meet in the house of the Lord ”.
Dad left in peace and dignity after fighting like a champion with a strong and noble heart that accompanied him to the end. I am proud and blessed for the father I had. I know that he will accompany me every day of my life until we meet again in the house of the Lord🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/84wo3WgfTg
– Cora Reutemann (@CoraReutemann) July 7, 2021
Born in 1942, Carlos Reutemann was descended from a father of German origin and a mother of Italian descent. He grew up in an Argentina fascinated by the exploits of Juan Manuel Fangio. After racing in the very popular local touring car championship, he left Latin America for Europe and Formula 2 in 1970.
Two years later, he took pole position in his first F1 Grand Prix – driving a Brabham and in front of his Buenos Aires crowd. It was in January 1974, on the same circuit, that his first failed meeting with victory took place. Largely in the lead of the race with two laps to go, he ran out of fuel. Less than three months later, he nevertheless won his first Grand Prix at Kyalami (South Africa).
” He had the speed of a Senna on a good day »Explains to our colleagues at The Race the engineer Gordon Murray, brilliant designer of Brabhams driven by the Argentinian in the first part of his career in F1. “He had an incredible feeling and precision in the fast corners.”
Able to remarkable qualifying laps, very sensitive to technique and often dominant in the race, the Argentinian driver has often paid for the irregularity of his performances. Especially when he was confronted with Niki Lauda within Scuderia Ferrari. Recruited after the accident of the Austrian, the man of Santa Fé was gradually eclipsed by the incredible resurgence of his teammate. Same story at Williams in 1981: Reutemann lost his title chances against Nelson Piquet in the last minutes of a Grand Prix contested in the parking lot of Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas (United States). Poleman, but absent in the race (8th at the finish), the Argentinian never gave an explanation for his poor form. Silence was, moreover, one of the most salient features of his personality.
At the beginning of 1982, Carlos Reutemann put an end to his career in Formula 1. If the exact reasons for this withdrawal after two Grand Prix remain mysterious, the presence of an Argentinian within a British team in the context of the Falklands War has often been cited as an explanatory key. A few months later, his replacement at Williams – Keke Rosberg – was crowned world champion…
After his driving career, he entered politics within the Judicialist Party (Peronist), notably becoming governor of the province of Santa Fe (1991 – 1995 and 1999-2003). Having become one of Argentina’s most popular politicians, he gradually moved away from Kirchner governments to join the Cambiemos coalition, which has a more conservative and liberal orientation.
Carlos Reutemann’s health deteriorated from 2017, when doctors diagnosed him with a liver cancer. He was admitted a month ago in a hospital in Santa Fé (Argentina).
Photo : Gillphoto / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-4.0
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