Carlos Reutemann

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Carlos Reutemann
Carlos Reutemann.jpg
Nationality Flag of Argentina Argentine
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1972 - 1982
TeamsBrabham, Ferrari, Lotus, Williams
Races146
Championships0
Wins12
Podiums45
Career points298 (310)[1]
Pole positions6
Fastest laps6
First race1972 Argentine Grand Prix
First win1974 South African Grand Prix
Last win1981 Belgian Grand Prix
Last race1982 Brazilian Grand Prix
Carlos Reutemann at the wheel of the Brabham BT44 during the 1974 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.

Carlos Alberto Reutemann (born Santa Fe, Argentina April 12, 1942), nicknamed "Lole", is an Argentine former racing driver (who raced in Formula One from 1972 through 1982), and later a prominent politician in his native province of Santa Fe, for the Justicialist Party.

As a racing driver, Reutemann showed flashes of brilliance alternated with disappointing performances. He earned 12 Grand Prix wins and six pole positions, but he was at times overshadowed by more forceful teammates and, some say, did not respond well to pressure at key moments in his career. In 1981, he finished second in the World Drivers' Championship by one point when he was overtaken in the last race of the season. He was the only Formula One driver to be at the podium of a World Rally Championship when he finished third in the 1980 and 1985 editions of Rally Argentina.[2]

As a two-time popular governor and a senator, he has been considered by some, on several occasions, to be a worthy candidate for President, but he has always declined this possibility until December 2008.[3]

Racing career

Descended from a Swiss-German grandfather, an Argentine father and an Italian mother, Reutemann was the first successful Argentine Formula One driver since the retirement of five-time World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio in 1958. After racing touring cars and Formula 2 in Argentina, he moved to Europe in 1970 to drive a Brabham for the Automobile Club of Argentina Team in the European Formula 2 series. He immediately received attention when he took out Austrian Formula One driver Jochen Rindt (that year's eventual World Champion) on the first lap of his first race at Hockenheim, but carried on the finish fourth. The next season, he finished a close second in the series to Sweden's Ronnie Peterson.

Impressed with his rapid progress, Brabham F1 team boss Bernie Ecclestone signed Reutemann to drive alongside veteran and two-time World Champion Graham Hill for the 1972 season. At the first race, in front of his home crowd at Buenos Aires for his first Grand Prix, Reutemann qualified his Brabham BT34 on pole position. This was a feat previously performed only by Mario Andretti, and since matched only by Jacques Villeneuve, and unlike those two, Reutemann was not driving the best car (teammate Hill qualified 16th). He finished the race in seventh after having to pit to replace his soft tyres, and the main highlight for the rest of the year was his win in the non-Championship Interlagos Grand Prix.

Teamed with Brazilian Wilson Fittipaldi Júnior for the 1973 season, Reutemann scored two podium finishes and seventh in the Driver's Championship. For 1974, the Gordon Murray-designed Brabham BT44 was a vast improvement and the team finished a close fifth in the Constructor's Championship. Reutemann took the first three victories of his F1 career at South Africa, Austria and the United States. He might have won the first race of the year in Argentina, too, but the Brabham team apparently failed to properly fuel his car and he ran out of fuel with less than two laps to go while safely in the lead. Sadly, in the years that followed, he never came as close to winning his home race. Though he matched Driver's Champion Emerson Fittipaldi's win total, inconsistent performances in the other races left Reutemann sixth in the season standings.

Five podium finishes in 1975, including a dominant win in Germany at the old Nürburgring, allowed Reutemann to place third in that year's Championship. The Brabham team switched to the Alfa Romeo flat-12 engine for 1976 and suffered from serious reliability problems, seemingly sapping Reutemann's fragile motivation. After seven retirements and only one finish in the points (fourth place in Spain) in the first twelve races, Reutemann negotiated a release from his Brabham contract to sign with Ferrari. He raced only once for the new team, in a third car at Monza, then sat out the final three races.

When Clay Regazzoni left Ferrari for the Ensign team in 1977, Reutemann was paired with the feisty Niki Lauda, who had nearly died in a fiery crash the previous season. In the first two races, Reutemann finished third (frustratingly behind ex-Brabham teammate Carlos Pace) in Argentina and won in Brazil, but then Lauda reaffirmed his position as team leader. Reutemann's star receded and he did not win another race. Lauda won his second Championship, while Reutemann finished fourth.

Driving his Ferrari 312T3, Reutemann won the 1978 USA Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, NY.

When Lauda moved to Brabham in 1978, Reutemann became the senior member of the Ferrari team, joined by the young Canadian Gilles Villeneuve. Reutemann used the Ferrari 312T3 to win in Brazil, Britain and twice in the United States (Long Beach and Watkins Glen). However, the Lotus team was dominant once their new model 79 was introduced at Monaco, and Reutemann did well to finish a close third in the points standings behind Andretti and Peterson.

With an opening at Lotus in 1979 after the tragic death of Ronnie Peterson, Reutemann's decision to move from Ferrari to Lotus seemed like a natural one. Reutemann's timing was off, however, and he struggled while Jody Scheckter won the title for Ferrari. After four podiums and six points finishes in the first seven races, the season went sour and Reutemann finished in seventh place for the season.

Joining the Williams team for 1980 brought back some of his form. Williams had the excellent FW07 car at its disposal and Reutemann used it to win at Monaco and score eight podiums for third in the Championship. His partnership with number one driver and World Champion Alan Jones was wildly productive for Williams, who won their first Constructor's Championship with a then-record 120 points. But again, Reutemann's relationship with his teammate soured when, the following season, Reutemann disobeyed the team's orders to allow Jones to win the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix. The win (and another in Belgium) helped put Reutemann in a position to win a furious five-way battle for the title at the season-ending race in Las Vegas.

Near miss

Reutemann arrived in Las Vegas with a one point lead in the Championship over Brazilian Nelson Piquet. He began the race from pole position, ahead of Jones, who had vowed not to provide any "help" in Reutemann's quest, while Piquet was fourth. At the start, Jones jumped into the lead and Reutemann was quickly passed by Villeneuve, Alain Prost and Bruno Giacomelli.

On lap 17, battling over seventh place as they approached the last left-hander before the pits, Piquet's Brabham was nearly touching the back of Reutemann's Williams. Piquet got around Reutemann on the inside when Reutemann, fighting for the Championship, inexplicably braked early. Piquet said, "I saw his car getting worse oversteer, then he braked very early, I think in the hope I would run into him, but I saw it and passed easily."

On the next lap, Andretti also went by Reutemann. Piquet put himself in a position to score points when he took over sixth place from John Watson on lap 22. Reutemann continued to slip backwards with gearbox trouble, having lost fourth gear as early as lap two.

Having mounted the strongest Championship challenge of his career, Reutemann finished the race in eighth, a lap down, and the title went to Piquet. Reutemann returned with Williams for 1982 with his confidence partially restored, and he finished second in the season opener in South Africa. A dispute with Frank Williams regarding team orders, however, caused him to leave Formula One after the Brazilian race and his racing career was over.

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points[1]
1972 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT34 Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 ARG
7
RSA
Ret
ESP
Inj
MON
Inj
16th 3
Brabham BT37 BEL
13
FRA
12
GBR
8
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
4
USA
Ret
1973 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT37 Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
11
RSA
7
7th 16
Brabham BT42 ESP
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
Ret
SWE
4
FRA
3
GBR
6
NED
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
4
ITA
6
CAN
8
USA
3
1974 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT44 Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 ARG
7
BRA
7
RSA
1
ESP
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
Ret
SWE
Ret
NED
12
FRA
Ret
GBR
6
GER
3
AUT
1
ITA
Ret
CAN
9
USA
1
6th 32
1975 Martini Racing Brabham BT44B Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 ARG
3
BRA
8
RSA
2
ESP
3
MON
9
BEL
3
SWE
2
NED
4
FRA
14
GBR
Ret
GER
1
AUT
14
ITA
4
USA
Ret
3rd 37
1976 Martini Racing Brabham BT45 Alfa Romeo Flat-12 BRA
12
RSA
Ret
USW
Ret
ESP
4
BEL
Ret
MON
Ret
SWE
Ret
FRA
11
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
16th 3
Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari Flat-12 ITA
9
CAN
USA
JPN
1977 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari Flat-12 ARG
3
BRA
1
RSA
8
USW
Ret
ESP
2
MON
3
BEL
Ret
SWE
3
FRA
6
GBR
15
GER
4
AUT
4
NED
6
ITA
Ret
USA
6
CAN
Ret
JPN
2
4th 42
1978 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari Flat-12 ARG
7
BRA
1
3rd 48
Ferrari 312T3 RSA
Ret
USW
1
MON
8
BEL
3
ESP
Ret
SWE
10
FRA
18
GBR
1
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
7
ITA
3
USA
1
CAN
3
1979 Martini Racing Team Lotus Lotus 79 Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 ARG
2
BRA
3
RSA
5
USW
Ret
ESP
2
BEL
4
MON
3
FRA
13
GBR
8
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
7
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
6th 20 (25)
1980 Albilad Williams Racing Team Williams FW07B Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
Ret
RSA
5
USW
Ret
BEL
3
MON
1
FRA
6
GBR
3
GER
2
AUT
3
NED
4
ITA
3
CAN
2
USA
2
3rd 42 (49)
1981 Albilad Williams Racing Team Williams FW07C Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 USW
2
BRA
1
ARG
2
SMR
3
BEL
1
MON
Ret
ESP
4
FRA
10
GBR
2
GER
Ret
AUT
5
NED
Ret
ITA
3
CAN
10
CPL
8
2nd 49
1982 TAG Williams Racing Team Williams FW07C Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 RSA
2
BRA
Ret
USW
SMR
BEL
MON
DET
CAN
NED
GBR
FRA
GER
AUT
SUI
ITA
CPL
15th 6

Political career

Senator Carlos Reutemann greeting President Néstor Kirchner in a visit to the Casa Rosada in June 2005

After retiring from racing, Reutemann's popularity led the Justicialist Party of the province of Santa Fe to invite him to run for governor. He won the election and ran the province for one four-year term (1991–1995). The provincial constitution does not allow for re-election, but after four years Reutemann presented again and won the governorship for the period 1999–2003. During those years, his profile grew and he became one of the leading politicians in Santa Fe and in Argentina. His career was initially sponsored by Carlos Menem, with whose controversial policies Reutemann became associated. To this day he is viewed, and has been criticized by the opposition, as a product of the right-wing, neoliberal Menem administration.

Reutemann's second term was marked by the nationwide economic problems brought by the recession that had started in 1999 and ultimately led to the socioeconomic crash of 2001. Under Reutemann, Santa Fe kept a conservative fiscal policy, whereby it applied discounts and froze public workers' salaries and pensions through an Economic Emergency Law. The province was among the few not to resort to the issue of government bonds as a form of quasi-currency, and thus did not become highly indebted. Critics of Reutemann note that these policies led to Santa Fe being short of financial support for productive investment, which in turn caused unemployment, and that they cut funding for important public works, resulting in the dismantling of infrastructure and services. [1] [2]

A flurry of accusations were levelled against Reutemann regarding the killing of several innocent people by the Santa Fe Provincial Police during the December 2001 riots, notably the social worker Pocho Lepratti. The end of Reutemann's administration coincided with the catastrophic flood suffered by the capital city of Santa Fe in April 2003. His government was accused of not heeding warnings regarding the area's flooding hazard and not carrying out the public works needed to prevent it; Reutemann himself was physically assaulted by a group of demonstrators in 2004. [3] [4] [5]

After the 2001 crash and the resignation of Fernando de la Rúa, Reutemann surprised and disappointed many by declining, on several occasions, to run for president. He finally presented himself for the 2003 general election and won a seat in the National Senate, which he occupies at present, sitting in President Néstor Kirchner's Front for Victory block.

During the 2005 legislative elections Reutemann chose not to be a major participant in the campaign. After the PJ lost to the Socialist Party candidates for the first time in Santa Fe, members of the party were rumored to be unhappy about Reutemann's low profile. Reutemann also declined to run for governor of Santa Fe again in the 2007 elections. [6]

On January 1 2006 Reutemann was named Commendatore della Repubblica by President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Up until 1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  2. "Taringa! - Historia del Rally de Argentina". http://www.taringa.net/posts/offtopic/1037774/Historia-del-Rally-de-Argentina.html. 
  3. Reutemann se anota para 2011 - La Nación (in Spanish)

References

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Pablo Brea
Argentine Formula Two Champion
1969
Succeeded by
Osvaldo Bessia
Political offices
Preceded by
Víctor Reviglio
Governor of Santa Fe
1991 - 1995
Succeeded by
Jorge Obeid
Preceded by
Jorge Obeid
Governor of Santa Fe
1999 – 2003