Argentinian crownless champion Carlos Reutemann dies aged 79

Former Formula 1 driver, Carlos Reutemann, has died at the age of 79 after a month in hospital. The news was confirmed today by his daughter.

Reutemann’s health, already admitted to the intensive care unit of his hometown hospital in Santa Fe, had worsened in recent days. His deterioration was related to a 2017 liver cancer diagnosis. 

 The 1981 Formula 1 world runner-up driver and current Argentinian senator had been hospitalized on May 30 and admitted to the ICU on June 21, where he remained until his death. 

In the month of May, Reutemann had stayed in hospital for 17 days for anaemia and dehydration related issues. Later on, his health took a turn for the worst due to ongoing gastrointestinal bleeding and impaired kidney function. 

 As it is to be expected, the death of their last Formula 1 GP winner has caused great consternation in Argentina. Reutemann was considered a great sporting figure in his country where he was the second F1 driver with the most victories (12 wins) behind the legendary five-time world champion, Juan Manuel Fangio (24 triumphs), who rose to the top in the 1950s. 


‘Lole’, as he was called by his fans, built a successful career over a decade, competing for famous teams like Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams. He managed to take twelve Grand Prix victories during one of the most competitive times in the history of Formula One as well as a total of 46 podiums, six pole positions and six fastest laps. 
He peaked in 1981 when he lost the Driver’s title by a single point in the final round of the season. That year, the Brazilian Nelson Piquet (Brabham) snatched the glory at the United States GP in Las Vegas by finishing fifth against ‘Lole’ (Williams) who came in eighth.
Previously, he had finished third in the 1975, 1978 & 1980 World Championships with Brabham, Ferrari and Williams, respectively.

From the F1 to politics

Reutemann also took part in two rounds of the World Rally Championship taking two podiums in Argentina (1980 and 1985). Following his retirement in 1982, the year in which he took part in two F1 Grand Prix, he made the leap to politics in his country. 

He served two terms as governor of his native province of Santa Fe, and in 2003 he was offered the opportunity to become a candidate for the Argentine presidency, an offer that he rejected to remain a member of the Senate. He held that post until his death. 

F1 squad condolences

His former Formula One teams have all paid homage to the Argentinian champion and shared their grief through their Twitter accounts.

For Ferrari, the team where Carlos Reutemann took part in 32 Grands Prix between 1976 and 1978, this is a particularly heartfelt farewell. He remains the most awarded Argentine driver in the history of The Scuderia with five wins, compared to the three of Juan Manuel Fangio and the two of José Froilán González.

Like the Italians, Williams for which he competed between 1980 and 1982 also honored the Santa Fe ace with a nice farewell message.

With his passing, Reutemann rightfully enters the storybooks of South American and international motorsports, as the sportsman that came so close to winning a World Title and wrap up an outstanding professional career in the decades of the 70s and 80s. 

Images of Carlos Reutemann: Ferrari.

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