Former Formula One driver and Argentine politician Carlos Reutemann, remembered for his participation for more than a decade in the top flight of world motorsport, died on Wednesday at the age of 79 after suffering from various health problems in recent years.
“Lole”, nickname by which he was known, had been hospitalized for several days for a picture of digestive bleeding in a medical center in the city of Rosario, in the Argentine province of Santa Fe, where he was from.
The driver, who came close to winning the Formula One title in 1981, suffered from health problems since 2017, when he underwent surgery for a liver tumor, and as a result he had made few public appearances in recent years. years.
“Dad left in peace and dignity after fighting like a champion with a strong and noble heart that accompanied him to the end. I feel pride and blessing for the father I had. I know that he will accompany me every day of my life until we let us meet again in the house of the Lord,” wrote his daughter Cora on Twitter.
After his beginnings in local motorsports, Reutemann arrived in Formula One in 1972, when he was chosen to join Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team alongside two-time world champion Graham Hill.
The Santa Fe racer also competed in the highest category of motorsport for the Ferrari, Lotus and Williams teams, a team with which he was only one point behind the 50 units with which the Brazilian Nelson Piquet won the 1981 championship.
That same year Reutemann also starred in one of the most remembered acts of disobedience in the category. At the Brazilian Grand Prix, “Lole” did not follow his team’s indication to let his teammate and reigning champion Alan Jones win, despite the Argentine going first.
According to a local media that was present at the race, Reutemann said at the end of the race that he had not seen his team’s poster because his visor was fogged. However, the action caused a definitive break with Williams and the Santa Fe stopped competing in the category the following year.
“We are saddened to learn of the death of our former driver Carlos Reutemann, winner of three Grand Prix for Williams during his career,” said the Williams team on its Twitter account.
During his period in Formula One, Lole participated in 146 grands prix, obtained 12 victories and 46 podiums, for which he is considered the best Argentine driver after the five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
After his retirement from motorsport, Reutemann turned to politics and was twice elected governor of his native Santa Fe. In 2002, he rejected an offer to run for president of Argentina despite his good position in the polls.
“He did not see me in there. He did not see me in (the presidential palace) Casa Rosada, in (the government house of) Olivos,” he would tell years later in one of his last interviews.
Reutemann was a national senator for Santa Fe.
“I regret the departure of Carlos Reutemann. My condolences to the loved ones of the former national senator and a great governor of Santa Fe,” President Alberto Fernández said on Twitter.
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