'Lost a legend': Motorsport mourns death of F1 icon Carlos Reutemann

·5-min read
F1 icon Carlos Reutemann has passed away at the age of 79. Pic: Getty
F1 icon Carlos Reutemann has passed away at the age of 79. Pic: Getty

Tributes have been rolling in across social media as the motorsport world pays tribute to iconic driver, Carlos Reutemann.

The ex-Formula One driver and Argentine politician - who competed for more than a decade at the top of world motorsport - died on Wednesday at the age of 79.

STAGGERING: $1.8 billion truth about Australian GP cancellation

IMPRESSIVE: Daniel Ricciardo stuns Formula 1 fans with 'sensational' act

'ABSOLUTE DISGRACE': F1 world explodes over 'ridiculous' farce

Reutemann had undergone surgery in New York for a hepatic tumour in 2017 and struggled to regain full health.

"Dad left in peace and dignity after fighting like a champion with a strong and noble heart that accompanied him to the end," his daughter Cora tweeted.

In a career marked by brilliance behind the wheel and stubborn single-mindedness but also a lack of consistency, Reutemann was considered the greatest Argentine driver after five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio - whose heyday came in the 1950s.

The son of a cattle rancher from Santa Fe province, Reutemann finished runner-up in the Formula One championship to Brazilian Nelson Piquet in 1981 after coming third in 1975, 1978 and 1980.

"He was a big part of our sport for many years and was a fighter to the end. He will be greatly missed," Formula 1 said in a statement.

A national icon in his native Argentina, Reutemann broke into F1 in 1972 and joined Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team alongside then twice world champion Graham Hill. 

The motorsport world has paid tribute to iconic Argentine driver, Carlos Reutemann. Pic: Getty
The motorsport world has paid tribute to iconic Argentine driver, Carlos Reutemann. Pic: Getty

He made a sensational debut after claiming pole position for his home grand prix in Buenos Aires before finishing seventh.

He also raced for Ferrari, leading the Italian team's challenge in 1978 after being overshadowed by Niki Lauda in 1977, and then joined Lotus in 1979. That proved a poor decision, with Ferrari finishing first and second in that year's championship and Reutemann a distant sixth.

He then moved to Williams in 1980.

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of our former driver Carlos Reutemann, winner of three Grands Prix for Williams during his career. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time," Williams Racing tweeted.

It was just one of numerous tributes paid to the F1 icon by a motorsport community that's been left devastated by the popular icon's death.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Reutemann pipped for world title in 1981

In 1981, Reutemann famously ignored team instructions in Brazil, refusing to let Alan Jones pass for the win, but led the championship ahead of the finale in Las Vegas where he qualified on pole.

Reutemann then faded in the race, won by Jones, and Piquet became champion by a single point.

Nicknamed "Lole" in a mangled reference to his love for pigs - "los lechones" in Spanish - he left the sport abruptly after the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1982 having raced in 146 grands prix, with 12 wins and 46 podium finishes.

Pictured here in 1977, Carlos Reutemann pumps his fist during the Grand Prix of the Netherlands.
Carlos Reutemann is seen here at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands in 1977.

After trying his hand in the World Rally Championship in 1985, Reutemann turned to politics and was elected governor for Santa Fe province, serving 1991-1995 and 1999-2003.

In 2003, he was elected senator for Santa Fe and re-elected in 2009 and 2015. He declined to run for president in 2002, even though polls showed he would have been a leading candidate.

Known for his indifference to fame, he failed to show at his own book launch in 1998, after working for years with a ghost writer. "That's Reutemann," the writer Alfredo Parga said at the time.

with agencies

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting