Formula 1 has paid tribute to Carlos Reutemann, “a fighter to the end,” after his death at the age of 79.
The Argentinian won 12 grands prix in an impressive career that saw him race for Brabham (pictured above en route to victory in the 1975 German GP at the Nurburgring), Ferrari, Lotus and Williams, just missing out on winning the drivers’ championship for the latter in 1981. Reutemann moved into politics after his retirement from racing and was serving as a National Senator until his death on Wednesday.
“We are all deeply saddened to hear that Carlos Reutemann has passed away,” an F1 statement read. “He was a big part of our sport for many years and was a fighter to the end. He will be greatly missed.”
FIA president Jean Todt offered his own tribute, with Reutemann having remained close to Ferrari after stopping racing, even driving Ruben Barrichello’s F2004 at Fiorano while Todt was in charge of the Scuderia.
“So sad to hear the loss of one of my heroes, Carlos Reutemann,” Todt wrote. “He was a great F1 champion, a true gentleman and a real friend. All my thoughts are with his family.”
As well as finishing runner-up to Nelson Piquet in 1981 — a year where he was leading the championship heading into the final round — Reutemann finished third in the standings on three occasions, with Mario Andretti saying he was good enough to win the title.
“So sad to learn of the passing of Carlos Reutemann,” Andretti said. “‘Lole’ was definitely an uncrowned F1 champion. I know how good he was especially as my teammate at Lotus.”