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CARLOS REUTEMANN and PEDRO RODRIGUEZ


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#1 LOLE

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Posted 19 August 2002 - 18:48

Since the early seventies I'm a great admirer of the Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann. "Lole" was never a driver to stand in the spotlights so very little has been written on his person. I collect everything on CR, met him several times and would like to read some anecdotes or stories on his person or your opinion of this pilot.

The same for Mexican daredevil Pedro Rodriguez, "pocket-size", but for sure one of the greatest!Thanks in advance for your reply!

Carlos

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 August 2002 - 18:54

If you ask him nicely, Bernd might give you a look at the nice profile written about Pedro for his Tasman Cup series website...

He's certainly admired on this forum. Carlos receives rather less kudos, however.

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 19 August 2002 - 19:55

Last Reutemann anecdote I heard was in the national (UK) press a day or two when his presidential prospects were mentioned

#4 Anorak Man

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Posted 20 August 2002 - 03:10

Welcome Carlos! :)

Yes, great idea for a thread, I'd like to know more about these two, different eras of course, and charcters, but really interesting blokes.

I've been meaning to ask Ray about the Jonsey/Lole rivalry at Williams.

I read an interview years back with Paddy Head, and in it he compared his two drivers of the time.

He was very tactful and didn't reveal which was which in the interview, but he said something along the lines of:

"One of our drivers is noticibly harder on the machinery."

And to this day, I don't know which one he meant.
But Ray does eh?

I saw Pedro race in the Yardley BRM, he won the Oulton Park Gold Cup in it, and his racing line was most peculiar, compared to his team mate's 'Seppi'.

For example, approaching Lodge Corner (a 90 degree right hander), he'd hug the inside edge (his right) until about 50 metres off the bend, then swing to (his) left side of the track, nearly on the grass, then turn in to the apex. It was very spectacular, and he did it every lap.

There were only fractions of a second between him and Siffert, but their lines were very different.

I've no idea why.

He was also a bit of a prankster, and loved to tip finely chopped Mexican chillis into his guests meals if the left the table.

Have you got any Lole and Pedro stories?

AM

#5 LOLE

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Posted 20 August 2002 - 21:07

Originally posted by David McKinney
Last Reutemann anecdote I heard was in the national (UK) press a day or two when his presidential prospects were mentioned


Hello David!
Thank you for your kind reply. I hope that your reaction will initiate a long and interesting conversation with all the Lole and Pedro fans of the forum.
I know that Carlos Reutemann's daughter Cora Inés recently (June) married with an Italian empressario named Patrizio di Guevara Fabbri. This happened of course in the presence of her father (who came over from Argentina, where he is the actual governor of the province of Santa Fe, and continued his voyage to Paris and New-York for political meetings with industrials)and also her mother and ex-wife of Lole, Mimicha Bobbio. The wedding took place at Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat, not far from Nice and later in a five star hotel in Monaco. Mimicha and Lole's second daughter Mariana still live in Cap Ferrat (I'll receive some photographs soon from an Argentinian magazine so I can put them on the forum)
By the way, David, what exactly was said in the UK press about CR' presidential ambitions? I've read that he is the only serious candidate to counter the candidate of the opposition party but also that he renounced.
Kind regards!
Carlos

#6 marhal

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Posted 20 August 2002 - 21:15

Hello everybody..............

Lole and Pedro were two exceptional drivers, sadly the Mexican dies and we´ll never know how far he could go..............

About Reutemann, the great argentinian journalist Alfredo Parga wrote a book: "Los días de Reutemann" (Reutemann´s days). It´s a wonderful book that covers from the very beginning of the Carlos´career to his present.


When Reutemann was a F-1 driver, he was much discussed in his country, but today he is very much admired and respected. Recently, he resigned his chance to be Presidential candidate, and probably he is thinking about his politics retirement........................

#7 David McKinney

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Posted 21 August 2002 - 05:33

Originally posted by LOLE
By the way, David, what exactly was said in the UK press about CR' presidential ambitions? I've read that he is the only serious candidate to counter the candidate of the opposition party but also that he renounced.
Kind regards!
Carlos

The item I saw was IIRC in The Daily Telegraph and discussed the possible future presidential candidates. Interestingly, Reutemann's name was the first mentioned, but the commentators view was that Lole was more interested in being a successful provincial governor, or words to that effect

#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 August 2002 - 07:23

Just for the record Carlos - what WAS the true Hispanic derivation of the nickname 'Lole'???? This has always been a great puzzle to me ever since I cited a derivation quoted to me by a friend of Carlos's in the early 1980s and after I published it others said 'No, that's all wrong....' but would not explain how or why... which was very frustrating.

Is 'Lole' a common nickname - are there or have there been other prominent sportsmen or public figures sharing the same nickname????

DCN

#9 dmj

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Posted 21 August 2002 - 09:52

I seem to remember that Lole did some rallying too, but I'm totally lacking details... Did I read something about it in mid-80s, after his F1 retirement? And then, there was a story about him as a test driver for some magazine, with a Porsche 928, I think... Both stories are stucked somewhere in back of my head but I can't remember... Anyone?

#10 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 21 August 2002 - 16:43

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Just for the record Carlos - what WAS the true Hispanic derivation of the nickname 'Lole'???? This has always been a great puzzle to me ever since I cited a derivation quoted to me by a friend of Carlos's in the early 1980s and after I published it others said 'No, that's all wrong....' but would not explain how or why... which was very frustrating.

Is 'Lole' a common nickname - are there or have there been other prominent sportsmen or public figures sharing the same nickname????

DCN


Lole is not a common nickname and afaik Carlos is the only person I know that has such a nickname.

I've heard that the origin of the nickname can be situated in his teens, and it has something to do with the spanish words "LOs LEchones ....", or the baby pigs or the little pigs. He was told to take care of the little pigs and .... the story continued ..... ;)

Arturo :)

#11 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 21 August 2002 - 17:01

Originally posted by dmj
I seem to remember that Lole did some rallying too, but I'm totally lacking details... Did I read something about it in mid-80s, after his F1 retirement? And then, there was a story about him as a test driver for some magazine, with a Porsche 928, I think... Both stories are stucked somewhere in back of my head but I can't remember... Anyone?


He drove the Fiat Abarth 131 sometimes at the Rally CODASUR and at the Rally of Argentina in the 80s.

Arturo

#12 marhal

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 07:13

I agree with Arturo...........Lole it´s an uncommon nickname............


I´ll try to translate a paragraph from the wonderful book of Alfredo Parga "Los días de Reutemann" (Reutemann´s days), page 10. Sorry for my English............


"Why Lole????...........when Carlos was at school, one day his friends invited him to play after the classes ended. But Carlos wanted to see the piglets that his father had in a corner of the farm. Then refused the invitation: "No puedo, voy a ver LO LEchones"***** (I can´t, I´ll go to see the piglets). An older boy begun to call Carlos "Lole"............................


***** In Spanish, the correct sentence is: "NO PUEDO, VOY A VER LOS LECHONES", but in Argentina, most people used to avoid the final "s".................... :D


P.S.: In his early years, Lole drove some strange machines, like the "Falcon Angostado" (Stretched Falcon). Do you want to see photos of the Falcon????????. http://purofalcon.ne.../Carreraang.htm

It was a Ford Falcon stretched 5 cms of each side................................... :lol:

#13 Ralliart

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 07:44

:smoking: Reutemann showed up at Kyalami '83 and Frank Williams, reportedly, pointed to him and said, "This is the guy who should have won the championship last year." He tessted, I guess, more than F1 car and there was talk of him making a comeback in '84 and placed third, behind Senna and Lauda, in a Mercedes 190E in the exhibition race that opened the Neue Nurburgring in '84 and placed third (w/Rohrl, I think) that year in the Codasur.
Anyone out there ever seen a copy of "CORSA EDICION ESPECIAL - Reutemann"? Came out in '82, 143 pages and covers his entire career in extreme detail. I got my copy when it came out.

#14 Pedro 917

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 21:21

Originally posted by Ray Bell
If you ask him nicely, Bernd might give you a look at the nice profile written about Pedro for his Tasman Cup series website...

He's certainly admired on this forum. Carlos receives rather less kudos, however.



Hello Ray,

I'm Carlos' brother and a real Rodriguez nut......
Is it possible to send me the address of this Tasman Cup series website?
I have some results of the 1968 Tasman Cup where Pedro drove different types of BRM cars (V-8 and V-12). Problem is that I don't know what car he drove and in which race. I have a picture from "Autocar" magazine (25 Jan '68) where, being unsure of the correct spelling of Pedro's name, the signwriter tried a different variation on each side of the new, Len Terry designed, BRM P126 ( Rodriguez - Rodriguz ). It says the picture was taken at Pukehoke but then I have another picture from Pukehoke where Pedro's driving a very old BRM V-8 car.

Btw, please take a look at my brother's website : home.pi.be/~mathiasg/ for some more nostalgia.

Kind regards

#15 LOLE

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 21:24

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Just for the record Carlos - what WAS the true Hispanic derivation of the nickname 'Lole'???? This has always been a great puzzle to me ever since I cited a derivation quoted to me by a friend of Carlos's in the early 1980s and after I published it others said 'No, that's all wrong....' but would not explain how or why... which was very frustrating.

Is 'Lole' a common nickname - are there or have there been other prominent sportsmen or public figures sharing the same nickname????

DCN

Dear Mr Nye,

I’m very honoured to see a reaction from your part on my thread on « Carlos Reutemann and Pedro Rodriguez ».
When I looked at my library, I saw many books written by you and which were very interesting to read : Driver profile Nr 8 on Jim Clark / Racers (Williams team) / Motor Racing in colour / Great Racing Drivers and the Stirling Moss biography. So I’m very glad to be able to help you although Arturo and Marhal already gave the answer. Yesterday, I’ve asked an Argentinian friend in Buenos Aires to translate the text on page 10 of the book « Los Dias de Reutemann » (Alfredo Parga – ediciones CEAC – ISBN : 84-329-2361-3) :

« Por qué ­LOLE- » ? Hacia poco tiempo que iba a la escuala rural. Alguno de sus companeritos lo invitaba a jugar a la salida. Carlos estaba entusiasmado con los chanchos que su padre habia comenzado a criar en un rincon del campo. Para él, ver retorzar aquellos animales era como conocer una nueva dimension. Sin pensarlo dos veces, se excusaba : « No puedo ; voy a ver lo lechoneŠ ». Y escapaba.

No iba a zafar de la ironia, porque cerca, uno de sus companeros de colegio mas crecido lo habia escuchado. Lo de « lo lechoneŠ » lo perseguiria un momento. En cambio, « LOLE » lo acompanaria para siempre.

This is his answer:

I sent to you the translation you were needing. I hope it can now be fully
understood. If something is still not clear, please let me know. I tried to
explain what was the meaning of the "Lole" nickname. It is a matter of
avoiding "esses" what makes it funny to say in spanish. When he was a child,
it seems he didn't pronounce that letter when saying "los lechones", he said
"lo lechone". To explain it in french, which is more resembling than the
english language, let's take this phrase: "Les cahiers". Well, Reutemann
should say it like this: "Le cahiers".

" Why Lole? He (Lole) was in the rural school since a short time. Some of his fellows invited him to play when they were out of the school, at the end of the school day. At that time Carlos was vary happy with the pigs that his father was begining to breed in a corner of the farm. For him, looking those animals was like entering in a new dimension. Without thinking it twice, he always excused himself: " I can't; I am going to see the pigs" ( voy a ver lo lechone, a phrase which is spelled more correctly: voy a ver los lechones, with the S in the final part of both words)
The text follows like this: "He will not escape from irony, because, very close one of his school fellows, an older boy have had heared it. The "lo lechone" theme will be lasting moment. But "Lole" will be with him forever."

Kind Regards !

Carlos
PS : Please visit my web site : http://home.pi.be/~mathiasg/

#16 LOLE

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 21:25

Originally posted by David Beard


How's this?
This is one of my favourite photos...taken at Silverstone in 71 when oiks like me were still able to approach the stars...(might be a rather big file, sorry : )
Posted Image

Hello David !

Thank you very much for the beautiful picture of Pedro !
You have to know that I’m a great fan of Carlos Reutemann, Gilles Villeneuve and Pedro Rodriguez but my brother Luc is a real « Pedro-maniac ».
I’m sure he will show up soon on this forum under his nickname « Pedro 917 ». Anyway, he was very happy with the picture and we both hope for many more to come !

#17 LOLE

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 21:27

Originally posted by dmj
I seem to remember that Lole did some rallying too, but I'm totally lacking details... Did I read something about it in mid-80s, after his F1 retirement? And then, there was a story about him as a test driver for some magazine, with a Porsche 928, I think... Both stories are stucked somewhere in back of my head but I can't remember... Anyone?

Hello dmj !

Thank you for your reply on Carlos Reutemann.
Lole indeed did some track tests for an Italian magazine « Quatroruote »in the early eighties (I think it was 1981).
These tests were illustrated with beautiful photographs.
Lole tested the following cars :
-LAMBORGHINI COUNTACH S
-FERRARI BB 512 i
-BMW 635 Csi
-ALFA ROMEO ALFETTA GTV 2.5

#18 LOLE

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 21:44

Originally posted by Arturo Pereira


He drove the Fiat Abarth 131 sometimes at the Rally CODASUR and at the Rally of Argentina in the 80s.

Arturo



Hello Arturo!
I'm so happy that I received so many reactions on Lole!
It is indeed very time consuming to reply on all the reactions, because I think we all have so many to tell and to show.
Here is an answer to your reply and to all the reactions of those who were so kind to participate in this forum.
During Lole's career and still today, I bought all possible magazines and press releases available in Europe. I've cut out all articles and photographs and made an album out of it. In fact there are 7 albums now (black pages, A3 format) with I presume some 6.000 items and a total weight of 16 Kg!

Carlos drove for McLaren, Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams in F1.
In prototypes, he drove for Lola (T 70 with Jackie Oliver) in the 1970 1000 Km Temporada race, Porsche (Porsche 917 with Emerson Fittipaldi) in the 1000 Km race at Buenos Aires, Ferrari (Ferrari 312 PB with Tim Schenken) in 1973 and three races for Alfa Romeo (33TT12 with Rolf Stommelen).


After his retirement from GP racing (last GP was the 1982 Brazilian GP-collision with René Arnoux), Lole was contacted by Enzo Ferrari to replace poor Gilles Villeneuve, killed during practice for the 1982 Belgian GP. Although very honoured, Carlos Reutemann didn’t want to make a second come-back in a few months time (He already came back on his initial decision to stop racing after the desastrous outcome of the 1981 season).

Lole again showed up in the international press in October 1982 when asked by Bernie Ecclestone and John Frankenheimer (remember his film « Grand Prix » ?) to act in a new film called « Speed » together with Paul Newman and a certain Maria Souto Major, at that time the girlfriend of Paul Belmondo and the niece of….Nelson Piquet. The film was never made for unknown reasons.
(Did you know that John Frankenheimer very recently died of complications during spinal surgery ?)

In October 1983, Carlos wanted to make a come back in GP with the Ligier team and therefor went to Paul Ricard to do some « slow » laps in the Ligier wearing the helmet of test driver Michel Ferté and wearing no seat belts at all ! (they didn’t fit).

On May 12th 1984, Carlos Reutemann participated in the inaugural race on the new Nürburgring together with many other celebreties like Hulme, Scheckter, Lauda, Prost, De Angelis, Moss, Hunt, Surtees and newcomer…Ayrton Senna ! All drove the same type of car, the Mercedes 190 E 16. The race was won by Ayrton Senna and Lole came third after Niki Lauda.

Also in May 1984, the Swiss driver Brun contacted Carlos Reutemann to drive his Brun-Gaggia Porsche 956 in the Le Mans 24 Hrs race linked with his landsman Oscar Larrauri and Massimo Sigala. Lole refused the offer not happy on the thought « to lose a wheel on the strait during the night ».

The two rally’s in which Carlos Reutemann participated were :
1980 Argentinian Rally CODASUR (19-24 Jul)
car : FIAT Abarth 131 (car Nr 7)
navigator : M. Perissutti (Italy)
result : 3th
1985 Argentinian Rally (30 Jul-03 Aug)
car : PEUGEOT 205 Turbo 16 (car Nr 1)
navigator : Fauchille (France)
result : 3th
During the 1986 Argentinian Rally, Lole drove the Peugeot team’s service car.

Carlos attended several times the Brazilian GP as a spectator.
He did so in 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1994
(During the 1987 Brazilian GP, he acted as a pit signaller, showing the time-tables to Nigel Mansell !)
In Monaco 1987, he was refused the access to the Williams pit by Honda-chief Yoshitoshi ( « Reute..who ? ?) until the Williams Chief of Press, Peter Windsor, explained him he just expelled a F1 celebrety !
(By the way, Peter Windsor has always been and still is a very close friend of CR !)
In 1983 he was also present at the South African GP, in the company of Ecclestone and Ligier.
He was also a spectator at the 1984 Dijon GP.

In Sep 1991, Carlos Reutemann was elected Governor of the Santa Fé province (Perronist Party of president Menem). He is still in function today.

During the 1995 Argentinian GP weekend Carlos drove a few demonstration laps in the 1994 F1 Ferrari.
In the wet he drove a time which would have put him on the 11 th place on the grid !

His last appearance in a F1 car was during the 1997 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Carlos drove the Brabham BT 34 « lobster claw », owned by the very friendly Irishman Ean Pugh (who kindly allowed me to sit in his car two weeks later at Zolder). Carlos drove also the Ferrari T3 (1978 season) that weekend.

Does anyone have some photographs of Lole and Pedro ?
As soon as I can I will put some pictures on the forum and some anecdotes…

Kind regards to all!
Carlos

#19 LOLE

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 21:49

Originally posted by David Beard


How's this?
This is one of my favourite photos...taken at Silverstone in 71 when oiks like me were still able to approach the stars...(might be a rather big file, sorry : )
Posted Image





This is a picture of me and Carlos Reutemann at the 1978 Racing Show in Essen Germany.
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#20 LOLE

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 22:07

Here is a photograph of Lole with my wife Marie-Jeanne in the Zolder paddock 1981.




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This is Pedro in his winning BRM at Spa 1970:

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#21 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 22:12

Thank you all very much for the 'Lole' explanation - it's in line with what I was told and what I seem to recall I wrote in the 'Racers' book on the Williams team. Coo - that's a relief then...it's bothered me for 20 years! :blush:
DCN

#22 RSNS

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 22:27

I don’t know if this is an informative reply, but I read something about Rodriguez’s driving by John Wyer (in an interview in 71).

It seems that in Sport Prototype racing the skills demanded are - and this was more important in th 60ies and early 70ies - very different from formula racing.

Due to the differences in speed between the various classes of vehicles, it is very important to find one’s way through traffic. According to John Wyer that was the key to fast Prototype driving and Rodriguez was a master of that art, closely followed by Siffert and Ickx.

A good example of this ability showed up in the 1970 Watkins Glenn race. In fact, in longish circuits Siffert was as fast or faster than Rodriguez (for instance, Nürburgring 1970, where Siffert clearly beat Rodriguez). But in the smallish Glenn, with lots of slow cars, Rodriguez was much faster because the faster cars continually had to overtake them (that was why Andretti got delayed).

As a matter of fact, Rodriguez and Siffert collided precisely because Seppi slowed down in a traffic jam and Rodriguez wanted to force his way through.

It is ironic that this particular characteristic of Rodriguez would ultimately cost him his life: the reports of the time said he died squeezed between a slower car and a wall.

It is curious that one of the clearest memories I have of Reutemann is, precisely, that of being slower going for the gap than Alan Jones (Jarama, victor Villeneuve) and loosing a place because of it.

Hope this is a contribution to this thread.

#23 lukywill

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Posted 23 August 2002 - 14:10

Originally posted by LOLE
Please visit my web site : http://home.pi.be/~mathiasg/


:)
nice site
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#24 LOLE

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Posted 28 August 2002 - 20:26

Can you imagine an actual F1 driver doing this....
Posing on request with a deerstalker!
Those were the days!


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#25 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 16:44

Originally posted by dmj
I seem to remember that Lole did some rallying too, but I'm totally lacking details...


He was so impressed by the way Walter Roehl drove in the Ardeche Rally, that he stuck a note with "Ardeche" on his steering wheel in his F1-car for inspiration (N. Roebuck).

There seemed to be one person close to this Enigmatic driver in the paddock, his name was something like N. Oatley? More infos on this? (missing the English translation of the biography...).

#26 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 17:06

Anorak Man:

I can't attest exactly what Patrick Head was eluding too when he was discussing Alan Jones and Carlos. HOWEVER, very clearly remember reading several times while Carlos was at Brabham the mechanics use to marvel at
how easy he was on the brakes. Rarely did Carlos crash too. So I would tend to thing they were talking about Alan. Face it, Alan was a very passionate
man, so I would tend to think that would also be reflexed in his driving.

I was always amazed when I saw Carlos at Watkins Glen at how relaxed he was
both in and out of the race car. He was smooth as silk.

#27 CSGPR

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 08:50

Hi there

It seems that I maybe will be able to get an answer to a tread I posted in this Forum some time ago. I was then asking: Did Emerson Fittipaldi and Carlos Reutemann get along.

I read (I don’t recall where) that they are close friends, but yet I have only seen them together on a few photos one from the Buenos Aires 1000 in 1971 where they shared a 917, and that was only due to the fact that Emerson Fittipaldi had wreaked his Alfa Romeo during practice :rolleyes: .

So now I will repeet my question: Are they friends?

Best regards

#28 Pedro 917

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 20:54

Hello Christian,

Here's a picture of Reutemann & Fittipaldi strolling down the paddock in Zolder 1977. It's a little bit blur but I guess you can see that they were friends at that time.

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#29 Bernd

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 22:58

The great profile on Pedro that that my friend Carlos Jalife wrote for my website is now available.

Just go to my website here

And it's located in the People/Internationals section. It's a superlative article in my humble opinion.

#30 Paul Newby

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 07:01

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Anorak Man:

So I would tend to thing they were talking about Alan. Face it, Alan was a very passionate
man, so I would tend to think that would also be reflexed in his driving.


I'm sure AJ was harder on the equipment than Lole.

I can recall when Jones raced an Alfa GTV6 in Australia he used to go through a gearbox a meeting. I know the gearboxes were not up to much (I should know) but apparently one time the mechanics took the gearbox out of Jones car and gave it to a regualr Alfa mechanic. He thought it had done about 100K miles, it was stuffed :rotfl:

#31 holiday

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 17:55

May be of interest for you.


Dear Nigel,

I've heard through the years endless adoring words from my dad about an Argentinean F1 driver named Carlos Reuteman. According to my dad 'he was one of the greatest drivers on F1 history'. Do you remember him? Any highlights you can share? Was he really that good?

Chus Ortike
Ibiza, Spain

Dear Chus,

Your dad is quite right. Carlos Reutemann was indeed 'one of the greatest drivers in F1 history'. This was, after all, a man who started his first grand prix - at home in Argentina in 1972 - from pole position, a feat emulated only by Mario Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve.

However, Reutemann was without doubt the most enigmatic grand prix driver I have come across in 30 years. When all was right with his mood, he was as good in an F1 car as anyone I have ever seen, with literally boundless flair and speed. Yet this same man, with all his enormous talent, could on other days be an also-ran. It remains a mystery, not only to me, but also to the many teams for which he drove.

On his day, Reutemann was quite literally unbeatable. But that was always the problem with Carlos; every good thing you said about his driving had to be prefaced by 'on his day.' There were days, when the angels touched him, when his rivals looked clumsy by comparison. But there were others - too many for one of his gift - when his presence in a race went unnoticed. In his work he wavered between sublime self-confidence and dithering uncertainty.

In terms of speed, we need to remember that Reutemann was Gilles Villeneuve's team-mate at Ferrari in 1978, so there was direct comparison to be made between them. Very well, this was Villeneuve's first year in F1, but he knew how absolutely quick Carlos was, when the mood took him. And I remember Monza in 1981, when the turbos were beginning to get emphatically the upper hand over the normally-aspirated engines, particularly on the 'power' circuits. Somehow, Carlos qualified his Williams-Cosworth second, between the Renaults of Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost.

I went to see Gilles after qualifying, and he wasn't too interested in discussing his own car, his own problems. "Did you see Carlos's time?" he exclaimed, eye alight with enthusiasm. "That is the lap of the season, no question about it..."

Reutemann should have been World Champion that year. He went to the final race, in Las Vegas, with a one point lead over Nelson Piquet, and in practice was simply fantastic, setting a time in the opening session which remained unbeaten. You awaited a Reutemann qualifying lap as later you did with Ayrton Senna.

Through the days before the race Carlos was relaxed, full of good humour. On the Sunday, though, when it mattered, he faded to nothing. As I watched that afternoon, I was embarrassed for him. Afterwards he mumbled about understeer on right-handers, and gearchange problems, but in all truth he drove like a man who had suddenly decided he did not want the World Championship.

Whatever may have been awry with the Williams - real or imagined - how could a man on pole position, touching the hem of the title, have been down to fifth by the end of the first lap, to seventh by the end of the third? To become World Champion, Reutemann, whose stamina was exceptional, had only to stay ahead of a perilously unfit Piquet on a tiring circuit in torpid conditions, yet he allowed Nelson by like a man being lapped.

Reutemann, though, did not dwell on his World Championship lost. "That part of my life is finished," he said. "As far as the championship is concerned, I always said that if it happened, fine, it happened. But if not, well, the sun would still rise in the east, and set in the west. Now there are other things to think about. Business. Politics, maybe."

Politics, certainly. Compared with most racing drivers, Carlos was always an unusually sophisticated man, in that he had a strong awareness of a world beyond motor racing, beyond himself. When based in Europe, during his F1 days, he was invariably well abreast of political happenings, not least in Britain. His heart was firmly in his homeland, and when he retired there was never a doubt that he would return for good to Argentina. There he soon immersed himself in the politics of his province, Santa Fe. As a national hero, the governorship was his for the taking.

In 1995, when F1 returned briefly to Argentina, Reutemann took a ride in a Ferrari on the opening day of practice, and a lot of fingers were crossed. It was pouring down, and everyone knew he had never liked the rain. More to the point, he hadn't been near an F1 car for 13 years, let alone one with a semi-automatic gearbox, and he didn't know this new Buenos Aires circuit.

After three or four laps, they waved him in, figuring that was probably enough, but Carlos was always good at looking the other way. Finally, after 11 laps, he stopped, took off his helmet, and sat there in the cockpit a minute or so, savouring reacquaintance with a loved one. When he stepped out, he was smiling. His 53rd birthday beckoned, and still he looked like the racing driver from central casting.

He had taken to the track after the end of the first practice session, and those watching might have believed it was Gerhard Berger or Jean Alesi out there. Despite the glassy surface, he didn't spin the car once, and his best lap was actually the 11th fastest of the day. "Amazing," mused John Watson. "The same style, same timing, same flair...it's all there still."

"Give him a bit of time to get acclimatised," reckoned Bernie Ecclestone, Carlos's one-time employer, "and he'd qualify in the top 10, no problem. It's the old thing: if you can do it, you never lose it - and he really could do it."

So he could. The mystery was why he didn't do it all the time, and only he can answer that.



#32 David M. Kane

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 20:25

I was at the Las Vegas GP you are talking about. In fact I remember it very
well because I won $1200 that weekend on a $1 slot machines. I hit a $1,000
jackpot, then won another $200 when I had to play the machine one more time
per the rules, I think its called playing it off or something like that.

Anyway, in the race Carlos didn't even look like he was trying. I was stunned because I had seen him win in a Brabham BT-44, or at least he was on pole there too and he was totally dominant. He was light years quicker
in the race than anyone else. At Las Vegas it was if he had absolutely no
fight at all as was mention. To this day, I can't for the life of me
figure it out. Most of us when we get that close or as they say can taste
it, we will REALLY but forth the effort because you never know when you
get another shot at it.

After watching him very closely at 8 USGP Grands Prix, I think his problem
was that he had too much nature talent. It all came to him too easy, so he
never developed that fire in his belly that you need to be WC.

I will also say this, he LOOKED like a GP driver. He was without a doubt
the most dashing and most handsome guy on the scene. The guy had movie
star looks.

#33 David Hyland

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 23:55

Reutemann should have been World Champion that year [1981].

Especially when you consider that he won the first Grand Prix of the year (South Africa), which was subsequently excluded from the Championship, and lost the title at a race which IIRC wasn't even on the calendar at the start of the season.

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 13:41

Not to put too fine a point on it...

But wasn't that the year Jonesy had trouble with a faulty fuel pickup in several races... especially when he had Monaco by the S & Cs?

#35 275 GTB-4

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 12:06

PEDRO

http://www.ten-tenth...highlight=pedro

#36 oldtimer

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 20:18

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Anorak Man:

I can't attest exactly what Patrick Head was eluding too when he was discussing Alan Jones and Carlos. HOWEVER, very clearly remember reading several times while Carlos was at Brabham the mechanics use to marvel at
how easy he was on the brakes. Rarely did Carlos crash too. So I would tend to thing they were talking about Alan. Face it, Alan was a very passionate
man, so I would tend to think that would also be reflexed in his driving.

I was always amazed when I saw Carlos at Watkins Glen at how relaxed he was
both in and out of the race car. He was smooth as silk.


I attended the 1981 Canadian GP practice and race. We arrived at the circuit and were crossing on the footbridge near the S type curve before the straight down to the hairpin bend. All the drivers were changing down twice as they entered the S curve with a short interval between each change. Reutemann, on the other other hand did not change down till well in into the curve with the second change instantly following the first. It was all very smooth and there was no room for the slightest error, otherwise his exit would be totally botched. Very impressive.

Raceday was wet, Reutemann arrived at the first corner from his front row position, and as DSJ put it, IIRC, promptly gave up, as those interested in racing swept past, Pironi on the grass I seem to remember.

Quite a contrast, as we have seen from earlier posts.

#37 Udo K.

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 13:19

Carlos at the German GP 1976:

Posted Image