Carlos Reutemann, runner-up in the 1981 Formula 1 world championship, has passed away at the age of 79 after being hospitalised for over a month.
Reutemann’s condition had deteriorated in the last couple of days after he suffered further issues with haemorrhaging while in the intensive care unit of a health centre in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina.
The former F1 driver and current Senator in Argentina had been hospitalised on 30 May and was moved to the ICU on 21 June, remaining there ever since.
Previously Reutemann spent 17 days in the hospital during May.
He was admitted with anaemia and dehydration, but his condition worsened due to previous issues with gastrointestinal bleeding and deteriorating kidney function. His problems were related to liver cancer he was diagnosed with in 2017.
Reutemann’s death is a major loss for Argentina as he was the most successful driver of the South American country in Formula 1 after the initial path set by the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio and Jose Froilan Gonzalez in the 1950s.
Reutemann was able to excel in F1 during a 10-year span between 1972 and 1982 in a competitive era for the series.
The Argentinian drove for big teams like Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams and won 12 grands prix.
His victories at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 1975 and in Monaco in 1980 stand out in his career.
He also achieved 45 podiums, six pole positions, six fastest laps, 22 front row starts and 66 point finishes in a time when only the top six received points.
In 1981, while racing for Williams, Reutemann came within one point of the world title having led for much of the season, losing out in the end to Brazilian Nelson Piquet.
He also finished third in the championship on three occasions – in 1975, 1978 and 1980 with Brabham, Ferrari and Williams, respectively.
Following his retirement from F1 after the first two races of the 1982 season and having also made two World Rally Championship starts with two podium finishes in Argentina (1980 and 1985), Reutemann turned his attention to politics in his country.
He served two terms as governor of his home province of Santa Fe and in 2003 he was offered the opportunity to run for the Argentinian presidency, but rejected the candidacy.
He’s been a member of the Senate since that year until his death.
May he rest in peace.