It was the beginning of 2007 and after many days of calls and long waits, I was able to enter the Congress of the Nation to have a hand in hand with the senator Carlos Alberto Reutemann. Obviously, little was said about politics ...
-In 2005 he tested a Ferrari. Did you feel the same as when you ran?
-It's true, it was in Fiorano. I tried the Ferrari that had a three-liter engine with about 850 or 900 HP. The experience helped me to realize many things. First of all the current technology that they use, such as electronics, traction control, brakes, the box - a pleasure to shift the gears with the rods or to brake with the left foot. In the first corners I expected skidding and always activated the traction control and what I did 20 years ago with a long second now I did in second-third-fourth with the soft touch to the connecting rod in the middle of the curve. That made me remember when in my time we had accidents because I jumped gear in the middle of the curves, especially in the fast ones. Second security. Cars are safer due to the type of materials used to build the cars, the position of the driver, even the circuits have more exhaust. Also another thing: there is almost no fire. I say this remembering Jarama from 1978 when with the Ferrari I was upside down entangled in the "catch-fences" and could not get out. I got soaked with the gasoline that was starting to fall ...
-And nothing happened?
-Do not. One spark and it was a ballot. I also tell this in tribute to Rindt, Courage, Siffert, Clark, Williamson, Price, Revson, Cevert, Donohue, Peterson, Konnig, Bonnier and Pedro Rodríguez, among others who died from a racing accident.
-A pilot who wants to reach the F-1 is against being Argentine?
-I don't share that theory. If a (Fernando) Alonso or an Ayrton (Senna) appears who breaks the clocks, nationality does not matter. In F-1 there is only one truth; In my time it was the manual stopwatch, today it is the electronic one, the one that makes it stop before takes everything.
-To see which Argentine and international pilot would you pay a ticket to?
-Anyone on edge, but the three days with the "head-phones" (headphones) to see how they work and how they do to improve performance.
-How do you remember your beginnings?
-I had the great disadvantage of starting very big and not having a “single-seater” school (monoposto), but what an indelible memory that tie in circuit 5 with the Brabham Junior 1000 cm3 against Nasif, Di Palma, Marincovich, Franco and Cacho Fangio to get on Ron Harris's F-2 Technos. I remember those laps on circuit 6 with the Brabham BT 28 from La Razón at the tail of Piers Courage (how he changed fast and what a beautiful girlfriend he had). The feeling of the cars for me was incomparable.
-Can Carlos Reutemann reach Formula 1 today?
-Sometimes I start to think that ... When I review my beginnings and see the age in which I started, it seems to me that that would be almost impossible. Despite that, I got to Formula 1, I won in Formula 1, I stayed for several years and raced in the best teams in the category. Anyway, they always tell me that I didn't win the championship ...
-And what do you remember about that 1981 season in which you were about to win the title?
-I think there is a strategic decision by Williams that makes me lose the championship. That's when the team stops using Michelin and goes to Goodyear. That decision was very wrong and I even have a doubt - it would be a doubt - if there was nothing else behind it because Brabham, who also used Michelin, quickly adapted to North American tires. While we had Michelin we were the fastest. There were a thousand reasons for that, but essentially because the car was better on Michelin. With the French rubbers I added about forty points and with the Goodyears five or six ... That was the core of the question, as well as an internal issue that had become tense.
-Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you were a Formula 1 champion?
-It would be very nice to see me in motorsport books as "World Champion", but on that list I appear with a few wins, something a bit far for an Argentine today ...
-How do you define yourself as a person?
-With strengths and weaknesses, like everyone else. The only thing I add here is that everything I have achieved in life cost me an egg and three-quarters of the other.
-Why did you not accept to be a candidate for president in the 2003 elections?
-Because I perceived in advance that the pendulum was going the other way. I told Eduardo Duhalde the first minute he offered it to me and it was a very wise decision. I do not regret. There was not a thousandth of a doubt in that decision.
-Are there similarities between winning a race and an election?
-The feelings are very strong, perhaps more in politics because people trust you for a certain time with popular suffrage. But an interesting thing to note is that in both areas you need a great team of collaborators to do everything right.
-What dream do you have pending?
-Life gave me many joys and sorrows, but the overall balance is good. I do not forget that I rode 10 kilometers every day to go to elementary school No. 572 in Manucho and my teacher taught me to add and subtract with sticks ...
LOLE IN FORMULA 1
Carlos Reutemann's sports campaign in F.1 spanned eleven seasons. He made his official debut at the 1972 Argentine GP and retired at the 1982 Brazilian GP. He raced for Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus y Willams. In 146 Grand Prizes disputed achieved 12 wins, 6 pole positions, 6 lap records and 45 podiums. It was runner-up in 1981 and finished third in the tournament in 1975, 1976 and 1980.
Interview published in issue No. 1863 of CORSA magazine (2007).