The touch that deprived Carlos Reutemann of being Formula 1 champion in 1981

He had it with Nelson Piquet, his rival and who took the crown, during training sessions for the decisive Las Vegas GP. There the chassis with which Lole felt confident of winning was damaged.

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El 1981 Las Vegas Grand Prix It is not pleasantly remembered by the Argentine fans for a simple reason: Carlos Reutemann could not get the title of the F1, which was left for the Brazilian Nelson Piquet. Although he started from pole position with his Williams, Lole could do little to get ahead of her rival from Brabham, which was what he needed to crown himself.

Although everyone knows very well what happened that Saturday, October 17, in the parking lot of the Caesar's Palace, the debacle of the Santa Fe began with a touch, precisely with Piquet, in training on Friday after the classification that had given Reutemann the chance to start.

The 1981 Las Vegas Grand Prix is ​​not fondly remembered by the Argentine fans for a simple reason: Carlos Reutemann could not get the Formula 1 title, which was left to the Brazilian Nelson Piquet. Although he started from pole position with his Williams, Lole could do little to get ahead of his rival from Brabham, which was what he needed to win. Although everyone knows very well what happened that Saturday, October 17 in the Caesar's Palace parking lot, the debacle of the Santa Fe began with a touch, precisely with Piquet, in training on Friday after the classification that had given Reutemann the possibility to go forward. In that incident, Williams' chassis 12 was damaged, with which the Argentine was comfortable. He had shown it by dominating the timed run and that is why he felt confident of obtaining the crown. “It had a remarkable acceleration, it climbed immediately to 10.600 laps. I had everything under control because the car gave me confidence, "said Lole in chapter 15 of the book Los Días de Reutemann by Alfredo Parga. “I had premiered it in Long Beach and with it I had raced to France; then they put it on again and it was my muletto from Montreal. I decidedly preferred it to 17, which I premiered in Zolder, which was more rigid and which I didn't like ”. Reutemann was determined to commission the definition of the tournament with that chassis 12. In fact, he had already discussed it with Patrick Head, the team manager, who wanted to convince him otherwise by telling him that this car was very old (he had played eight races) and That he ran the risk of breaking the hub carriers because they had so many kilometers. "I realized that my project did not approve of him, but intimately I was determined to run with the 12. But the stupid clash with Piquet came ..." Until today that incident was only in everyone's memory because of the words of its protagonist, but the Argentine journalist Víctor Pérez Seara, who has lived in Spain for a long time, recalled it in a tweet sharing an unpublished video and the episode is clearly seen there. “I was coming out of a very strong corner, I suddenly ran into Brabham and without time to deviate. I touched it and the front grill bent. The car was repaired immediately, but when I go back out I notice that it was no more, it had disappeared. That car was not the compliant machine I had on Thursday. It wasn't the car that made driving enjoyable for me. It cost me a triumph to wear it, it had completely changed. Against my original ideal, I had no choice but to take charge of 17, which I didn't like at all ”... With this new testimony, these words from Reutemann take on a new dimension and the question arises of how much responsibility Piquet had in that maneuver, that ultimately deprived the Argentine from running with that car he trusted so much.

In that incident chassis damaged 12 of Williams, with which the Argentine felt comfortable. He had shown it by dominating the timed run and that is why he felt confident of obtaining the crown.

“It had a remarkable acceleration, it climbed immediately to 10.600 laps. I had everything under control because the car gave me confidence "Lole stated in chapter 15 of the book The days of Reutemann de Alfredo Parga. “I had premiered it in Long Beach and with it I had raced to France; then they put it on again and it was my muletto from Montreal. I decidedly preferred it to 17, which I premiered in Zolder, which was more rigid and which I didn't like ”.

Reutemann was determined to commission the definition of the tournament with that chassis 12. In fact, I had already discussed it with Patrick Head, the team manager, who wanted to convince him otherwise by telling him that this car was very old (he had played eight races) and that he was running the risk of breaking the hub carriers because they had so many kilometers. "I realized that my project did not approve of him, but intimately I was determined to run with 12. But the stupid clash with Piquet came ..."

Until today that incident was only in everyone's memory because of the words of its protagonist, but the Argentine journalist Victor Perez Seara, who has been living in Spain for a long time, recalled it in a tweet sharing an unpublished video and the episode is clearly seen there.


“I was coming out of a very strong corner, I suddenly ran into Brabham and without time to deviate. I touched it and the front grill bent. The car was repaired immediately, but when I go back out I notice that it was no more, it had disappeared. That car was not the compliant machine I had on Thursday. It wasn't the car that made driving enjoyable for me. It cost me a triumph to wear it, it had completely changed. Against my original ideal, I had no choice but to take charge of 17, which I didn't like at all ”...

With this new testimony, these words by Reutemann take on a new dimension and the question of how much responsibility Piquet had in that maneuver, which ultimately deprived the Argentine from running with that car he trusted so much.

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

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