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.
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journalist Victor Perez Seara, who has been living in Spain for a long time, recalled it in a tweet sharing an unpublished video and the episode is clearly seen there.
39 years after that Pole Position in Las Vegas, that near possibility of the Title, the confidence in the car. But not everything was going to go well for Reutemann. Unpublished images of that play with Piquet, the nerves of an extreme situation. @Josemivn @ Carmona7Jose @DiegoZorrero pic.twitter.com/a75zf6tAwg
- Victor Seara (@vicseara) October 16, 2020
“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.