Carlos Reutemann: His Formula 1 debut in first person

On January 24, 1971, the Buenos Aires racetrack witnessed Lole's debut in the Máxima in a race without points. This is how he told his feelings to CORSA magazine.

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After that Argentine Grand Prix de 1960, which the New Zealander won Bruce mclaren with a Cooper-Climax, the F1 stepped on Argentine soil again in the Summer 1971 with a career without points, which was the beginning of a new stage of romance between Máxima and the Argentine fans. The common point was Carlos Alberto Reutemann, who had already shown his credentials in the F2 in the team of Automobile Club Argentino.

Although the statistics indicate that Lole officially debuted in the F.1 in the 1972 edition of the Argentine GP, that competition of the 24 January 1971 It was the beginning of a remarkable campaign that allowed the Santa Fe race for the best teams, win 12 races and be runner-up in 1981.

Carlos Reutemann“Carlos Reutemann's career was, from every point of view, sensational. He demonstrated remarkably fast adaptability to the car and as if the power difference were nothing he set competitive times right away. He was strong in all sectors of the circuit, with a sustained rhythm during the 50 laps and definitely at the same level as the best ”, published the magazine STROKE on the performance of a compatriot, who competed with a McLaren M7C.

Reutemann was among the leaders throughout the weekend. He finished sixth in Friday's practice, fifth in Saturday's standings, sixth in the first series and third in the remainder. In the sum of time he completed the podium behind the New Zealander Chris Amon (Matra MS120) and French Henri pescarolo (Matra 701).

True to form, after the competition, Reutemann took time to describe his debut in great detail. This was reflected in the column he did for CORSA and which was published in issue No. 249.


MY DEBUT IN FORMULA 1

By Carlos Alberto Reutemann

“On Sunday I had my first Formula 1 experience. I think I had the greatest joy of my life when I saw myself on the podium and received the applause of the public in the stands. That was the epilogue of a career that ended - for me - much better than I expected. I had drawn up a conservative gait plan that would have put me, if the circumstances were right, in a final position somewhat further behind than the third place I achieved. But development and my possibilities determined that here, in Buenos Aires, things turned out as favorable and as projective as they were.

Carlos ReutemannI never felt a radical change between the Formula 1 car and the Formula 2 car with which I raced all last season in Europe. Of course I like Formula 1 much more (and it is not a truism). I did a total of 370 kilometers of running and was as rested as if I had not run. Unlike the tight Formula 2 races that sometimes left me crushed. In Formula 2 one always ends up much more tired and always risks more, that is how I see it through the experiences that I can now compare. At no time did I feel that I was facing a radical change of machine. And what's more, I felt much more comfortable and safe driving Formula 1 "

Generally I never thought the McLaren was going to be such a noble car. He behaved very well at all times. Traveling straight, without any dress vice or strange movements. Both in the straights and in the fast curves (Ascari or El Cuvón). The engine responded perfectly well. Between changes I always threw a regime of 9.200 / 9.400 revolutions per minute and the maximum that the lap counter reached in fifth place went up to 9.500 on the straight at the bottom of the pits when I was "sucked".

For qualifying tests I used a gear ratio that suited the day. There was a lot of crosswind and short relationships favored me. But for Sunday - race day - I played my heart out and told the mechanics to make the second, third, fourth and fifth a little longer. I hit it because the day turned out to be clear as expected and there was no wind. That is the fundamental reason why I was always, especially in the second series, in a much better position than I expected. Long relationships allowed me to be involved in the leading squad, "Sucked" with them without forcing the engine and with peace of mind. Pulling close to the tail of the pointers he could lift more laps and be there in tandem.

In terms of engine power, it made me feel much more confident than in the Formula 2 car. The much higher power (almost double) allowed me to make a perfect power slide. He let the car slide on all four wheels by accelerating until he put it on the straight. When “stepping on it” the McLaren accommodated itself only both in the Mixed and in the curves where it got at high speeds like the Curvón or the Ascari. Everything was very nice and the people around me were very happy….

Carlos ReutemannWhen passing in front of the pits I always had a clear idea of ​​my position from the signals they gave me. We used the same blackboard as in Europe last year: black with a big yellow reading. And that when he passed in front of the pits he was already in fifth gear and accelerating.

Mi change diagram It was like this: he came in fifth gear as he passed the stalls, when he reached the entrance of the curvón he hooked up the fourth gear and did the whole journey at that speed. When he left, he put fifth until he reached the entrance of the Ascari curve where he dropped to fourth. I was still in fourth and when I reached the entrance to the mixed I went through third, second and I got into first. When leaving the curvita entrance it put second and crossed the drawer and the curve of the Ombú in that speed. When we left it - where all the journalists were judging us how to bend - I put third and then fourth. I hooked the third one again to dive into the slide and I put the second one down to bend the fork in that change. I would go through it in second and when leaving - immediately - I would go up to third, when passing in front of the old boxes I would put the fourth and before reaching the current boxes I would already put the fifth to accelerate and reach the maximum of revolutions before reaching the curve .

Thus - to the handle - it passed in front of the boxes. Where they perfectly indicated the differences with respect to those who preceded me, my place in time in the race and the seconds that those who preceded me took me.

Carlos ReutemannThe original plan was limited to simply completing 100 laps of the race regardless of my position.. But it seems that the European learning with the ACA team was absolutely positive. Everyone told me after the race that my style changed a lot. I have evolved thanks to constant training in races.

Many circumstances were favorable to me. In the heat the Goodyear tires (with G-20 mix) were regal. In the rain, during qualifying, I did a lap to test, but the car was a lot acqua-planing, on the slide it was impossible to have it. On Sunday things changed.

 In closing I would like to reiterate something I said on the radio. They asked me which car I would like to race in Formula 1. Without a doubt -I said- I would like to drive the Brabham BT33. Now, after this career, which was the greatest satisfaction of my life, I think that possibility is not so far away… ”.

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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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