About to turn 39, with ten in the F1 and 132 races contested in the category, Carlos Alberto Reutemann It made him spicy at the start of the 1981 season of the Maxima with his triumph in the Brazilian Grand Prix played in Jacapepagua. That success, the penultimate of his sports campaign, is still remembered for his "disobedience" by not following the team's instructions. Williams that he requested from the pits, and through a poster, that he had to let himself be overcome by his partner, the Australian champion Alan Jones.
The race on the Brazilian track, the second of the tournament after Western United States GP won by Jones followed by Reutemann, it was played under heavy rain that caused many accidents due to the loss of control of the cars by the pilots.
The first of them, right at the start, had the American as protagonists Mario Andretti (Alfa Romeo), into French René arnaux (Renault) and the Brazilian Boy Serra (Fittipaldi). The three cars collided with each other and the one who took the worst part was Andretti, who suffered certain burns that led to his transfer to a hospital.
While the state of the circuit, completely flooded, and the curtain of water raised by the cars increased the difficulty for almost all drivers, Reutemann, installed in the head since the traffic light turned on the green light, increased his advantage over the rest.
From behind, only Jones was able to keep up steadily. His disadvantage with his teammate was never very great, while behind him the void was made. The Italian Ricardo Patrese (Arrows) was shooting more than a minute away so it wasn't a problem for the Williams couple.
Faced with such a situation, when facing the last laps, from the Williams box, Reutemann was warned that he should let Jones pass. This, in turn, did not want to do his best, aware that the Argentine would let him pass and that a duel between the two could have negative consequences for both.
However, Reutemann did not give way and crossed the line first. The Santa Fe said later that he had not seen the indications correctly, perhaps because of the rain ...
-How was the race?
-Hard. I was riding hard the whole time. The car ran perfectly.
-Did you know that Jones was close?
-No, I never saw Jones.
-Did you see the signs telling you that Jones should be the winner?
-No, I didn't see anything.
-Seriously? That seems hard to believe ...
-I saw absolutely nothing ... My visor was fogged.
- Did the pressure you had behind bother you at some point?
-No not at all. I know Jones approached me when I ran into Keke Rosberg up front. It was a real ordeal to spend it. But then I ran away. The situation was pretty much under control.
Obviously, neither Jones nor Frank Williams, owner and director of the team, accepted the explanations ...
Time proved right to those who thought that Reutemann's rebellious act - despite the fact that he claimed not to have seen the poster - would complicate his relationship with the English team. Something that was exposed with certain decisions that the squad made later at key moments of the year, such as when it decided to change tire supplier (from Michelin it went on to use Goodyear) ...
Coincidence or not, the truth is that Reutemann reached the last competition race in 1981, the Eastern United States Grand Prix in Las Vegas, with options to become champion, but his car did not live up to the definition.
“In Las Vegas the deal was impossible towards me. They didn't ask me anything, they didn't seem interested in anything I could say. The feeling it gave me is that the whole team was doing their best to try to convince Jones not to retire and to keep racing for them, and they didn't even care about the current championship. For me, it was really irritating. Especially considering that he had made pole position. Amazing", Lole told months after losing the crown, which was left for the Brazilian Nelson Piquet (Brabham) by a point advantage.
THERE WAS NO CONTRACT, BUT ...
Several years after the 1981 Brazilian GP incident, the own Frank Williams he told the magazine STROKE how he lived that episode: “The plan from the beginning of the year was for Alan to have a chance to win the championship. There was no contract between the team and its two drivers, but it was assumed that Carlos had to help Alan win the title again. In that race in Brazil, Carlos took the lead and refused to switch places with Alan. The Brazilian public did not like the situation and in Argentina the people hated the orders given by the team ”.
FROM MICHELIN TO GOODYEAR: AN UNNECESSARY CHANGE
Carlos Reutemann always assured that the change of tire supplier in the middle of the season was one of the situations that he never managed to understand. Williams's strategic decision that causes me to lose the championship is when the team stops using Michelin and goes to Goodyear. That decision was very wrong and I even have a doubt - a serious doubt - if there was nothing else behind it because Brabham, who also used Michelin, quickly adapted to North American tires ”, recalled at the time the Santa Fe. “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 Goodyear five or six ... That was the core of the question, as well as an internal issue that had become tense ...he admitted.