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When on Sunday, March 21, 1982, the Formula 1 Grand Prix was held at the Jacarepaguá racetrack, the least imagined by the staunch Argentine fans of the highest automotive specialty was that afternoon the story of the connational runners participating in the specialty ended that afternoon with some chance of enshrining in a category, which like most things, ended up manipulated by a globalization in which only annual turnover matters and those who financially hold an automobile context increasingly governed by money than sports talent.
That noon, totally devastated by what happened last year on the Las Vegas circuit, Carlos Reutemann understood the message of his heart, the family requests not to suffer the enormous industrial pressures existing, a sequence in which he barely came down from his Williams Ford after a mu collision multiple with Elio de Angelis Lotus, René Arnoux's Renault and Mc Laren by Niki Lauda, knew that everything had come to an end. During those short seconds when the recent arrival tevé color showed the white car of the prestigious Argentine rider, followers of a specialty that today looks devalued in this new millennium, understood sad that the colossal dream had come to an end.
Those 21 laps in a racetrack, which was demolished very few seasons ago, were the last time a runner born in our nation had not only the chance to run in the highest specialty, but to get a world title that since the end of 1958 has been absolutely elusive to the desire of the fans and the world race. aacute; local ticos of the category. That afternoon, when in the pits of the English team the Argentine runner meditated on the decision and communicated it to Frank Williams, it was confirmed that the bad luck that marked every season of the fantastic and cerebral Santa Fe pilot was preparing him a horrible and devastating signal of his misfortune, when Finnish teammate Keke Rosberg aboard the same car won the championship with just a single triumph in that year.
Denostado at the time, criticized to paroxysm and victim of the worst mockery of society and the media for his unfortunate participation in various teams of the number one category par excellence without obtaining the highest crown, Carlos Alberto Reutemann became without know after his abandonment in Brazil, in the last driver that allowed the huge number of national fans of the category, the idea of seeing a connational climbing to the top of the podium and of course fight for the title against a lot of rivals who had prestige and an automotive medium relatively similar.
The Santafesino motorist who won his nickname “Lole” during his youth working in the fields of that province (abbreviated mote of his task with Los Pigones), received the worst battery of reviews that are remembered by those dark times in the early 80's, when he was only missing ; that some popular cry demanded his crucifixion nothing less than in Obelisk, adversity that the talented pilot maneuvered with the backing of his family and the beginning of a political career that led him to the governorate of his province two decades later. He could have more the affection and respect that the provincial corridor reaped throughout his life with the people of that province to achieve that prominent government post, than the inexhaustible hatred of a vintage sector of “pre-haters” that did not hesitate to call it again and again as “mufa” for all these adverse circumstances where by the design of destiny, the ventura did not accompany him in his desire to consecrate himself champion.
With Juan Manuel Fangio 's unbearable emotional ghost crushing his backs with his five world titles in the 1950s, Carlos Alberto Reutemann maneuvered a time where in Formula 1 the corridor's capacity on the vehicle mattered far more than the automotive power or structure of those cars from the old millennium. That runner-up achieved in the North American city of eternal timba, where he lost that last chance of being champion by just one point against his rival, also left a moral lesson that today would have been described as stupid, since Reutemann there in Las Vegas far from throwing his car against Nelson Piquet to cause a double abandonment, did what was appropriate without hindering the undeniable power of the rival car, allowing overpassage without a disqualifying action. The insults that Lole won that afternoon do not fit along the long Avenida Rivadavia in its Buenos Aires stretch.
In the glory time when Carlos Reutemann was an unavoidable benchmark in the country of this very competitive category, Argentina had achieved thanks to the image generated by the great Santafesino pilot in the world to place two young connationals participating in a specialty where dreams aimed at form a large squad of Argentine runners assuring their experience beyond traditional technical issues. The ten years of the talented Santafesino driver with 146 races, 12 wins and 300 points accumulated in the different seasons, devalued as much as his runner-up in 1982 by the mediocrity of some communicators, then by those things of fate became an olympus absolutely unattainable for any corridor of our nation. The young Sanjuanino driver Ricardo Zunino participated in 11 races without ever achieving a Tyrrel or Brabham a leading position, while Buenos Aires racer Miguel Ángel Guerra barely traveled 400 meters with his Osella in the San Marino Grand Prix, experience as brief as disappointing for expectations of that pilot, two different experiences that at that time also augured the desire to have an Argentine racer climbed to those cars of enormous precision and spectacularity on the tracks.
The history of the Argentine riders participating in the highest specialty was resumed in the period 1988 — 1989 when Santafesino racer Oscar Rubén Larrauri was able to participate in Formula 1 with a vehicle from the EuroBrun team, eight great prizes in which he could never score points and only appeared on the broadcast screen when the lenses were focusing his abandoned car to the side of the track. The presence of the Santafesino runner would be the last opportunity to see an Argentine athlete running in the 80's in a category that at that time experienced a range of transformations in technician, times where equally with rare exceptions, there was a lot of parity both in the days qualifiers, as in the competitions every Sunday. Eight years after Larrauri's participation, again the Argentines had the possibility to appreciate at least four races of the highest specialty to the reef Norberto Edgardo Fontana, who aboard a Sauber suffered a very unstable vehicle that did not allow the young man runner achieve his goal of consolidating, quickly leaving this team before the decision of the team manager who preferred to give the opportunity to a driver who came with better professional background.
The last drivers who were able to get on after a lot of sacrifice to Formula 1, at least they were competing for quite a long time to appreciate their evolution in this specialty. The Buenos Aires driver Esteban Tuero participated with a Minardi during the 1998 season, running in 16 grand prizes, achieving as his best place an eighth place (not scoring) in the Imola Grand Prix, competing with a vehicle that was always half the platoon to the back. Getting a seat in the top category at that time, gained him the exciting chance to meet Michael Schumacher and play in his usual pre-race football matches, having dinner one night at a meeting in which Mick Jagger took part. Twenty-three years after that time integrating the major circus of motorsport , the present paradoxically finds the Buenos Aires driver Esteban Tuero working from Monday to Friday in a company that sells auto parts for trucks and collectives, a brutal contrast with the luxuries of participating in the top category of motorsport . Two years after Tuero's experience in the Minardi F1 team, the chance to see an Argentine race happened with the arrival of platense motorist Gastón Mazzacane, who entered Minardi, awakening quite a lot of expectations taking into account that by that time this team had has been able to improve the technical quality of the vehicle compared to previous seasons.
However, during 2000, Gastón Mazzacane suffered a subverting car that had him mistreated throughout that season, constantly located at the bottom of the platoon losing laps with his rivals who passed it like a post. La Plata's decision to leave Minardi happened when the great French driver Alain Prost offered him to be part of his team, but in the fourth race of 2001, sponsoring problems left him out of the Prost team while a Brazilian runner took his place only for the sponsors who supported him. At the same moment that Gastón Mazzacane was soon leaving the San Marino Grand Prix, Formula 1 was definitively closed for any Argentine rider, category where changes of structures, technical renovations, but above all the renovation of its structure in the commercial led to the speciality becoming a pilot site with financial backing several times high in dollars. Those who had the hypnotic pleasure of trying an F1 in recent years were first José María “Pechito” López, who climbed to a Williams during an exhibition at the Autodromo Gálvez, during a great weekend with the “200 km TC 2000”, while the other driver to test a car of that category was Ricardo Risatti, who turned with a Toyota TF 106/9 on Paul Ricard's remarkable French circuit, an experience that team programmed to check the evolution of that vehicle with the Argentine runner turning just over 60 laps, who at that time had been awarded the Spanish Formula 3 championship.
Why did Argentine drivers stop running in Formula 1? There are two reasons that become inescapable in the analysis, but one stands out on the other unfailingly in order to establish a central cause in the absence of runners of our nation in the highest sports category... It is necessary to go back to the history of Reutemann as a guide to what was happening 40 years ago and what is happening today, two times when a pilot's financial backing had competing behaviors for an upward figure of a country could get on the most desired car in the world Since his debut in 1971 driving an ascending McLaren, sequence that found him later running with Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams until his farewell to the circuits in 1981, the commercial contributions a pilot could contribute to the budget of a team they were not so decisive, because in the old millennium the teams invested knowing that sooner or later they would recover the invested. At that time the big runners obtained at best, annual remuneration that today would be hopefully, barely 20 percent of what a current F1 driver earns a month in the 2021 season. After the serious financial crisis that Europe experienced at the beginning of the new millennium, coupled with the ban on tobacco sponsors, a law that hit the Ferrari brand in the absence of the company that supported it with hundreds of millions, things became complicated parallel to the growth of the cachet of the top pilots and the reorientation that the most powerful companies did for their ampulous marketing campaigns. The eleven years that Reutemann showed his talent with 12 victories, 45 podiums and six pole in 144 races, history with a traumatic runner-up achieved in 1981, corresponded to moments in a category where the contributions of sponsors varied according to each team.
With the growth of the Internet, new marketing structures and a reformulation of the category's business context with a Bernie Ecclestone, more than ever become the messiah of the specialty, the teams met the devastating need to have extra funds to support their costs. The transformed times of F1 when Norberto Fontana, Esteban Tuero and Gastón Mazzacane ran unappealably showed that to get into a car of that category had to put many millions of dollars, a very expensive advertising investment that many firms abandoned in the start of the century to contribute, understanding that, with less than half of those sums, they would still have a latent presence in the industrial sector. Noting that the contribution of many millions to promote its firm abroad, culminated within a few seconds with countless abandonments starring Argentine riders or worse yet, colliding their vehicles in an ampolous way making the ridicule a film of moebius, many sponsors they put their capitals in mass events such as recitals, conventions of some specialties or television broadcasting of certain events such as the Super Bowl, the Victoria Secret parade or the Oscar Awards, which reported more ratings than the abulic broadcasts of the beginning of the millennium. Formula 1 ceased to be an attractive investment channel and those who took their place were mobile phone signatures, occupying the space of breweries or the heavily hit tobacco factories in this structural transformation.
Neither did the national companies want to invest in such a structure, after the highest category ceased to appear in our country, understanding that it did not contribute that activity if it did not have a local echo. The devastating crisis of the world provoked at that time after the fall of the “Twin Towers”, reactions seen in perspective not only do not surprise, but were predictable understanding the future of the specialty. The place of the añejos sponsoring over the years was occupied by certain structures linked to the oil emporium of the Arab Emirates, a conglomerate of firms or companies commanded by billionaires sheikhs, who saw there a platform for the construction of the marketplace of their structures and commercial expansions. Therefore, it was not surprising that, in recent years, Formula 1 ended up running on new tracks in those countries, racdromes with huge technical infrastructure and improvements of an unbeatable operational quality, but that do not have the emotional temperature of the old and mythical circuits of Europe where the category made history in an unforgettable way.
All these changes in the commercial action of the category also affected the attitude of companies with regard to this specialty, a present where the attractive presence of an automotive infrastructure like this, was amputated from rennet when since 1999 Argentina lost its usual headquarters to receive this category, before a local economy that, when it comes to prioritizing the destiny of its investments, preferred to drop the usual date that Formula 1 made a week after running in Brazil. Drivers today arrive at the specialty with the support of very powerful entrepreneurs, no longer does it matter if they have great quality to drive these vehicles, but a person or great structure that does not hesitate to put tens of millions of the US currency for it. The example of this position was seen in Ferrari last year when it came to assembling his competitive duo: German tetracampeon Sebastián Vettel lost his armchair to youth Charles Leclerc, coincidentally the son of the main owner of the Monte Carlo casinos. Another serious precedent in this millennium was the participation of the mediocre Venezuelan corridor Pastor Maldonado, who was known to have participated sponsored by entities that are now accused of oil trafficking and other illegal acts. That is why and recognizing the serious economic crisis in our territory, today the chance to see an Argentine pilot running in Formula 1 ceased to be a utopia, to eternally become something impossible and sad at the same time.
Publication Date: 30/04/2021
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