Argentinian F1 driver Carlos Reutemann, one of a number of F1's "nearly men" turns 72 years old today.
Reutemann competed in 146 F1 races, notching up a whopping 45 podiums with 12 wins. By the end of his excellent career he had amassed 310 World Championship points, whilst placing consistently amongst the very top drivers fighting it out for the title. The 1981 season was particularly heartbreaking for Reutemann, missing out on the title in the final race. Notably, he is one of just four F1 drivers to achieve a pole position on his debut when he put his Brabham on pole in front of his home crowd in the 1972 Argentine Grand Prix.
Ferrari, Brabham, Lotus, and Williams F1 cars can all claim to have been piloted by Reutemann during his career, but he also drove in his native Rally of Argentina on a couple of occasions. At the wheel of a Fiat, and later a Peugeot, he drove superbly to take two third places positions. For a long time he was the only driver to score points in both F1 and WRC, until a certain Finn by the name of Kimi Raikkonen achieved the same feat.
After the conclusion of his racing career he became involved in politics, and he was eventually appointed Governor of Santa Fe. Santa Fe is a large and important province of Argentina, and whilst governing the region his profile grew to the point whereby he was being considered as a presidential candidate. To the disappointment of many he repeatedly declined to run for president. During his two stints as Governor of Santa Fe, he was popular with the people, and kept the province stable through difficult economic times, which deserves credit.
Carlos Reutemann appears to be a shining example of the phrase "you never know where life will take you". He could have been both a World Champion and a President. In the end he was neither, but that has never stopped him remaining popular with both the people of Argentina and F1 fans worldwide. It remains to be seen what he will do next, but until then... Happy Birthday Carlos! Have a Quilmes on me! Cheers!