Ecclestone tells ‘truth’ about 1981 F1 injustice

Former F1 driver Carlos Reutemann’s daughter says she is glad that Bernie Ecclestone confessed to interfering in the outcome of the 1981 world championship.

In his early days of running the sport, Ecclestone doubled as owner of the Brabham team – whose Nelson Piquet arrived at the Las Vegas finale locked in a title battle with Williams’ Reutemann.

“After the first day of practice it was obvious that the drivers were going to have problems with neck pain,” former F1 supremo Ecclestone said in a new documentary about his life called Lucky.

“Carlos was speaking to the masseur in the pits. I went to see that person and after a financial discussion they decided to favour Nelson instead.

“We won the championship and that was the end for Carlos who stopped racing soon after. I don’t know if I ever told him that,” Ecclestone, 92, added.

Reutemann, who later became a prominent Argentinean politician and died in 2021, ultimately lost the 1981 title to Ecclestone’s driver by a single point.

When told about the masseur story, Reutemann’s daughter Cora told Cadena 3 radio: “I already knew that.

“Not just what he confessed about the masseur, but something far more serious, which is that the Brabham was unfit for racing because of the prohibited ground effect.

“The day before my father died, I sent Bernie a message asking him to be honest with my father and tell him before he passed away that he was the true champion of 1981.

“Unfortunately, he died the next day and the matter remained in limbo. I never imagined it would have such significance as it does now.

“Bernie told me I could ask him anything I needed,” Cora added. “I asked him to tell the truth. He did it publicly, which is much better.”

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