BUENOS AIRES — Former Method One driver and Argentine politician Carlos Reutemann, who competed for greater than a decade on the high of world motorsports, died on Wednesday aged 79.

Reutemann had undergone surgical procedure in New York for a hepatic tumor in 2017 and struggled to regain full well being.

“Dad left in peace and dignity after combating like a champion with a robust and noble coronary heart that accompanied him to the top,” his daughter Cora tweeted.

In a profession marked by brilliance behind the wheel and cussed single-mindedness but additionally an absence of consistency, Reutemann was thought of the best Argentine driver after five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio whose heyday was within the Fifties.

The son of a cattle rancher from Santa Fe province, Reutemann completed runner-up within the Method One championship to Brazilian Nelson Piquet in 1981 after coming third in 1975, 1978 and 1980.

“He was a giant a part of our sport for a few years and was a fighter to the top. He might be vastly missed,” Method One stated in an announcement.

The Argentine broke into Method One in 1972 and joined Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham workforce alongside then twice world champion Graham Hill. He made a sensational debut, placing his automotive in pole place for his house grand prix in Buenos Aires earlier than ending seventh.

He additionally raced for Ferrari, main the Italian workforce’s problem in 1978 after being overshadowed by Niki Lauda in 1977, after which joined Lotus in 1979. That proved a poor resolution, with Ferrari ending first and second in that 12 months’s championship and Reutemann a distant sixth.

He then moved to Williams in 1980.

“We’re saddened to be taught of the passing of our former driver Carlos Reutemann, winner of three Grands Prix for Williams throughout his profession. Our ideas exit to his household and buddies at this troublesome time,” Williams Racing tweeted.

In 1981, he famously ignored workforce directions in Brazil, refusing to let Alan Jones cross for the win, however led the championship forward of the finale in Las Vegas the place he certified on pole.

Reutemann then light within the race, gained by Jones, and Piquet grew to become champion by a single level.

Nicknamed “Lole” in a mangled reference to his love for pigs — “los lechones” in Spanish — he left the game abruptly after the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1982 having raced in 146 grands prix, with 12 wins and 46 podium finishes.

After attempting his hand within the World Rally Championship in 1985, Reutemann turned to politics and was elected governor for Santa Fe province, serving 1991-1995 and 1999-2003.

In 2003, he was elected senator for Santa Fe and re-elected in 2009 and 2015. He declined to run for president in 2002, despite the fact that polls confirmed he would have been a number one candidate.

Identified for his indifference to fame, he failed to point out at his personal e book launch in 1998, after working for years with a ghost author. “That is Reutemann,” the author Alfredo Parga stated on the time.