8 Dec 2004
On 8th December 2004, a surprise test took place at the Fiorano track; unusual not because a Formula 1 car was running out of season, which was the norm back then, but rather because of who was the driver. In the cockpit of the F2004 that Michael Schumacher and the Scuderia had only recently taken to a fifth consecutive double world title, having won 15 of 18 races, was no young talent, but instead a man who, thirty years earlier had played an important part in the team’s history, Carlos Reutemann.
The Argentinian had arrived in Maranello the previous day to rediscover the team with which he’d been a front runner in the second half of the Seventies. Reutemann was a race driver from the end of 1976 to 1978, winning one Constructors’ crown in 1977 and five Grands Prix. Welcomed by the Managing Director Jean Todt, Reutemann visited both the Gestione Sportiva and the Gestione Industriale and had a phone conversation with President Montezemolo, who was in China at the time. It was in fact a conversation with the sporting director about his experience as a Ferrari man that led to the idea of him taking a turn in the car that had won that year’s Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles. So, the following morning, Reutemann arrived in Fiorano where engineers and mechanics were awaiting him for a really unusual test. On his feet were the same shoes he used when he was racing and on his head, a helmet with his old colours of yellow and blue. Lole did a handful of runs, completing a total of 17 laps.
“It was an unforgettable experience,” said Reutemann afterwards. “I want to thank Ferrari for organising this run, even though it’s a holiday today and for allowing me to feel these emotions and I really had a lot of fun! The car is impressive, especially in terms of the power of the engine. It’s a whole new world compared to the cars I drove in my day. On the television, today’s Formula 1 car can look easy, but having tried it for myself, I can say that’s not the case!”