Rubens Barrichello

17th Janruary 2012, Bruno Senna gets a seat at Williams for the 2012 Season leaving Rubens Barrichello with no seat. With Rubens Barrichello racking up more than 326 racesto his name, More races than any other driver, Ben Sweeney’s F1 Blog decided it was worth writing an article to sum up the great Brazilians fascinating career. Enjoy!

Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 23rd May 1972 to Rubens (Snr.) and Idely Barrichello.  Barrichello won five Karting titles in Brazil before going to Europe to race in the Formula Vauxhall Lotus series in 1990. In his first year, he won the championship, a feat he replicated the following year in the British Formula 3 Championship, beating David Coulthard. He very nearly joined Formula One at just 19 years of age. Instead he competed in Formula 3000 in 1992.

As a young, aspiring driver, Barrichello looked up to the late Ayrton Senna, and when he joined Formula One, Senna in return considered him his protégé.

Barrichello had a very good rookie year, with Jordan. In his third race, the European Grand Prix, he started from 12th place in very wet conditions but was fourth by the end of the first lap. He ran as high as second and was running third, having passed the Williams of Damon Hill and Alain Prost, before encountering a fuel pressure problem. Despite his obvious talent, his Jordan’s reliability was poor, and he finished only 8 of the 16 races for 1993. Barrichello regularly outpaced his more experienced teammates, Ivan Capelli and Thierry Boutsen. In the French Grand Prix, he almost scored his first grand prix point (and the team’s first that year) only for Michael Andretti to pass Barrichello for the sixth and final point-paying position on the final lap. His only points finish of the season came at the Japanese Grand Prix with fifth place, ahead of his new teammate Eddie Irvine. Barrichello finished 1993 with two points and in eighteenth place.

Barrichello remained with Jordan for 1994 and started well with a fourth place in Brazil and a third place at Aida, which earned him his maiden podium position. These results put Barrichello in second place in the drivers’ ranking at that moment, behind Michael Schumacher, who had won the two races.

However, Imola has a very bad safety record and Barrichello was relatively lucky for the following day during qualifying, Austrian driver, Roland Ratzenberger was killed when he lost control of his Simtek at the Villeneuve curva. The followng day, Barrichello’s mentor Ayrton Senna lost control of his Williams at Tamburello. The Brazilian remained motionless in the cockpit and efforts by on track doctors to save his life, failed.

Despite this deep personal loss, Barrichello recovered his confidence and raced strongly, having good races and taking pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix, and leading some laps at Estoril. His pole position at Spa-Francorchamps set the record for the youngest driver to secure pole position at that time. He concluded the season with fourth place in Adelaide. He finished the season sixth with 19 points

Barrichello’s 1995 campaign was highlighted by a second place finish in Montreal, but the Jordan cars were even less reliable than in 1994. In three races Barrichello lost seven points on the final lap, a collision at Silverstone, and mechanical failures at Barcelona and in Hungary. Barrichello finished the season in 11th with 11 points.

Jordan kept Barrichello and Hired Martin Brundle for 1996 and hopes were high. Barrichello was amongst the frontrunners in Brazil, before spinning off after his brakes overheated. However as the season went on, The Jordan became less competitive. And Barrichello’s relationship with Eddie Jordan spiraled. His final season at Jordan resulted in 14 points. Barrichello joined Stewart for 1997.

1997 was a difficult first year for the team, and Barrichello finished only three races out of the 17 races held. However, He did manage a second place finish in Monaco, which put him 13th in the standings. Teammate Jan Magnussen scored no points. The same year, Barrichello married Silvana Giaffone on 24 February.

1998 was not much better for Stewart, with two fifth places being the team’s best results. Despite the poor reliability of the team, Barrichello performed well and consistently beat teammate Magnussen, which resulted in the latter being dropped at the French Grand Prix, replaced by Jos Verstappen, Who Barrichello beat aswell.

In 1999, After two tough years for Stewart, they finally had a good year. Barrichello partnered Johnny Herbert. He qualified third at his home race in Brazil, outpacing double world champion Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari, and led some laps, until his engine blew near ‘Subida dos Boxes’. He also took pole position in the wet qualifying session in France and three podium finishes, at the San Marino, French, and European Grands Prix. His team-mate won the European Grand Prix. Despite this, Barrichello again outpaced his teammate. Over the course of the year, he caught the eye of Ferrari boss Jean Todt.

In 2000, Rubens raced alongside Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. Barrichello also achieved his first grand prix victory at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim demonstrating why he is rated as one of the best wet weather drivers, when he and the team choose to stay on slick tyres when it was raining on part of the circuit. This risky call saw him jump the McLarens who chose to pit for wet weather tires, thus earning him a well-deserved and emotional victory, having started the race from 18th place on the grid. This was the longest any driver in Formula One history has waited for a maiden grand prix win. Barrichello had a consistent debut season for Ferrari, finishing most races on the podium, but was outscored by the other three reliable drivers, Team-mate Michael Schumacher and the two McLaren’s of Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard. Despite achieving his first race win, Rubens had to spend most of the season supporting Michael Schumacher with Barrichello finishing the season in 4th place with 62 points

Barrichello stayed with Ferrari for 2001 and once again partnered Michael Schumacher. Barrichello’s second season with Ferrari failed to produce a win, with him coming close in Ferrari’s home race – Monza – Before the Ferrari pit crew had a bad stop and handed the win to Williams, Juan Pablo Montoya. Barrichello again put all his efforts into supporting Michael Schumacher but this did result in Schumacher winning the championship and Ferrari winning the constructors championship. Rubens finished the season in 3rd place with 56 points.

Barrichello’s success at Ferrari continued in 2002, when he won four races for the team. The year was marked by controversy, however, when Ferrari ordered Barrichello to move over for Schumacher on the final straight of the Austrian Grand Prix to take victory. Schumacher exchanged podium places with Barrichello at the podium ceremony and gave Barrichello the winner’s trophy. The drivers were fined for disrupting podium protocol and Ferrari’s blatant team orders led to the FIA banning team orders beginning in 2003. In America, Schumacher (Who was leading) Tried to entertain the fans on the final straight and have a drag race between him and Barrichello (Who was 2nd). However, Barrichello caught him out and won the race by 0.011 seconds.

In 2003, Barrichello claimed wins at  Silverstone and Suzuka, and again played a crucial role in helping Schumacher and Ferrari win the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. He finished the season in 4th with 65 points.

In the 2004 season, Barrichello finished second behind Schumacher in only seven of the first thirteen races, but won the Italian and Japanese Grand Prix’s. He finished the season in second place in the championship with 114 points, 14 podiums and two wins.

In the 2005 season, Ferrari lacked the pace of previous years because of the changing of tyre rules. Ferrari used Bridgestone tyres, which were less effective than those of their competitors Michelin. Barrichello’s best results this season were two second places in Melbourne and then at the controversial United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis in which only the six cars with Bridgestone tyres were allowed to race. He finished the season in eighth place in the drivers’ standing with 38 points.

For 2006, Barrichello left Ferrari and joined Honda where he partnered Jenson Button. For the first part of the season, Button outraced Barrichello. In Monaco, Barrichello nearly achieved his first podium with the team before he received a drive-through for speeding in the pitlane and he finished 4th. In Hungary, Team mate Jenson Button secured his first race win. His best qualifying came in China when he qualified 3rd ahead of Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. He finished the season in 7th place with 30 points, 26 points behind Button.

In 2007, Both Barrichello and Button stayed at Honda. Barrichello had a bad season due to the teams lack of pace. He only retired twice but his best finish was only 9th place in Britain. He also only qualified in the top ten, once. He finished the season in 20th place with 0 points.

Barrichello in the 2008 British Grand Prix

In 2008, Despite the bad 2007 season, Honda kept Barrichello, where he again partnered Jenson Button. Barrichello had a bad start to 2008, Being disqualified in the first race at Australia for ignoring a red light in the pits. In Turkey, Barrichello raced his 257th F1 race where he beat Patrese’s record of 256 races, Becoming the most experienced driver on the grid. Barrichello scored his first points of 2008 at the Monaco Grand Prix. In Silverstone, Barrichello had an amazing performance in wet weather to get 3rd place, after starting 16th! This was Barrichello’s first podium since 2005. The rest of the season yielded no points and Barrichello finished the 2008 season in 14th with 11 points.

On December 5th 2008, Honda announced that they were quitting Formula One. This meant that Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button were both left without a drive for 2009. At the last minute, On March 5th, Ross Brawn bought the team, keeping both Barrichello and Button. Brawn GP had an amazing start. Button took six of the first seven races while Barrichello took three 2nd places, one 4th, two 5th’s and a DNF. He also won the European Grand Prix and Italian Grand Prix. In a soaked Brazil, Barrichello claimed pole. His hopes of finally winning his home race were destroyed when he suffered a puncture. Barrichello’s team mate, Button won the championship. Barrichello finished the season with 77 points (Same as 2002) And in 3rd place in the championship.

Depite the success, Neither Barrichello or Button stayed at Brawn (Which changed to Mercedes) for 2010. Barrichello went to Williams to partner Nico Hulkenburg and Button went to McLaren.

Barrichello scored 7 points in the first eight races. In Europe, He had a great performance, finishing in 4th place, scoring 12 points for the team. He also got 5th place in Britain, 6th place in Singapore, 7th place in Korea, 9th place in Japan and 10th place in Hungary and Italy. In Hungary, He was thrown into controversy when his former team mate, Michael Schumacher moved pushed him within inches off a concrete wall. Barrichello finished 2010 with 47 points and 10th overall.

Barrichello stayed with Williams for 2011 and partnered Venezuelan rookie Pastor Maldonado. In 2011, Williams had their worst ever season in Formula One. Barrichello’s best position was 9th which he got back-to-back in Monaco and Canada. He finished the season with 17th place with 4 points.

On January 17th, it was announced that Bruno Senna would take Barrichello’s seat for 2012. Ironically, It was Ayrton Senna who helped Barrichello get started in Formula One. Then his nephew came along and ended it.

On January 30th and 31st, Barrichello tested an IndyCar car for KV Racing with a possibility that the Brazilian may get into IndyCar. Barrichello said that It was a possibility, But that he still dreams of getting back into F1.

Will Barrichello get back into F1, Lets hope so.

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