Rubens Barrichello: Sometimes nice guys finish first


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A jubilant Barrichello celebrates his maiden win at Hockenheim in 2000

The news that Bruno Senna will drive for Williams this year appears to spell the end for the career of the most experienced F1 driver of all time.

Rubens Barrichello’s near-two decades of service in Formula 1 and seemingly insatiable passion for racing have won him many admirers. Even as he nears his 40th birthday, he retains his appetite for competition.

That much was clear when I asked Barrichello about his passion for racing last year: “I’m so enthusiastic about my job,” he said. “I’m so excited about going flat-out in the car.

“If you only have experience, you don’t have the will to do it. I’m running with the young guys and I don’t care, I’m going flat out, I’m enjoying myself.”

Just thinking about getting back behind the wheel was enough to crack a broad grin across his face. But his reputation as the ‘nice guy’ as Formula 1 hasn’t always served him well on the track – and never more so when it came up against the cynicism of Michael Schumacher-era Ferrari.

Strained faces on the podium at Austria in 2002

Ferrari’s insistence that Barrichello support Schumacher’s title ambitions were first made clear at Austria in 2001 when he was told to surrender second place to his team mate. Afterwards he insisted the team would not order him to do the same if he was leading the race.

At the same race 12 months later this claim was exposed as being utterly false. To a chorus of boos, Barrichello was once again ordered to yield to Schumacher, this time giving up victory. It mattered not that Schumacher had almost double the points of any other driver on his arrival at the A1-Ring.

Barrichello’s reputation was stained by his willingness to play the number two role. He received particularly scathing criticism at home, where to some his actions made him an unworthy successor to the likes of Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and the venerated Ayrton Senna.

When Barrichello left Ferrari at the end of 2005 – with questionable timing given that Schumacher followed him 12 months later – it seemed he would never again be a championship contender. Better days lay ahead, but they were some way off.

He spent three seasons with Honda, but in that time the team produced two supremely woeful cars. Nonetheless in 2008 an inspired drive by Barrichello in dire conditions at Silverstone put the RA108 – a car which didn’t even belong in the top ten – on the podium.

Barrichello with Senna in 1993

Wet conditions often brought out the best in Barrichello: whether it was holding a podium position in his third F1 start at Donington Park in 1993 before his Jordan ran out of fuel, or clinching an emotional second place for Stewart at Monaco in 1997, or his even-more-emotional first win in the drizzle at Hockenheim in 2000.

It is likely that, had Honda continued in 2009, Barrichello would have lost his seat to Bruno Senna then instead of yesterday. But Honda pulled the plug, Ross Brawn and Nick Fry staged an 11th-hour rescue of the team, and Barrichello was retained as a safe pair of hands alongside Jenson Button.

There were times in 2009 where Barrichello seemed to sense he was getting the number two treatment again. He was infuriated by the team’s strategy at Barcelona and the Nurburgring. But at times he proved a match for Button, ending a five-year victory drought in Valencia, and out-racing his team mate at Monza.

Barrichello’s best hope of starting a 20th season now rest with HRT, where the last ‘official’ place for 2012 remains. He and Pedro de la Rosa could give the squad a driver line-up with a combined age of 80 come the season-opener at Melbourne.

But a career that has spanned over 300 starts and 11 Grand Prix wins does not need a depressing coda featuring him circulating at the back of the pack, even further away from the front runners than he was with Williams last year.

Last year's Brazilian Grand Prix may have been his last

At last year’s season finale in his home city of Sao Paulo, Barrichello made few concessions to the possibility that it might be his final race.

A conspicuous exception was the donning of a helmet in the colours of his friend and idol Ayrton Senna. By a strange quirk of fortune, it is Senna’s nephew who has replaced Barrichello at Williams.

“I wish my friend all the best,” said Barrichello on Twitter after the news was announced. A nice guy to the last.

If the name ‘Barrichello’ is missing from the entry list for round one for the first time in 20 years, his absence will be felt.

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Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Williams/LAT, Williams/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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126 comments on “Rubens Barrichello: Sometimes nice guys finish first”

  1. It breaks my heart that Rubens didn’t have a farewell season or even race.
    Sad to see you go this way Rubinho, you deserve better :(

    1. He had a farewell race on a plate right under his nose…he just chose not to take it.

      Nevertheless, a remarkable career, and you wonder if this could be matched given the amount of seats lower down the grid that are pay seats these days.

      1. His record may well be beaten. Vettel has started 81 races already and he is only 24. If he carries on racing till he is 40 he could start well over 400 races!

        1. Vettel himself said that he has no intention of having such a long career.

        2. No offence to rubens, but drivers at the peak end don’t wish to hang around that long as they have nothing left to prove. With the exception of one insecure German that is.

          1. I don’t think MS is insecure. He’s racing again because he loves it, and because, despite his declining powers, he still has something to offer.

    2. Let’s hope he gets it. Best-case scenario now is that Caterham drop Trulli and Rubens gets the seat, but it’s looking likely it will be Petrov in that seat if Trulli was to go. Come on Caterham! :P

      1. As a Caterham fan, it would be an honor to see Rubinho drive for the team.

        I’ve got two things on my mind I may not have said before. One, for as long as Schumacher has a place is Formula 1, Barrichello deserves one as well. Two, as proven in 2009, Rubinho still has a LOT to give.

        People may disagree with me all they want, it wont change my mind.

  2. Ferrari’s insistence that Barrichello support Schumacher’s title ambitions were first made clear at Austria in 2001 when he was told to surrender second place to his team mate. Afterwards he insisted the team would not order him to do the same if he was leading the race.

    At the same race 12 months later this claim was exposed as being utterly false. To a chorus of boos, Barrichello was once again ordered to yield to Schumacher, this time giving up victory.

    In Barrichello’s defence, he did say that he had been given the order several laps from the end, but ignored it. Ferrari apparently wanted to make it look like Barrichello had some kind of mechanical issue or was losing grip. When it became obvious that he was not going to follow the order, Jean Todt or Luca di Montezemolo (allegedly) got on the radio and held Barrichello’s contract with the team hostage – if he didn’t move over, there would be serious consequences. Nobody has ever said what those consequences might have been, but it was implied that if Barrichello did not move over and let Schumacher through, his career would be over. Barrichello never intended to follow the order, but was quickly put in a position where he had no choice but to do so.

    1. Barrichello is the one driver I’d love to see write a book. One can only imagine the sort of stuff he’s been hiding from the world all of this time…

      Actually, scap that; Rubens needs his own movie!

      1. Daivd Hyde Pierce IS Rubens Barrichello!

        1. Agreed – our household nickname for him is Frasier.

          1. Not wanting to split hairs but, David Hyde Pierce was Niles. Frasier was Kelsey Grammer.

      2. Wow, A Rubens book would reveal so much about F1 behind the scenes.

        1. Apparently RB has already said, and I think it was around the time MS announced his return to F1, that he would be writing a tell-all book once he left F1. He said that we don’t know the half of what went on at Ferrari while he was there.

      3. Alonsomatic (@the0506alonsomatic)
        19th January 2012, 2:46

        I think the best part of the book would involve long conversations he had with Senna… GLORIOUS!!

    2. it was jean todt who give him the order he said “It’s last lap let Micheal pass for the championship”

    3. If Ferarri and Schumi were so damn good why did they cheat so much

      1. Because team orders weren’t against the rules.

        1. Ergo Ferrari didn’t cheat, and in a weird way, this proves how efficient and successful was the team back then. On the other hand, Rubens’ memories might take some glory from MS. He is already NOT considered the best driver ever, now some of his records might be tainted with accusation of being manufactured and manipulated by the team.

          1. Team orders have always been around…the blatant use of team orders that visually slaps the viewing audience in the face have always been frowned upon. Austria 02 was the most blatant team order and it disgusted the world, embarassed F1, and caused a rule to be written.

            You can try to claim ergo Ferrari didn’t cheat, but that is splitting hairs. They cheated the viewing audience with their daily abuse of team orders that saw RB never a factor as a competitor to MS, by the design and desires of the team, and by a contract.

            It will not take for me to read a book by RB to understand MS’s ‘glory’ is tainted…the actions of the team at the time, not to mention MS’s own rule book type of behaviour on the track, tainted it for me long ago. There is no glory in winning with illegal cars and with a team shovelling more resources to one driver, and ignoring the other driver, moreso than any other driver on any team in the history of F1. The numbers are there as proof that the formula ‘worked’ but it was not glorious, nor honourable, nor sporting. They took it so far that I believe any number of drivers in the same circumstance would have achieved the same numbers under the same circumstances. Yet I also think that said any number of drivers would not have taken all they were given and still insisted on being a bully on the track.

  3. Brilliant article Keith. I’m still denying his career in F1 is over, because without Rubens, the sport will be a sorrier place in my opinion. You could argue he’s had his turn and it’s time to move over, but there’s no denying Rubens still has what it takes to mix it with the best, as we saw throughout 2010.

    Last year was difficult for him, but I firmly believe that if he was in a better car, he would have scored many more points. I sincerely hope we’ve not seen the back of him, because there are few drivers I’ve grown to love more than Rubens Barrichello.

    1. I actually think Rubens would do very well in the political side of the sport. Jean Todt has said he only intends to see out one term as President of the FIA and will not stand for re-election. There is no-one in the FIA who springs to mind as a suitable successor, but I think the way Barrichello knows or has driven for practically everyone in the paddock would be a massive benefit when it comes to managing the politics of the sport. Issues like Bahrain and the renegotiation of the Concorde Agreement would probably be very easy with Rubens at the helm.

      1. Ferrari would not allow that.

        1. Ferrari would have no say in it. They might get a vote in the presidential elections, but so does every other member of the FIA council – and with representatives from every national sporting car club in the world, there are over two hundred members.

          1. It was a joke, man :P!

        2. Haha, good point!

        3. Ferrari doesn’t even get one vote in the FIA Presidential elections – only the heads of the national motorsport and road car clubs affiliated with the FIA get that, and Ferrari isn’t among them.

        4. Even ignoring what the other commenters write about Ferrari not being able to stop such a move, what would make them even want to do that?

          They know Barrichello better than most others, and I would be supprised if Rubens does not have a weak spot for some of the people in the team, and vice versa.

          Not to mention he might make a really compelling ambassador for the sport in that role.

      2. Mr Nice Guy in politics?

    2. I still don’t think he did badly in 2009. He had an eventful race in Australia but finished 2nd, and many times matched Jenson’s pace, and when he learnt more about the car he started beating Jenson, winning when the car was no longer the best. He was a bit inconsistent that year.
      He could’ve won as much as Schumacher has had Michael not existed and had he stayed at Ferrari. Rubens was often just behind him, and although he clearly isn’t the best driver ever he won a good number of races when Michael couldn’t.
      I’m sorry to see him go (hopefully not) also because he was a great character.

    3. He still scored more points tham Moldanado

  4. it is a shame he won’t be here in 2012. I have never known F1 without Barrichello.

  5. Long live Rubinho! Very sad to see him leave the sport in this manner. Hopefully Williams will have the sense to invite him along to Australia so he can have a proper farewell.

    1. Now that would be a very nice touch

      1. Yeh but Williams aren’t exactly renowned for their sentiment and loving treatment of drivers…

  6. Sad but it had to happen some day. He will be missed on the grid, but Barrichello loves F1 too much to not be involved in the race weekend, I could see him becoming to Williams like Schumacher was to Ferrari after he retired, always present as an advisor on the pitwall.

  7. Nice comment.

    Talking Barrichello’s Ferrari years, I think he simply faced the same situation as many F1 drivers before and after him. You actually know that you cannot beat Schumacher / Alonso / Mansell in the same machinery but you’ve got the opportunity to drive for a legendary or simply a very strong team. You have a chance to try. You have the choice: Accept the challenge and risk getting destroyed by your dominant team mate or let the opportunity slip… maybe forever.

    Barrichello was not a match for Schumacher but I believe he did the best he could. He picked up victories when he could and probably always retained the hope to be able to beat the Kaiser some day, maybe hoped to become Ferrari’s no 1 some day (like Eddie Irvine in 1999 or any other way). That didn’t happen but it is unlikely that Rubens would have been able to get better results with any other team, and the bitterness of having to be Ferrari’s number two would have been replaced with the sad realization that he never even tried.

    1. I agree, he was number 2 because maybe on a rare day he was faster than Schumacher but the majority he was slower sometimes embarrassingly slower(Suzuka 2000). That’s not to diminish Rubens as every other team mate Schumacher had was trounced until his comeback against Rosberg.

      I remember in response to Ervine’s goading that when Barrichello signed for Ferrari the big fuss he made how the team said he wasn’t going to be a number two driver and that if he was he wouldn’t have signed.

      But when one driver is clearly better what else is a team going to do? It’s when their drivers are showing equal pace and the team tries to favour one over the other is the real tragedy(Red Bull 2010)

      1. A number One driver is allways going to look alot better than the number 2 driver if the whole team is built around him to serve his needs first and foremost. Its not a suprise to me now Schumacher for the first time has an equal status in a team with another good driver he is no longer dominating them. It is not his age, Schumacher now is the same as he was before. He was not massively better than everyone else.

        1. I’d beg to differ. It is possible to come into someone else’s team and upset the odds by matching them. Barrichello simply didn’t do that and was confined to what we’re seeing Massa go through now.

          And not all comebacks will be successful. Raikkonen could easily come back and struggle to beat Grosjean. Schumacher’s performance now simply does not match up to the driver that retired in 2006 except in fits and bursts.

          1. Not if the team is totaly setup for the number one driver. Give me one example where a clear number 2 has suddenly overthrown his team leader. Schumachers position in Mercedes is so different than his position at Ferrari and Benetton it is imposible to compare. Don’t forget Schumacher made the most passes in 2011 and that is probably more than all the passes he made for Ferrari, Benetton and Jordan combined. He still has it, but now so does his team mate.

          2. @the-last-pope – Schumacher’s replacement, Raikkonen was overthrown in 2008 and 2009 by Massa, who played second fiddle in 2006 and 2007. Even the rookie Hamilton burst onto the scene and effectively overthrew double champion Alonso.

            Don’t forget Schumacher made the most passes in 2011

            That’s a nice stat, but also suggests that his one-lap speed isn’t as good as it was before, leaving him further down in qualifying that he probably should have been.

            I agree that he still has it, but as I said, it’s only there in fits and bursts rather than being as consistent as a top driver in their prime.

          3. @David-A Alonso and Hamilton had equal status at Mclaren thats why Alonso got the hump with Ron Dennis. Riakkonen as Massa also had equal status at Ferrari. The only example I can think of that comes close is Jensen Button when he became Villeneuve’s teammate at BAR but even then the team management switch to Pro-drive helped lower Villeneuve’s position in the team.

          4. @the-last-pope – Hamilton effectively earned himself equal status by exceeding expectations in the first few races (a string of podiums). Had Barrichello been similar, or done what he did in Austria before he ended up 38 points down in the standings, he might have been given a better chance later on.

          5. @David-A Its really not the same situation though, as Alonso hadn’t had time to build the team around him like he has done now at Ferrari. Schumacher had spent 5 whole years creating HIS Ferrari. Barrichello didn’t stand a chance of beating him straight away and then when he was settled in and faster he had defer to Schumacher which deflates the confidence and thus performance drops and starts a vicious circle.

          6. @the-last-pope – Even if the Alonso/Mclaren situation wasn’t exactly the same, I’d still say that if Barrichello (after a promising 1999) was expecting to race against a 2 time champion Michael (and comments of his suggest that he was surprised at receiving the team orders), he should have prepared himself mentally for the challenge of a lifetime. But it took him over 2 years to win a race where Schumacher hadn’t retired. Even his 2009 season fits the pattern, with his inability to make the most of a dominant Brawn.

      2. The real tragedy for F1 fans was that RB never stood a chance to even show whether or not he had equal pace. RB joined a team that was building cars for one driver only, interested in only seeing one driver ‘succeed’ thus robbing the viewing audience of true racing within the team. It is wholly unfair to claim MS was simply better and RB was simply slower. It goes much deeper than that. And if it doesn’t, shame on Ferrari for hiring an inferior driver then. Ferrari hung RB out to dry from race one of every season. RB drove the same car all right, that being one much better suited for MS. A fair chance for RB to show his stuff was never in the cards in the MS/Ferrari era.

        What was Ferrari to do? How about honouring the sport and the viewing audience by taking on two top drivers in their top cars…two drivers worthy of the ride. Instead they insulted us for years with their pretence that there was actually true competition on the team, and that MS was just that much better. Easy to say when right from the getgo, even starting with the off-season, you know you will not have to worry of one second about a teammate that might be a bother. Ferrari eliminated that huge part of the equation for MS, and we the viewing audience were robbed. Oh of course MS compiled huge numbers, but it was not glorious, nor honourable…it was on the backs of among other things a teammate that was never meant to have a chance from race one of each season, which once they chose to sell out and go that unsporting route to ‘glory’ gave them the go-ahead to simply build the car with only MS’s needs in mind.

        1. The Last Pope…I agree wholeheartedly.

          1. @The Last Pope…I agreed with your Jan 18 comment, but as to the one above on Jan 19 I just wanted to point out that MS only passed so many car because he didn’t put them past him on Saturday when he should have…and 9 of those passes came when he started at the back at Spa and 9 cars moved out of his way due to a collision within turn 2. Same race that saw NR take the lead off the grid for a few laps. There is absolutely nothing of substance to the stat of MS’s passes in 2011 as it relates to whether or not he still has it. If the Merc was not a distant 4th in the constructors, with Renault a distant 5th, then on average MS would have truly paid much much more a price for his poor Saturdays. If he doesn’t improve that aspect and the field is tighter for 2012 he will be screwed, unless of course he can manage to lean on DRS to save himself. Then again, if the field is tighter, he will also be more of a target to DRS passes. Methinks MS will have no option for 2012 but to start qualifying as well as NR has. Unless of course for some reason the field does not tighten up and we have another RB, Mac, Ferrari top 3 with everyone else distant.

        2. Days of Thunder
          18th January 2012, 18:08

          I don’t think in term of completeness Rubens was better than Schumacher, maybe he equal Michael speed in some ocassions but whole not a chance against him. Before in Ferrari Schumacher already proven he got the speed etc. If you comparing Michael and Mika that would be a nice discussion but Rubens? You got to ask if Rubens is that good why no top teams wanted to hire him when he was dropped by Ferrari, if he is that good i bet the top teams has already battling to drove by him instead when Michael returns he easily got the seat at Mercedes(you could say cause Ross there) but i don’t think if he that bad Mercedes would taking chance hired him. Even in Brawn Ruben wasn’t that star shining as Button.

          1. Agreed…not to run the guy down because he obviously has some devoted fans around here, but I’m pretty sure RB was never WDC material, nor was EI, which is why Ferrari hired them to teammate MS. Such a shame they took that philosophy. I much prefer the top teams hiring top drivers worthy of the ride and letting them duke it out for the sake of the sport and the fans. Then when it comes time as the season winds down and the math dictates that one of them has the better WDC shot, only then should a number one driver be determined. And that should be as each season comes along and evolves, not at the beginning of each season.

            I do realize it is much easier for the team managers to designate a number one and a number two so that there is no need for strife, but that to me diminishes the whole thing…the whole point of it…to race…what is the pinnacle of racing when there is no racing between two teammates?

            So if we can say LH and JB were truly allowed to race each other, as Mac claimed they were doing last year and as seemed apparent, I can honour that all day long vs. a team that prematurely hangs one driver out to dry. I would rather see a team ‘harm themselves’ by having two drivers take points away from each other, and hope the other teams are doing the same and one driver isn’t dominating the whole thing, than to have contrived results due to contracts or politics that say one driver cannot race another, even if it is his teammate.

  8. It’s a shame, but let’s be honest for a minute. No one has ever driven as many championship-winning cars without having anything to show for it as Rubens did. Of course he’s always had a clear number two status within the Ferrari team, but I can’t imagine Ferrari would’ve kept supporting Schumacher as their championship contender if Barichello built a lead throughout the opening races of a season. He had 5 years in a row at Ferrari… He’s always been a fast driver, but never quite fast enough. And even then he was still lucky enough to drive the Brawn GP in 2009, but yet again he failed to claim the title with it. I don’t mean to be rude, but he’s been at the very top of the food chain with nowhere to go but down… no top team will ever again hire him, because we’ve seen he’s not as fast as the real greats. That’s just the way it is! I just don’t know why Barichello insists on driving at the back of the grid just for the sake of it.

    1. +1
      If ever there was a time for Barrichello to assert a number 1 status it would be with Honda when he moved.
      But he could rarely keep up with Button, and he failed to capitalise on the golden opportunity he had with the BGP001.

      His passion is admirable, but he has had his fair share of great machinery and failed to deliver.

    2. @Roald…the odds of RB ever building a lead in the early races of a season such that they would have supported him over MS were slimmer than being hit by lightning. MS’s huge salary, the designer car and tires, the icon F1 wanted to create post-Senna?…if somehow RB lead MS in points after 4 or 5 races in spite of him driving a duplicate of MS’s car, they simply would have tuned RB’s engine down, or falsified his tire pressures, or done any number of possible little hidden things to hold him back and allow MS to catch up.

      1. @Robbie, you hatred for Ferrari and Schumacher is clear for all to see, but if Ferrari didn’t want Rubens to do well, why did they build their car to be more neutral handling rather than with oversteer the way MS preferred?(Can’t remember which year exactly) MS still wiped the floor with him, as he did with all his pre-comeback team mates. Rubins was often so far off MS’s pace it was embarressing.

        1. Given that the team was all about MS, I doubt that your information about a neutral car is accurate. You can’t come up with the year, and the very fact that you are only talking about one year makes me question the strength of your point. Also, hatred is much too strong a word. It is more like disgust at the time at Ferrari for making a business decision over a sporting decision, thus robbing the viewing audience of a true show, and it’s about a disrespect toward them for doing so. I loved Ferrari in the days of Gilles, and I can respect any team at any time when I see that they are fairly letting two gladiators go at it for the glory. Hanging one out to dry from race one of a season, or hiring a less than top notch driver when they have a top 3 car, is not the sporting and honourable way to go, imho. After all this is a sport, not strictly a business, and we the viewing audience deserve the pinnacle of racing if they are going to call themselves that. At Ferrari in the MS era we did not see the pinnacle of racing, we saw a business decision take the sport out of it.

          1. At the risk of being wrong, I think it was 2003. Martin Brundle commented on the fact that RB was so much closer to MS that year, mainly due to the nature of the longer wheelbase car. Ie. less oversteer. Having Rubens do badly would not have been good for the team, anyone who thinks that’s how they operate is deluded. Yes they chose to mainly focus so Schumachers championship, however that was the most likely source of success. Most teams would have backed an obvious talent such as Schumacher.

            Rubens had plenty of fair opportunities to show his speed, yet was only able to do so on rare occasions.

            And if you’re going to call out teams for making business decisions over sporting ones, you may need to point fingers at all the teams.

          2. Days of thunder
            19th January 2012, 20:42

            @DASMAN well said…Robbie just a little to much hyperbole when about Schumacher-Ferrari

          3. Thankfully most teams have never gone to the lengths of MS/Ferrari where one driver was there simply to support the other from race one of each season. If the longer wheelbase Ferrari of MS’s better suited RB, so be it, but that still is a car meant for MS and I’m sure they didn’t change the wheelbase for RB. I just happen to think that in the pinnacle of racing the viewing audience deserves just that, the pinnacle. Imagine if the grid were full of contracted number one drivers and they each had contracted number two drivers to not compete against their teammates.

            Patrick Head’s quote from about a dozen years or so ago sums it up well for me and sums up why the other teams have never taken it to the extreme like MS/Ferrari did…”what a shame they forgo the spirit of racing for the sake of share value”

            There’s a reason teams didn’t follow suit and go to the extreme extent MS/Ferrari did…it flies in the face of the spirit of the thing. I believe that due to the MS/Ferrari philosophy, other teams had to behave in a small way similarly, because otherwise how else do you compete against the elephant in the room. And that was an unfortunate spinoff. And we still see it, or suspect it and talk about it to this day.

            Days of Thunder likes to call this a little too much hyperbole, but that to me that is kind of like saying let’s stop talking about how we are killing the planet from an environmental standpoint and maybe it will go away. You may get tired of hearing it, but I stand for a better F1 world with my stance. I insist that the pinnacle of racing should be just that, and when one driver is there only to support the other, that’s not racing. That’s all business, and if other teams were to do it to the same degree I would have just as much disrespect for them.

            I understand business decisions in all sports, and their necessity, but when the sport is then taken out of it for the sake of share value, we all should be drawing the line well before that happens.

            To say RB had plenty of FAIR opportunities to show his speed is misleading. He showed speed because he was in a very good car, that being one designed for MS, but he was never going to be allowed to win a WDC with it, so how fair is that come the end of the day? See Austria 02. And 01 for that matter.

  9. It’s hard to swallow, really. I can’t remember a season without Rubens, as I was only 3 when he made his debut in 1993. I’ve seen him racing almost all my life. He’s been there in every F1 game I’ve bought too!

    I’ll certainly miss him. He’s such a nice guy…

    1. I’m in the same situation, and I suspect so are many F1Fanatics. Ever since I started to watch F1, Rubens has always been on the grid. It will be a strange sight for me come the grid in Melbourne!

      He was indeed a nice guy, even if he too had his moments! All careers must end however, and even though he may not have achieved as much as other drivers in his time in F1, he beat the Stig. And that makes him immortal! ;)

  10. A fine hustler of a car, probably more naturally gifted than Jenson he probably didnt fully understand fully the politics (or perhaps wanted to ) needed to be in the best cars or get the team behind him rather than his team mates.

    And as most middle aged women will tell you, eventually you end up with HRT.

    Been dying to get that joke in somewhere!

  11. He’s just on sabbatical. He’ll be back next year.

    1. That’s what they all say!

    2. Yes, he will, that’s for sure!

  12. One of the last drivers left from when I started watching F1 around 2000. Him winning in Germany back then is probably one of the few things I remember from back then. I didn’t really understand then that he had to play second violin, so I always hoped he would beat that dreaded Schumacher. Shame he probably won’t be there this year, but drivers go sooner, or in his case a lot later.

  13. It is rather ironic that Rubens last raced for Williams (and probably in F1) with a Senna-inspired helmet.

  14. This is the ultimate piece of evidence of what Pay Drivers are doing to F1. Next one on the list for me: Mr. Jarno Trulli.

    1. He has to go, if I hear him utter a single word about his Power Steering again…

      1. +1 Although for me his complaints about power steering stopped being annoying and became hilarious. Every race, without fail!

    2. Rubens didn’t get a drive because he was awful last season. No need to blame pay drivers for his exit

      1. Better ask Mr. Head. At least he’s not there anymore…

    3. @carlitox I’m confused, are you saying they’re a positive or negative influence?

      1. They are good when they show they deserve the drive. My usual example is Sergio Perez. He showed great skill this year. Senna, instead, was very irregular. Sometimes he was brilliant, sometimes he was rubbish. But my point is that talent is being put apart, teams choose drivers with sponsors instead of talented young guys like Giedo van der Garde or Jules Bianchi (I don’t know what Ferrari wants with him, really). To sum up, see it this way: if you bring talent, you can have results, if you have results, sponsors will come to you. Therefore, more money, more talent.

  15. I do wonder why someone like Rubens can’t get a drive and yet Trulli is still racing around. Rubens is a better driver now at 40 than Trulli ever was in my opinion.

    Rubens will still be around F1 in some way though, maybe Sky will hire him.

    1. I doubt Rubens was significantly better than Trulli, instead I would actually put them in the same league.

      But I agree if Rubens is gone, Trulli needs to go as well.

      Get Sutil and Jaime back on the grid!

      1. I dunno, Just two years ago he was fighting tooth and nail with Jenson. And last year he netted some impressive results as well.

        1. @Mike. To be fair.. Rubens has had a race winning car for 6 seasons while Jarno has only had a shot in the 3rd best car on the grid (Renault 2003 & 2004)

          Its kind of hard to say how Jarno would have done in a Brawn.

      2. I agree. Both Rubens and Jarno had a bad year, but they are both still competant winning racing drivers. Personaly I can’t understand why everyone is bashing Trulli and wanting him gone. Yes he moans a bit when he’s unhappy but then so do other drivers (Including Barrichelo) . Don’t forget Trulli was on a par with Alonso at Renault until he fell out with Briatore and lost all team support. He isn’t a no hoper.

  16. I “Trulli” hope he replaces Jarno at Caterham. Barrichello is the nicest driver in F1 and he’s pretty quick too. Petrov can take his money to HRT where it is needed and they have a car that suits his pace.

  17. I reckon Rubens will have at least one more race as a super sub during 2012, if another driver is ruled out for any reason for any race.

  18. About you saying Brawn giving preferential treatment to Button, I would have to say I agree, there were definitely strings being pulled behind the scenes, I don’t think Barrichello’s out-bursts came out of nowhere.
    But it would make Button look bad so no one would bring it up.

    1. I don’t think so, really. If anything it could be said that Brawn as a team was just half-***** and just didn’t bother solving Barrichello’s earlier troubles with the car since Button was winning which was good enough.

      Perhaps if they had known that Button would drive the second half of the season the way he has always driven in his career – mediocre – and almost lose a sure-fire championship they would have bothered with his issues earlier. Well, what could have been…

  19. I really hope that Venezuela money dries up and Maldonado get replaced by Rubens.

    1. Yes I hope so as well. In fact, with the whole illegal sponsorship thing that could happen.

      1. @mike @jonathan102 Remember where Maldonado’s money is ending up. Williams need it. To take on TWO pay drivers shows just how bad things have got.

        1. this is a half-truth

  20. I bet Rubens wouldn’t have minded schumacher moving over for him if he had double the points of schumacher.Truth is Rubens just wasn’t fast enough to mount a title challenge and that is why he was relegated to a supporting role at Ferrari as well as Brawn.

  21. As many have said, I do believe Rubens has robbed himself of a grand exit. As much as he (and we) want him to go on racing, he has to take a look at it realistically; a man of his age is always going to be out of favour against the younger generation.

    I think he should have treat Brazil as he last race (all the more so considering it’s his home GP) and if he did manage to get a seat this year then it’s a bonus!

    That said, he’s had a brilliant career. His year at Brawn was a breath of fresh air for him and F1 and that is what i’ll remember him for.

  22. This man is no worse than the current crop of drivers we have at the minute. He has so much to offer, and it’s not going to be the same place without him. I don’t care what anyone else says about ‘his time is up’. He’s 40 years old, not 80.

    If he ends up at HRT alongside Pedro it will give us a great perspective of how good or bad their past drivers have been. If they then begin to beat Virgin comfortably we’ll have our answer.

    At the same time, I think Barrichello’s better than that!

  23. It’s easy to say it’s sad that Rubens didn’t get a real send off but I find it better to think that he got a few extra years in the sport as it looked like he was retirement bound at the end of 08. However, since then he’s became a championship contender and driven for one of the most prestigious teams that has ever been in F1. I’d say those few years were a great goodbye.

    1. Always look on the bright side, eh @steph! But I agree with you, Rubens did get some nice years out of his career after he almost did not seem to be getting onto the grid end of 2008.

      1. @BasCB I try and often fail to! :P

        Plus, he’s had so long in the sport that one more season wouldn’t really mean much at this stage :P

        1. I always thought that staying in F1 just to make it a full 20 seasons was not the best reason to keep him @Steph ;-)

    2. Well put, @Steph :)

  24. Won’t miss him. Was a good B-tier driver in his prime but those days have gone. I’m not overjoyed at his replacement, but at least there’s a possibility Senna might start doing well from here on in. Ruben’s top goal would have been merely to stop looking past it.

    If you are sentimental about Rubens, then a wish to see him stay is maybe the worse of the two scenarios. Far better that he not decline even further and drive for a team that’s a shadow of its former self, or the grid’s running joke.

    F1 waits for no man. For every character and style that passes out of the sport, there is a new one to be fascinated by. I can only hope that the next time an old face disappears it’s to make way for a genuinely new one.

    1. +1 – It was time for him to go.
      Nice guy, good number 2 driver, yadda-yadda-yadda…

      Enjoy your retirement old man, maybe try fishing fishing or
      needle point.

    2. @Icthyes that’s my favourite comment in a long, long time. I couldn’t agree more.

      1. Yeah, COTM for sure.

        1. @phildick month? Millennium? Minute? :P

    3. @Icthyes – I agree with you. Time to let younger drivers (even if they are Bruno Senna) have their chance.

  25. Damn article almost had me in tears.

  26. I´m gonna miss Rubens… he is one of my favorite pilots and I have been hearing of him since I was like 5 years old… Hopefuly he will still be around F1, and not only in Brasil…

  27. I like Rubens, he has contributed a lot to Formula One but the title of the article is hardly accurate is it?

    11 wins in 326 races, that’s more like very rarely nice guys finish first. I am more upset Sutil and particularly Alguersuari are not on the grid than Barrichello.

  28. By a strange quirk of fortune, it is Senna’s nephew who has usurped Barrichello at Williams

    Usurp is a harsh word on Bruno tbh.

    BTW, good riddance of a bad driver. Young talents are waiting on the line and the line is damn long.

    1. You know what – you’re dead right. I just looked it up and I never realised it meant to “wrongfully” take someone’s place, which certainly isn’t what I meant. Have changed it. Thanks for pointing it out.

  29. I wish you all the best Mr. Barrichello in whatever endeavour you choose to pursue. I thought that it was extremely unfair that you were asked or told to relinquish the lead you held so that Michael Schumacher could assume the lead you had, through the strength of your driving, established for yourself. (I believe that was the reason Eddie Irvine left F1 and racing. Mr. Irvine didn’t wish to play second fiddle to Michael Schumacher).

    I am not alone in the pack of F1 Fanatics who will miss your presence on the upcoming 2012 F1 season.

    It would be great if you could secure a seat in Le Mans Prototype racing. It would, in my opinion, be a fitting position for a racing car driver of your skill and experience.

    1. @dream28

      It would be great if you could secure a seat in Le Mans Prototype racing.

      As long as it’s not at Peugeot.

  30. Great article! For me personally, I think Barrichello is the only driver in the current era that I truly admire. He was never a prima donna like some of his peers, and he had the talent to win grands prix and win them with style. I must have been very difficult for him at Ferrari, watching Michael Schumacher win championships year after year, with the knowledge that to Ferrari he was nothing more than Michael’s number two within the team. To be honest, I was surprised that Rubens tolerated it for as long as he did despite the fact that he was earning a good wage. The events of Austria 2002 not only embarrassed Ferrari but embarrassed F1 as a sport. It made Hockenheim 2010 look like very small potatoes.
    Yet through all that, Rubens has maintained his dignity throughout. You never here anything bad being said of Rubens Barrichello, either from other drivers or the fans. Everyone only has good things to say, and he always came across well in interviews and on television.
    Its a sad moment, but I think it is time. He may not have been an F1 champion, but sometimes class is not measured by silverware alone!

    1. In my opinion Hockenheim 2010 and Austria 2002 are equally embarrasing. Yes, in 2002 Michael had the championship in his hands but at least I can say that team orders were legal in that time, which is not the case in 2010.

      Anyway, both days were terrible for F1´s prestige.

  31. One of the great sportsmen in motorsport, although his chances of becoming champion are over… Hope he gets called back in some sort of advisory or mentorship role, although historically that’s usually not well received by drivers.

  32. AWWWW Rubens :( We will miss you buddy…..Everything you did for ferrari will be remembered, that win from dead last in germany, just epic, will never forget that day, so many mixed feelings :( :(

  33. As sad as I am to see him missing and as big of a fan I am of Ruby, there’s a bit of relief in knowing his career is up. I honestly do feel he got a farewell race with the BBC feature they did with him and Eddie. I’m not a fan of stories going on forever without a clear ending and I want to see Rubens reach a definitive end. I’m proud of what he’s achieved and his unwavering sense of character. Instead of mourning, we should be holding aloft what has been a fantastic career from a truly wonderful person and saying “See? This is how you can do it right without selling your soul.”

  34. Rubens should have retired when he finished up with Brawn.

    1. Kind of agree but no one knew he will lose his seat from that team & end up in Williams!

  35. Like i’ve said before it was time to leave but no one deserves to get thrown out like Rubens was stabbed by a fellow countryman, unfortunately the world is not led by kindness.

  36. Everyone is talking as though he died, there is still a seat going at HRT, plus I can not think of a season where all the drivers stayed the same, he could get given a contract again for some reason.

  37. That’s sad indeed,a driver who had gone a lot under him didn’t get farewell in the end.Not sure what he will do for 2012 but I don’t think getting in HRT is a good enough job.The best thing will be joining in any type of Endurance Racing or even DTM where lots of F1 driver from the past has gone wont be bad. Another option for him is to go to Indy!.

  38. were first made clear at Austria in 2001

    Typo there Keith,Shame Rubens left with a turbulent season.Wish him all the best for the future,Maybe being a Team Principal for a team in the future could be on the cards.

    1. @Younger-Hamii

      No, it really was 2001.

  39. an RB auto-biography. now that is one book i most definitely WOULD buy.!

    shame to see reubens go out in this way, but better to call it quits now than spend a potentially miserable season with a team that probably has little chance of success. oh, hang on, that was last season as well ;-) (before flaming me, i’m a williams supporter and hate seeing how bad they’re doing at the moment)

  40. its not quite as simple as that. when MS went to ferrari they hadnt won a WDC for 20 years and had become a bit of a shambles. Once MS had a contract that stipulated him as clear no 1 and all that went with that you couldnt then put the genie back in the bottle. you couldnt say right thanks for the WDC MS we are now going to revert back to how it worked before. plus they were then winning, why change it?

    Plenty of teams operated a clear number 1. No one speaks badly about Jim Clark and Lotus but thats exactly what went on there. Same when Andretti drove for them when Peterson was at least as quick. Same with Stewart at Tyrell. Mclaren are a great example of letting their guys race..and paying the consequences.

    People forget motor racing was a business first, and a pastime for the rich. Only in the modern era could it be described as anything approaching a sport. whatever that is suppsed to mean.

  41. Rubens WILL return!

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