Rubens Barrichello

Monisha Kaltenborn clarifies
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R ubens Barrichello started karting at the age of nine under the sign of his great idol Ayrton Senna. Eight years and five national championship titles later, the talented Brazilian moved first to the South American Formula Ford and then to the European Formula Opel Lotus. After the championship title in the rookie season, the meteoric rise continued in 1991 in the British Formula 3 championship, which he also won straight away.

Despite some inquiries from Formula 1, the likeable man collected from Sao Paulo 1992 another year of experience in Formula 3000. After finishing third, Barrichello, who now lives in Great Britain, finally felt ready for the leap into the premier class.

Formula 1 entry at Jordan

With the not exactly competitive Jordan team, the Formula 1 career did not begin promisingly in 1993. Barrichello saw the checkered flag only in six of the 16 races of the season. In the penultimate race of the season in Japan there were at least the first two World Cup points.

The second season starts much better: After finishing fourth at the beginning, the Brazilian was able to do that for the first time in third place at the Pacific GP in Japan Climb the podium. In the World Cup he was suddenly in second place behind Michael Schumacher. But already at the next race in Imola, fate struck twice. A violent crash in training almost ended Barrichello's career. His great idol Ayrton Senna had a fatal accident in the race.

First F1 successes for Rubens Barrichello

In terms of sport, however, the Brazilian was able to record this second season as a success. In Belgium, Barrichello will start from pole position for the first time and at the time he was the youngest driver of all time to succeed. With a total of 19 points, he finished the season in sixth place in the drivers' standings. A second place in Canada in 1995 was the highlight of his last two years with Jordan, in which he was unable to continue the upward trend with places eleven and eight in the overall standings.

In 1997 he switched to Stewart-Ford where at first things went anything but smooth. A second place in Monaco faced no less than 14 retirements. The driver and car made it the full distance only three times. With six finishings, two of them in the points, progress was only sluggish in 1998. The breakthrough came in 1999 when Barrichello was able to take three podiums. The seventh place in the overall classification remainednot unnoticed and so Ferrari racing director Jean Todt signed the Brazilian as a replacement for Mika Salo.

Barrichello changes to Ferrari

As Michael Schumacher's teammate, the most successful years in Rubens' career followed Barrichello. In his first season with the Reds, Rubinho celebrated his first GP victory in Hockenheim with tears. The Ferrari newcomer stood on the podium nine times and finished the season in fourth. After a third place in the following season, Barrichello was runner-up in 2002 behind Schumacher. Despite at least four race wins and 77 championship points, he was never really able to endanger his incomparably more successful teammate with 144 points.

Although the roles at Ferrari were clearly divided, Barrichello stayed at Scuderia for a total of six years. In 2004 he was able to celebrate another runner-up behind Schumacher, but always remained in the shadow of the successes and appreciation in the team. That was also the main reason why Barrichello announced in August 2005 that he would be switching to the Honda team in the coming season.

Switching to Honda

After a respectable seventh place and several points - Arrivals in the first season with the Japanese were followed by a slow relegation. The absolute low came in 2007, when Barrichello didn't even get a single World Cup counter. That hadn't happened to him even in the early days with Jordan and Steward, when only the first six drivers scored points.

In 2008, the car was anything but competitive. In the chaotic rain race at Silverstone, Barrichello stood on the podium one last time. The real highlight, however, took place at the fifth race in Turkey, when Rubinho was able to set the record of 257 GP starts held by Riccardo Patrese.

The Brawn GP fairy tale

In the winter break before the 2009 season, everything already looked like an unwanted end of career when the Honda racing team announced its withdrawal from Formula 1. But team boss Ross Brawn took over the team in Brackley and continued to trust the services of the veteran.

A wise decision, as it later turned out. Because Barrichello's career got an enormous boost in the 2009 season. In the end, Rubinho was the eternal runner-up behind world champion and team-mate Jenson Button with third place in the World Cup, but the Brazilian himself had realistic chances of winning the title for a long time. Barrichello celebrated two victories in total.

Barrichello is looking for a new challenge at Williams

In 2010 Barrichello was looking for a new challenge at Williams. At the side of Nico H├╝lkenberg, however, the GP record holder struggled for a long time in a losing position. Thanks to Barrichello, the car was developed well during the season, so that in the end it ended up in the top ten of the drivers' standings.The biggest party took place in Spa when Barrichello celebrated his 300 Grand Prix.

In 2011 Williams will start the race in a new formation. Barrichello's new team colleague is now Pastor Maldonado.

As of 02/2011

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