GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #41 - Rubens Barrichello

03-02-2020 19:00
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GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #41 - Rubens Barrichello

Hi there and welcome back to GPBlog’s top 50 drivers in 50 days, where we’re counting down one driver a day until we reach the first race of the 2020 season in Melbourne. Yesterday we ranked Riccardo Patrese as number 42 and if you missed it you can catch up here, but in at number 41 is Rubens Barrichello!

When we talk about longevity in F1, Rubens Barrichello is the benchmark, competing in 19 full F1 season and starting 323 Grands Prix, a record that still stands, although will be broken by Kimi Raikkonen in 2020.

Beginning in the midfield

With the great Ayrton Senna’s backing, Barrichello made his debut in F1 with the uncompetitive Jordan team in 1993, scoring his first points in Japan that year.

1994 started better with P4 in his home race in Brazil and a debut podium the following race at the Pacific Grand Prix.

At the tragic San Marino Grand Prix just two weeks later, Barrichello had a heavy crash on Friday, before the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Barrichello’s idol and mentor Senna.

When he returned to the car, the Brazilian continued to show promise with points finishes before a move to the new Stewart team in 1997.

The car was unreliable, and P2 in Monaco aside, Barrichello was not able to show what he could do.

1998 was also difficult but the following year made it worthwhile as Barrichello stepped on the podium three times and earned himself a move to Ferrari for 2000, replacing former Jordan teammate Eddie Irvine.

The Ferrari dream, but Schumacher dominates

He took his first win at the 2000 German Grand Prix as he supported Michael Schumacher to the title, doing the same in 2001, albeit winless.

He was proving himself as a competitive and consistent driver and was perhaps unfortunate to have one of the best ever as his teammate.

He took four wins in 2002 as he finished second in the standings, but was the subject of controversy in Austria. He was told to let Schumacher through for the race win and did so on the last lap.

F1 banned team orders after this, although rightly or wrongly, they have since been reintroduced.

2004 was Barrichello’s best year, finishing on the podium 14 times out of 18 races, winning in front of the Tifosi in Italy and then in China. He also got his first and only podium finish at his home race at Interlagos.

His time at Ferrari came to an end following a tough 2005 for the Italians, and Barrichello joined Honda, going through three less than successful years at the team.

A comeback with Brawn

When Honda pulled out in late 2008, it may have seemed like Barrichello’s career was done, until Ross Brawn bought it out and produced the incredible car of 2009.

Unfortunately for Barrichello, he was almost 37 when the season started and joined by Jenson Button, who won six of the first seven races to run away with the title.

Barrichello did win at Valencia and Monza on his way to third in the championship, bringing him up to 13 Grands Prix victories.

He raced for two seasons in the midfield with Williams after that, having a run in with old teammate Schumacher in Hungary 2010, and left F1 at the end of 2011.

Barrichello had a solid career in F1, winning races and appearing many times on the podium. Perhaps in a different world he could’ve been a champion, but with Schumacher in his way at Ferrari, that was never going to be reality.

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