DRIVERS: RUBENS BARRICHELLO

Name: Rubens Barrichello
Nationality: Brazil
Date of birth: May 23, 1972 - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Rubens Barrichello, European GP 2005

Rubens Barrichello, European GP 2005 

 ¬© The Cahier Archive

Barrichello grew up in the Interlagos neighbourhood of Sao Paulo and was soon racing karts. He won five national titles in his teens and in 1989 tried his hand at Formula Ford. He then took the decision to go to Europe to compete in the GM Lotus Euroseries. He had backing from the supermarket chain Arisco which was keen to take him all the way to Formula 1. Driving for Draco Racing he quickly became a winner and took the title at his first attempt, beating Vincenzo Sospiri and Gil de Ferran to the championship.

The next step was British Formula 3 and he was snapped up by Dick Bennetts's hugely-successful West Surrey Racing for 1991. His chief opposition came from David Coulthard but Barrichello held off the challenge to win the title at his first attempt. Formula 1 teams began to show interest in him but in 1992 he went to Formula 3000 instead, joining the Il Barone Rampante operation. It was a bad year but consistent finishing took Rubens to third place in the championship, despite the fact that he had not won a race. Eddie Jordan, keen on the youngster with his Arisco backing, signed up Barrichello at the end of the year and very quickly Barrichello showed his class by running as high as third in the European GP at Donington Park and then showing up his more experienced team mates Ivan Capelli and Thierry Boutsen.

Barrichello scored his first World Championship point at Suzuka where he finished fifth, just ahead of his new team mate Eddie Irvine.

The 1994 season proved to a nightmare for Barrichello after two goods results in Brazil and at the Pacific GP he had a huge accident in practice for the San Marino GP at Imola. Two days later Ayrton Senna, his friend and mentor, was killed. It took Barrichello several months to overcome the effects but at Spa he took pole position. A switch to Peugeot engines at the end of that year did not really help the Jordan team and in 1995 results were hard to come by although Rubens finished second in Canada. He stayed on at Jordan in 1996 but was only able to pick up a string of minor placings although these took him to eighth in the Drivers' World Championship.

The relationship with Jordan ground to a halt and Barrichello headed for the new Stewart-Ford team. He settled in quickly, taking second place behind Michael Schumacher in the rain at Monaco in what was the team's fifth race. he stayed at Stewart for three years, taking pole position at the French GP in 1999 and scoring three podiums and a number of other placings to take seventh place in the Drivers' title that year.

He then received the call to go to Ferrari as Michael Schumacher's team mate. It was a tough job but Barrichello was strong enough to cope and in July 2000 he took his first win in a weird German GP which was interrupted by a protester who wandered out on to the race track. He finished fourth in the World Championship. In the years that have followed he has been a convincing number two at Ferrari, winning when Schumacher runs into trouble or when team orders allowed him to do so. This had increased his total of wins to nine by the end of 2004.

He left Ferrari at the end of a disappointing 2005 and signed to drive alongside Jenson Button in the Honda Racing F1 team. He stayed with the team in 2007 but results were few and far between, although he returned to the podium in the wet/dry British GP in 2008.

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