Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello

23/5/1972

Formula One race driver. Born in São Paulo, Brazil. Barrichello was an extremely promising driver in his youth, winning five karting titles in Brazil before going to Europe to race the Formula 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 a young Briton named David Coulthard. He very nearly joined Formula One at just 19 years of age but joined Formula 3000 instead. There would be no title, but a solid third place did little to hurt his value, joined the Jordan Formula One team for the 1993 season. Barrichello had an effective rookie year. He earned only two championship points, but he was running third in the European Grand Prix (in just his third race) before encountering a fuel problem. He regularly outpaced his more experienced teammates. While he improved in 1994, his career was very nearly curtailed at the tragic San Marino Grand Prix, where a violent crash during practice knocked him unconscious, nearly killing him. Medical teams saved his life, but his spirits weren't any better after his mentor Ayrton Senna's death at the race two days later. Barrichello never truly recovered that season, but he did manage to earn a pole position at Spa-Francorchamps, the youngest driver at the time to earn one. He finished a respectable sixth in the Drivers' Championship. Two similar years with the team followed, but after his relationship with team owner Eddie Jordan soured, he left for the newly formed Stewart Grand Prix in 1997. He struggled in his first two years with Jackie Stewart's team, but impressively managed to finish seventh in the 1999 Championship. This was enough for Scuderia Ferrari to sign Barrichello as their "number two" driver behind Michael Schumacher in the 2000 season; he has been with the prancing horse since. Barrichello called himself "1b". Barrichello was more than capable of being Schumacher's "1b". He achieved his first victory in Hockenheim that year in his 128th race, the longest wait for a driver's maiden win. "Rubinho", as he is often known, has continued to be successful thanks to Ferrari's dominance of Formula One: he managed to finish second behind Schumacher in the 2002 championship, as Ferrari ran away from the rest of the field. Team orders allowed Barrichello to earn four victories, with Schumacher trailing him each time by less than a second. Similar team orders also forced the Brazilian to cede to Schumacher some potential victories, such as the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, where he pulled over at the last turn of the race. Such behaviour eventually led to team orders being banned in 2003. In the 2004 season, Barrichello finished second behind teammate Michael Schumacher in seven of the first thirteen races, but he won both the Italian Grand Prix and the Chinese Grand Prix to clinch second place in the championship, finishing the year with an impressive 114 points and staggering 14 podiums — only one behind his teammate. During the 2005 Formula One season Barrichello was becoming increasingly agitated at having to be so subservient to Schumacher. In August 2005 he announced that he would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the 2005 F1 season to join Honda F1. Despite being the newest source of Brazilian pride in Formula One, Rubinho has been very unlucky at his home race, as he has failed to finish ten of twelve Brazilian Grands Prix in which he has compete.

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