Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

F1 encyclopedia

Rubens Barrichello

Formula 1 driver

Rubens Barrichello
Credit: LAT
Vital statistics for Rubens Barrichello
NationalityBRA
BirthplaceSão Paulo, Brazil
Born23 May 1972
Age47
F1 debutSouth African Grand Prix, 1993

Rubens Barrichello was the most experienced driver in Formula One's history when he surpassed 300 Grand Prix starts in 2010, and he was one of the most popular faces in the paddock too. Having driven for Jordan, Ferrari, Honda and Williams, the Brazilian racer had made a lot of friends and when he was left without a race seat at the end of the 2011 season, the sport bid him a sad farewell.

F1 biography

Barrichello started his racing career by winning karting championships in his native Brazil, before moving up to single seater races. He participated in the British Formula 3 Championship as well as Formula 3000. He was linked with Formula One very quickly, but didn't make his debut until the 1993 season, when he raced with the bright yellow Jordan F1 team.

Rubens remained with Jordan for four years, and put in some good performances but also suffered through some difficult times as well. He was involved in a terrifying accident during practice for the San Marino race in 1994, the same weekend that saw the death of both Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

With the performance of the Jordan car dropping, Barrichello made the switch to the brand new Stewart Grand Prix team for 1997. It wasn't a strong first season, but Rubens fought his way onto the podium on several occasions, which put him directly in the sights of then Ferrari boss Jean Todt. Barrichello joined the Scuderia for the 2000 season, and was immediately on the pace. He secured his first F1 victory in Germany that year.

It was a difficult career with the red team, as Barrichello found himself overshadowed by champion Michael Schumahcer, and forced to play a second driver role to the German. Team orders were in play, particularly during the Austrian race of 2002 that caused outrage amongst F1 fans. At the end of 2005, with his worst season results since joining Ferrari, Barrichello left to join Honda alongside Jenson Button.

Barrichello initially struggled to get the car setup to his liking, and was once again overshadowed by his teammate. However, by the time Honda left the sport and the team became Brawn GP, he was on the pace and fighting his teammate for the championship. Barrichello missed out, however, finishing that year third overall. Rubens confirmed a move to Williams for the 2010 season, where he drove for two years.

Despite being a hugely popular driver, liked by teams, fans and media alike, Barrichello's career came to an abrupt end after the 2011 season. Williams confirmed two new drivers for the following season, leaving Rubens without a race seat, and without the F1 farewell he deserved after nineteen years. Following his F1 career, Barrichello moved to the IndyCar series in the US before joining the stock car series in his home country of Brazil.