Friday, March 11, 2011

Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Gonçalves "Rubinho" Barrichello (born May 23, 1972 in São Paulo) is a Brazilian Formula One racing driver. He is currently racing for WilliamsF1. Barrichello has scored the fourth highest points total in Formula One history. Barrichello drove for Ferrari from 2000 to 2005, as Michael Schumacher's teammate, enjoying considerable success including finishing as championship runner-up in 2002 and 2004. Schumacher's retirement at the end of 2006 made Barrichello the most experienced driver on the grid, and at the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix he became the most experienced driver in F1 history. He became the first driver to reach 300 Grand Prix entries and 300 starts, doing so in 2010. He is also the incumbent chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association. Barrichello had an effective rookie year. In his third race, the European Grand Prix, he started from 12th place in very wet conditions but was fourth by the end of the first lap. He ran as high as second and was running third, having passed the Williams of Damon Hill and Alain Prost, before encountering a fuel pressure problem. His Jordan's reliability in 1993 was poor, and he finished few races. Barrichello regularly outpaced his more experienced teammates, Ivan Capelli and Thierry Boutsen. In the French Grand Prix, he almost scored his first grand prix point (and the team's first that year) but Michael Andretti passed Barrichello for the sixth and final point-paying position on the final lap. His only points finish of the season came at the Japanese Grand Prix with fifth place, ahead of his new teammate Eddie Irvine. These 2 points put him in 18th place in the standings.Barrichello was relatively fortunate, however. Twenty minutes into Saturday's final qualifying session, Roland Ratzenberger died when he crashed his Simtek at the Villeneuve curva; during the race, his mentor Ayrton Senna crashed his Williams at Tamburello and also died. Despite this deep personal loss, Barrichello recovered his confidence and raced strongly, having good races and taking pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix, and leading some laps at Estoril. His pole position at Spa-Francorchamps set the record for the youngest driver to secure pole position at that time. He concluded the season with fourth place in Adelaide. He finished the season sixth overall in the Drivers' Championship with 19 points, outscoring Irvine, who scored six.

In 2000, Barrichello achieved his first grand prix victory at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim demonstrating why he is rated as one of the best wet weather drivers, when he and the team choose to stay on slicks when it was raining on part of the circuit. This risky call saw him leap-frog the McLarens who chose to pit for wet weather tires, thus earning him a well deserved and emotional victory, having started the race from 18th place on the grid. This was the longest any driver in Formula One history has waited for a maiden grand prix win. Barrichello had a consistent debut season for Ferrari, finishing most races on the podium, but was outscored by the other three reliable drivers: Michael Schumacher, Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard. Barrichello finished the season ranked fourth after supporting Schumacher as he battled and defeated Häkkinen for the drivers' championship, and helping Ferrari win the constructors' championship. Barrichello finished the 2001 season in third place, achieving a total of 10 podium finishes and scoring a total of 56 championship points. He nearly achieved a win in Monza, in which the Ferrari pit crew performed badly. He finished the season winless, and again he played a major supporting role for Schumacher, helping him win his second drivers' championship with Ferrari and helping the team win the constructors' championship for the third consecutive year. Barrichello's success at Ferrari continued in 2002, when he won four races for the team and finished a career best second place in the drivers' championship, scoring 77 championship points. The year was marked by controversy, however, when Ferrari team orders required Barrichello to allow the trailing Schumacher to pass him on the final straight of the Austrian Grand Prix to take victory. Schumacher exchanged podium places with Barrichello at the podium ceremony and gave Barrichello the winner's trophy. The drivers were fined for disrupting podium protocol and Ferrari's blatant team orders led to the FIA banning team orders beginning in 2003. In August 2005 he announced that he would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the year to join Honda. Barrichello's lucky number is "11," which was the number his kart bore when he won his first race. In 2006, his new teammate Jenson Button gave Barrichello the number for his car in goodwill. Barrichello was initially outpaced by Button, and claimed that the car did not suit his driving style, particularly under braking. After modifications to the car he was able to be more competitive. In Monaco, he nearly got his first podium with the team, but then he was given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane and finished fourth. Though he lost a podium, it was the best result at the Monaco Grand Prix for Honda (as a team) or any Japanese team. For the race Barrichello exchanged helmets with Tony Kanaan, a Brazilian IRL driver and one of his best friends. On the same weekend, Kanaan raced in the 2006 Indianapolis 500 race using Barrichello's helmet. Barrichello qualified third for the Chinese Grand Prix, ahead of Schumacher and Räikkönen. He finished the season seventh in the drivers' standings with 30 points, 26 behind Button.

Just days before the season opener in Melbourne, veteran designer Ross Brawn bought Honda and renamed it Brawn GP. Barrichello was rather worried when rumours were going around saying that he would lose his seat to the young Bruno Senna, the nephew of Barrichello's friend, idol and mentor Ayrton Senna, but Brawn decided to choose Barrichello to partner Jenson Button in 2009. At Barcelona during the last pre-season test, both Barrichello and Button surprised the paddock with very quick lap times, which were more than two seconds faster than anyone had been on day four. In Melbourne, Barrichello topped the timesheets in the first two elements of qualifying, but qualified second on the grid behind team-mate Button. Despite a poor start caused by his engine slipping into anti-stall, he did well to recover and lost only a couple of positions at the start. However, he sustained damage to the front wing and rear diffuser in the first corner incident when he was bumped from behind by Heikki Kovalainen in his McLaren that saw him hit Mark Webber in the Red Bull damaging Webber's car as well as his hopes of a good finish. Despite this, Barrichello ultimately finished the race in second place after Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica collided with just 2 laps remaining. He started eighth in Malaysia after getting a grid penalty for a gearbox change and finished the race in fifth place after the race was abandoned at Sepang due to heavy rain. On November 2, 2009, Williams confirmed Barrichello and Nico Hülkenberg as their official race drivers for the 2010 season. This meant that Barrichello would be in Formula One for at least another season, and has since become the first driver in Formula One history to compete in over 300 Grands Prix. In pre-season testing, Barrichello finished at the top of the timesheets once, because of rain. In some sessions, he was outpaced by his rookie team-mate Hülkenberg. Williams was the second team in terms of kilometres covered and showed some reliability, but are currently off pace from front-runners Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren. At the first race of the season in Bahrain, Barrichello qualified eleventh on the grid, and finished tenth in the race. In Australia, he went on to finish eighth, moving him to within two points of Senna's mark. He stalled on the grid in Malaysia due to an overheating clutch, but recovered to twelfth place at the finish. In China, he finished twelfth again. In Spain he benefited from Lewis Hamilton's late crash to score two points, finishing in 9th, despite starting 18th on the grid and equalling Senna's record. Barrichello's helmet is white with an orange-red Oval shape on the rear, an orange-red shape around the visor, an orange red line under the helmet and a blue circle on the top with azure and sky blue cylinders – similar to those on the helmet of former world champion Emerson Fittipaldi – with a golden star in the middle. At the 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix, the oval shape and the shape around the visor were painted to resemble the Brazilian flag, and at his 300th Grand Prix, his helmet once again carried the Brazilian flag colours.

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