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Barrichello takes the hard road
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Barrichello takes the hard road
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 May 2011   |  10:23 am GMT  |  105 comments

F1 drivers these days tend to keep strong opinions to themselves, not wishing to stick their heads above the parapet.

Like all professional sportsmen they will speak out if another driver cuts them up on the track, or about a rule change which doesn’t suit the drivers, but when it comes to big issues they clam up. This is especially true in issues such as whether F1 should go to race in Bahrain in the current climate, for example.

Barrichello: Team lacks a leader (Photo: Williams)


It is rare for a driver to have a go at his own team these days, as Rubens Barrichello has done this week, following the announcement that Sam Michael is leaving at the end of the year to be replaced by Mike Coughlan. Barrichello says that the team lacks “a leader” and has effectively said that unless they shape up he will not renew his contract next year.

This puts other teams on notice that he’s looking around, but as the most experienced man on the grid with 18 seasons of F1 racing under his belt and turning 39 later this month, he will have to be very skilful anyway to secure another seat in F1 to continue his career.

So it’s not as if he is criticising the team because he feels he has nothing to lose.

“Williams must improve a lot for us to reach an agreement for next year,” he said. “Things are standing still. It’s not worth going on this way…I’m at the top of my game and I’m quite happy with that. Having said that, I need the team to start to shake up and I need to see differences. We need a leader.

“Right now, it is almost like we have too many but not enough. A lot of people are trying to say something but in the end that is not the point. They need to focus on what they are doing.

“I can possibly recruit more people, look at other teams. I can. I am a top-10 guy in the paddock who has been around the longest. I know a few people and I am calling them.”

This is interesting because Rubens is here positioning himself as a solution to Williams problems, rather than a problem in himself.

He knows what it takes to be successful in F1 and he’s disappointed with the way Williams, which appeared a couple of years ago to be a team of the future in the Resource Restriction era, has not fulfilled its potential.

Williams invested a lot of resources in the low rear end and the tiny gearbox and is playing catch up on the other devices like the Red Bull-style blown diffuser. The car was more competitive in Turkey than at the first few races and when the complete car is together with all its new bits it is expected to be half a second faster at least. But Barrichello is looking more at the bigger picture.

There have been times in his career when he probably wishes he had said more, particularly in his Ferrari years. Now a mature driver, he clearly feels that he can speak out and hopes that it will have a galvanising effect within the team. It also puts teams on alert that he might be looking for a team role beyond driving in future, if the right offer comes along.

The comment about lacking a leader is surely aimed at chairman Adam Parr, with whom Barrichello does not enjoy the most cordial of relations. Parr has already started the process of restructuring the technical side of the team, which has brought about the departure of Michael and the arrival of Coughlan. It has taken a direction – will it be going there with or without Barrichello in the future?

Whether any other team in the paddock hears his call and takes Barrichello next season will also be interesting to watch.

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105 Comments
  1. As a fan of both Williams F1 and Rubens Barrichello, I feel he is making the right decision by speaking out. He is still a fantastic driver, and Williams are still a fantastic team. It breaks my heart to see Williams the way they are, especially as I’ve been a fan of the team since 1996 when I was 9 years old and woke up early one Sunday morning, and watched my first F1 race where Damon Hill won the title at Suzuka.

  2. Jagannath says:

    Brave talk from a man who is obviously at the end of his career and missed out on several opportunities to win the WDC despite having the best car at his disposal

    1. Rich says:

      Let’s be fair here, he had to play to team orders?! He was always made to be wing-man to hold up other contenders. To achieve this successfully as he often did is an achievment in its self is a talent, a skill that the current drivers haven’t displayed. He’s the un-sung hero behind the years of dominance by Ferrari/Schumacher!

      1. Jagannath says:

        Sure, he had team orders at Ferrari, but at Brawn he was equal to Button, maybe as fast, but just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities like Jenson did. That’s why he would not be there at the very top echelon of drivers

      2. Rich says:

        Fair comment and I have to agree with you both. I think he has another season in him and should consider takin an added interest in becoming part of the leadership team within Williams. I don’t think you could find a more worthy candidate….

      3. Joe S says:

        When Jenson had that poor period, such as at Valencia and Monza, Rubens was out-peforming him and in some cases, winning races. Button really disappointing the way had stumbled over the line. but I will agree on what’s been said, though I do think , why couldn’t Rubens stand up at Ferrari, and spend those wasted years, working with another team. it’s a real shame.

      4. Satish says:

        Let’s not forget that Rubens got much more competitive after they gave his BGP some brakes that were more to his liking.

      5. Not in 2009… He had an equal chance and wasn’t the measure of his teammate. Don’t get me wrong, I like Barrichello, and I like what he is saying, but he hasn’t always had to follow team orders.

      6. mtb says:

        “He was always made to be wing-man to hold up other contenders.”

        Was he? Presumably there is a long list of cases where he held up other contenders which support this claim.

        In six seasons together, Barrichello out-performed Schumacher on how many occasions?

        On how many occasions was he asked to cede his position to Schumacher? On how many occasions did Schumacher move over for Rubens or back off for the benefit of Rubens?

    2. Tim Parry says:

      True, but we’re never had someone try to renegociate our contract while we were driving at 300 kph as he did in Austria.

  3. Rhett says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Rubens is well past his expiry? For such a long career there are very few achievements, and he’s taking up a seat that a young potential champion could snap up.

    1. Lucas says:

      “he’s taking up a seat that a young potential champion could snap up.”. Given that he’s still beating his team mates at Williams, why should he give his place to anybody?

      1. Rhett says:

        Would you expect anything different from an 18 year veteran against a first year rookie? With the path Williams are traveling it makes more sense to me to invest in 2 solid rookies over an old man who may be good for another year or 2, at which point the game will change again.

  4. paul says:

    @james Do you think Rubens has the skills / ability to take on a role within the team as more than driver?

  5. TM says:

    Hi James, I have a question…

    I too thought Williams would float to the top in the resource and budget restrictions era. I’ve read accusations that Red Bull are spending more than the agreed amounts. Is there any basis that that? Or is it just sour grapes? And are any other teams doing / accused of this?

    Cheers

    1. James Allen says:

      Well even if they are they pay for it next year under RRA rules, so they’ll have to use less in 2012. These kinds of stories always hang around teams which are winning!

  6. Gary Corby says:

    It surprises me the degree to which retired drivers do not move into management. I’d’ve thought some of them would make terrific team managers. Webber in particular.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      I don’t see why Webber would be a particularly good manager. For me the one who has the ability is Schumacher because he managed to build a team around him during all his career and he convinced people to work and deliver for him so he has that leading and motivating capacity.

      Does he have the ability to organize, to choose the right men, to make difficult decisions remain to be seen.

      Webber for me doesn’t have what it takes starting with his diplomatic skills.

      1. Andy C says:

        Fro be it from me to disagree with you friend ;-)

        But I think Jean Todt, Byrne and Brawn had just as much to do with building that succesful team.

        I believe Michael came back knowing in his heart of hearts that he wouldnt add to his tally, but that Mercedes was unfinished business (given their sportscar relationship earlier in his career).

      2. Jo Torrent says:

        Iagree with you afterall

      3. Steve Rogers says:

        I agree, I think Michael wanted both to race again and to repay Mercedes for their investment.

  7. Adrian Jordan says:

    I could see Rubens being snapped up by one of the newer teams as he has a lot to offer in terms of development and insight into how the top teams work.

    The real question is would he go there? He might jump at the chance to help build a team up from very little, or he might decide that he doesn’t want to be there simply to make up the numbers.

    One thing is for sure, an F1 grid without Rubens Barrichello on it is a lesser grid for his absence.

    1. Andy C says:

      Question is, why (unless it was Lotus) would Rubens want to go on racing even further back down the field.

  8. Bruce says:

    Rubens is the new Mark Webber. Go Rubens!

    While I’m here, there’s a problem with F1 racing these days. It’s too exciting. I haven’t time to read the live tweets and as for live timing… well, I can only look at that during the OneHD ad breaks.

  9. Lilla My says:

    Rubens may be the most experienced driver in F1, but he’s also one of the oldest and he’s no longer in his prime. So if he means what he says, I wonder how many teams would be willing to hire him next year if he doesn’t get what he wants in Williams and decides to leave. I still think it’s pretty brave of him to speak so openly, though I’m not sure if it’ll do him good ;-).

    James, off topic question: when we post a comment, we normally get notifications if somebody posts a reply, but we’re never notified if you answer the comment (or at least I’m not). I’m sure it’s done on purpose, but I think it’d be good to be notified that you’ve answered as your replies are most welcome and we often address you for your opinion :).

  10. Red5 says:

    Rubens experience is a valuable commodity, perhaps on of the new teams will throw him a lifeline. But does he come with sponsorship?

    Frank and Patrik have also been around long enough to know how to structure a winning team. And in recent interviews they are not hiding behind Williams recent poor form.

    Just a question of time and some restructuring, sure they will bounce back.

    1. Lilla My says:

      I was also thinking that he might leave for a new team and help develop it with his huge experience. But… he says that Williams lacks a leader and is clearly dipleased with this state. Do the new teams have leaders that would meet Rubens’ expectations? Williams may be in a picle now, but they are still better than the newbies. Would he leave one leaderless team for another leaderless (and a worse one)?

      1. David Goss says:

        Are they “better than the newbies”, though? They are on the same points as all the new teams so far this season – 0. Williams seem to be going backwards, whereas Lotus is improving all the time, and they seem to have strong leadership from Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne.

      2. Lilla My says:

        I agree about Lotus, but I’m not sure whether either Trulli or Kovalainen would make place for Rubens. This leaves us with HRT and Virgin and though points score is the same and Williams seems in fact to be going backwards, they are still better than these 2 newbies.

      3. mtb says:

        Trulli can’t have too many years remaining either.

  11. BMG says:

    look I think they needed to give the place a shake up.

  12. 2 names spring to mind here and its not the first time I have typed them! Dave Richards -CEO and Geoff Willis – Tech Dir. Give it 18 months and you would be back in the top 1/3 of the pecking order. What GW has done this year at Hispania considering he has no tech team is amazing.

    1. Andy C says:

      I think Mike Coughlan will end up leading the team from a technical standpoint, but I wouldnt disagree that those two guys would do a great job also.

      My impressions of Sam were that he had his resources spread too thinly (financial pressures) so he never got the run at the job that other predecessors had.

      1. mtb says:

        Rubens told Radio 5 Live that Michael was left to do too many things.

      2. Andy c says:

        Indeed. That’s my view also.

  13. Jeroen says:

    Who can blame Rubens. Ever since he was released from his gag order by team schumi he has spoken his heart.

    It won’t win him a seat for next year anywhere but then I suspect Rubens already knew that anyway.

    Last race someone has got to honour his achievements and let him on the podium.

  14. Tom in adelaide says:

    The blown diffuser is not exactly new for 2011. How did they not realise the importance of developing this system?

    I’ve heard a lot about ruben’s technical development value, but have seen very little evidence of it….

    1. James Allen says:

      No, but it is with a single diffuser, remember last two years was the double diffuser, which Williams were one of the only teams to adopt at the start of 2009. RBR have the best blown design for single diffuser and have got good gains from it which is why many teams are doing the same.

  15. James Walton says:

    Thank you Rubens for saying what the rest of us have long suspected. As long as Frank Williams hangs on to a top slot at WF1 no-one else, good leader or not, will be able to drive this team anywhere but back to the garage in Grove on a Sunday night with tail between legs. Frank has already shown himself capable of some spectacularly bad people decisions. Who knows if he has chosen badly or well with Parr, but that is almost beside the point as long as Frank is there.

    1. Andy C says:

      I couldnt disagree more with you on Frank. I dont think Frank is the problem.

      For me there are two great reasons for Williams decline of late, lack of a top engine – which will be fixed when they go with Renault next season), and lack of resources on the tech side.

      The fact that Ferrari and Mercedes are apparently trying to secure Sam Michaels services for next year should be a good indicator of how well respected he is in the paddock.

    2. Red5 says:

      Could well be that Parr is the destabilizing influence at Williams, and not Sir Frank.

      1. James Walton says:

        You may be right, but a couple of things remain the case. 1. FW has a record of not handling drivers well, which persists to this day. Does he do the same with staff? 2. FW is nearer the age-driven exit than most other team principals. 3. FW has presided over poor perfornance far longer than any publically-quoted company CEO would be allowed to, and in the end he has to take responsibility. All the glory was some time ago. 4. Parr was chosen by FW.
        I think this is a classic case for the non-exec directors to step in – this is after all now a publically quoted company – and effect some changes on behalf of the shareholders, who so far seem to have been sold more of a piddling pup than a roaring lion, although more fool them for investing in such a poor business model.

    3. mtb says:

      Parr has been credited with making financial decisions that have benefited the organisation as a whole. Frank’s decision to employ him was probably an acknowledgement that the organisation needs to do things differently.

      1. James Walton says:

        Fine thoughts, and maybe FW employed Parr to get the stock market flotation away, but what we want are results on the track, which aren’t coming. An F1 team, especially a privateer, exists ONLY to win World Championships, and this one hasn’t done enough in that direction for many years. Imagine how much Williams and Head could have sold WF1 for if it had won back-to-back Constructor’s Titles…Brawn has trousered more money in one year than they have after 30! It all says timidity, hesitation, iron grip, limited vision to me. One day it’ll be a penny stock for the next Fernandes to snap up.

      2. Toby Bushby says:

        I doubt the flotation was even thought about when Parr was hired.

        As for privateers and success, how many championships of any kind have Sauber won? 20 years for a one-off win as BMW Sauber, yet I bet they are seen by many as being respectable.

        Frank Williams bought second hand chassis to race in the seventies, then transformed that team into the third most successful of all time, while remaining (until very recently) wholly owned by just two men. I’d say that’s more accomplished than anything Ross Brawn or Peter Sauber have done.

        While I think Rubens is right, and am glad to see some sort of big shake-up finally happening at Williams, I’m still being (I think) realistic rather than fatalistic regarding Williams’ chances of pushing back to the front.

        You’re only as good as you’re last season in F1. Right now that means Williams is rubbish (might change this weekend), but remember 3, 4 and 5 years ago and a midfield team called Red Bull? Remember a bit further back to when there was a team who couldn’t build a car that finished a race? They were called Ferrari, I think, or was it Mclaren…. I think both.

  16. Dale says:

    Really, what a silly man he is!
    Does he really think he’d be offered a new contract in any case?
    Me thinks not!

    He has, in my opinion, only ever been second-rate even when he was at his best.

    If he continues to pull his team down Williams should simply sack him and spend the money saved on their team with an eye on 2012 and beyond.

    1. Mark L says:

      He outperformed Jenson second half of 2009 so he can’t be that bad. His main problem has always been being a number two to a better team mate when he was at a top team.

      1. Dale says:

        So why do you think he’s always been a number 2?

        Says it all for me and as for Button as good as he is I don’t think there’s many seasoned F1 watchers who’d put him in their top 3 is there? Not only this but also can you imagine the different pressure he was facing, I think he’d even admit himself he didn’t perform in the second half of the season as he should and could have.

      2. Mark L says:

        Number 2 to the likes of Shumacher doesn’t make you a bad driver and I wouldn’t put Jenson or Rubens in my top 3. Doesn’t make either of them bad drivers though.

  17. Jo Torrent says:

    My point is that Rubens has to complain about something/someone every now and then. The problem is that his favorite target Schumacher is faultless in behavior (as for the driving….).

    So he had to have a go at someone else and Williams was the obvious target. Hitting at the team this hard means probably that he’s leaving and IMO it’s the end of his career. The only spot available for him are the 2 GP2 teams (HRT Virgin) or Trulli’s seat but I don’t see TL giving Rubens the spot.

    1. Andy C says:

      Jarno could teach Rubens a thing or two about negative comments.

      He always has something to say about why things are not going right for him.

      I always considered him as an inconsistent version of fisichella. :-)

  18. Aboubakr says:

    i guess by saying that , he put himself in a bad position , he risk his career (more 1 or 2 years ) like that ,i think that he want to be end up like schumacher this days , he want to leave the F1 with a strong team and with a good results , and that s his right ….

    sorry for my bad english

  19. Jo Torrent says:

    On Adam Parr
    **********

    Is there someone in the paddock who likes this fellow ?

    I read that his siding with Mosley during the breakaway threat left a bitter taste among other teams leaders.
    More crucially though, I never heard one of his drivers or the media saying a nice word about him. IMO, if you manage not to find someone who writes something nice about you given all the rubbish, the nonsense media writes, then you must be responsible.

    1. David Goss says:

      I have seen one or two TV interviews with him and he generally seems slimy and annoying. I can imagine that no-nonsense Mark Webber likes to picture his face when he does boxing.

      1. Marc says:

        David probably not i expect MW to have a certain German who oversees redbull for Dietrich on his mind when he shadow boxes ; )

  20. Rafael says:

    The thing is, Rubens Barrichello will be turning 40 next year and as Michael Schumacher’s return proved: racing competitively at that age is pretty much hopeless. So Rubinho is pretty much past it and this tough talk is pretty much self-promotion as it is an act of desperation, I would say. He’s still probably caught up with his dream of becoming F1 Champion like his mentor, Ayrton Senna, but clearly time has run out for this Brazilian.

    I think that his best shot at becoming world champion was during the early 2000s and in 2009. But in the former, he was never in the same league as Schumacher – skill wise – so was always regarded as a no. 2; and in 2009, he came to life a little bit too late, just when Jenson had pretty much wrapped up the title after building an unassailable lead when the Brawn was at its most competitive.

    As for Williams: as sad is it is to admit, I believe this is pretty much the end of the line. They had their chance to seal their competitive streak in 21st century F1 when they were partners with BMW, but sadly Frank and Patrick drove them away. I still think that had Williams given BMW a voice in
    the design of the car rather than just the engine, they’d have been more competitive. But we know how things turned out for both of them. Adam Parr seems too much of a corporate guy, so his style may never succeed in the “bar room brawl” environment of F1; and Sam Michael? Sad to say, he just never really had it.

    1. Andy c says:

      Did you see what a great job BMW did of running their own team? Just ask Robert kubica

      1. Marc says:

        Ahh yes Andy wasnt that when BMW decided to ditch the work on that years car where Kubica was in with a chance and then decided to put resources into the following years car ; )

      2. Andy c says:

        Exactly. That they had achieved their objectives for the year. Corporate politics does not mix well with racing objectives.

  21. ChinoDevoti says:

    Rubens has the most race experience and knowledge in Formula One but he doesn’t display the most wisdom.
    He claimed he wasn’t allowed to win at Ferrari but when you look at the race results, he had the second most wins during that time only to Schumacher. He stayed on at Honda when Ross was brought on then made accusations he was again made the second fiddle with BrawnGP. Was it not Ross he was accusing of keeping him off the top step while at Ferrari? He signs a contract with WilliamsF1 with the full knowledge that the Team had no ability to compete at the front of the grid with their current management and engineers.
    What next and who’s at fault?

    1. mtb says:

      Rubens, and many Schumacher detractors, have a habit of talking up his performances at Ferrari. There were too many occasions when Rubens was way off Michael’s pace for their comments to be believable.

  22. Andy C says:

    It is clear things are not right at Williams.

    You have messrs Parr and Head at each other, a struggling technical team.

    I’m hoping that the securing of Mike coughlan (who lets not forget what calibre this guy is – indiscretions or not which we all know what happened), plus securing a Renault engine for next year will be the pivotal points.

    I still think they should have retained Hulkenburg and let rubens go. Rubens was still saying that he had contributed heavily towards the direction of development in Nov/Dec time. Perhaps that direction was wrong….

    I loved the comment about him being a top 10 guy in the pitline. Yes Rubens, in 2003 you certainly were.

    1. Dom says:

      Rubens still managed to keep Button honest up until the final round in 2009… – Button only just managed it, if you recall.

      2003 was such a shame for Rubens – the car suited him and I don’t recall Schumacher’s Ferrari ever running out of fuel (Brazil!) – so many issues that year…. funny how they all happened to him.

      I like Rubens – a great guy, still enjoying it and delivering at a high level – would that Schumacher had just an ounce of Ruben’s sportsmanship.

      1. Dom says:

        And wouldn’t it be good seeing a Schumacher/Rubens rematch at Williams next year under the same conditions :)

      2. Andy C says:

        I was just making fun of him really ;-) I was chuckling as I wrote it.

      3. Tim Parry says:

        Remember too that Brawn only gave him a ride a few days before winter practice in 2009. The car was largely developed around Button. Old Rubens did pretty good for himself.

      4. Dom says:

        That’s a good point – by mid-season he’d got his car sorted and was flying.

        He had some fantastic Ferrari victories – Germany in 2000, Silverstone and Suzuka in 2003. Less than a tenth slower than Schumacher on his first two races for Ferrari.. Funny how Schumacher got faster (via more development and practise I suppose) rather than Rubens improve as he got used to his new team as you’d normally expect…) – Rubens would have won Silverstone in 2000 were it not for a mechaical issue…..

      5. mtb says:

        In the second half of the season he was generally quicker than Button, however he made too many unforced errors in the first half of the season and at times simply wasn’t as quick as Button during that stage of the season.

        In their four seasons together, Rubens and Jenson were fairly evenly matched.

      6. Andy c says:

        That’s not my recollection of the winter.

      7. johnpierre rivera says:

        great point. but sadly as we have all come to know F1 really isn’t about sportsmanship. yet we all still watch, love, and are fully committed to this endeavor. it is like a drug that we can’t put down. it is why my wife is asleep now and i am in my zone at 12.44 am in LA.

    2. Red5 says:

      ‘I loved the comment about him being a top 10 guy in the pitline. Yes Rubens, in 2003 you certainly were.’

      It’s all ego. The moment a driver admits he can’t cut it anymore, well, then he can’t cut it anymore.

      1. mtb says:

        He certainly has been overstating his case during the last couple of years. Last year he was quoted as saying that he had to move aside for Schumacher for 6 years, and that he wouldn’t be doing so any more.

  23. Darren says:

    I dont think Rubens is past it. Remember only in 2009 he was winning races, unlike Button who won all his races when the Brawn was utterly dominant at the start of the year, Rubens won his races at the end of the year when the Brawn was not the best car anymore.

    He showed some good pace in the Williams last year too.

    His problem is that he is a bit inconsistant. On his day he is the fastest guy in the world, he sometimes thrashed Schumi for pace at Ferrari but couldnt do it every weekend (probably due to Schumi getting all the new toys on his car in advance but thats a different argument).

    He is widely regarded as a very good testing/development driver. He would be an advantage to any team that have him.

    I can see his problem at Williams, too many gaffers and no boss.

    To be fair I think Wiliams have been in the doldrums for a long time now, even 10 years ago their car was not great, the sheer power of the BWM V10 made up for it, just. Not to mention the financial backing. (good god was that 10 years ago, sighs and looks at gray hair in mirror).

    They need a serious rethink.

    1. mtb says:

      “he sometimes thrashed Schumi for pace at Ferrari but couldnt do it every weekend (probably due to Schumi getting all the new toys on his car in advance but thats a different argument)”

      Perhaps you are overstating the case?

  24. Sebee says:

    Off topic…

    Important development and confirmation of state of play. Who’s holding the cards now? CVC has to be sweating!! And to me this is becoming one of the most logical transition options from the Mr. E. era to the next version. I think the teams are in a very very strong position here, stronger than ever with time on their hands. I would say decision day is end of this year and then they have a whole year to organize things. I just don’t see these men letting this type of strong position slip by to take over the sport. It’s like having the nuts and knowing your opponent is on huge bluff. You just can’t let that opportunity slip by.

    >>
    “I think we have to be very pragmatic. At the end of 2012, the contracts of every single team with CVC will expire. So, we have three alternatives,” di Montezemolo told CNN.

    “We renew with CVC, or we theoretically – as the basketball teams did in the U.S. with great success – we create our own company, like the NBA. Just to run the races, the TV rights and so.

    “And third, to find a different partner. Bernie Ecclestone did a very good job but he has already sold out three times, so he doesn’t own the business anymore. It is CVC that will sell. It will be the teams’ decisions.

    “At the end of 2012, the contract will expire, so theoretically CVC doesn’t own anything. I think it is important to have alternatives. We will see. We have time to do it.”

  25. Shir0 says:

    I say Barrichello should stay but not as a driver but probably as Team Principal if he has the skills to do so. He has the experience of working within F1 teams and has probably a dead-on idea on which direct should a team take to at least be a competitive mid-field team within the confines of the current RRA. Moreso, he will have plenty of opportunities to gain skills he’s yet to acquire and hone those which he already has starting with the 2013 season. Sir Frank should really think hard about having him as a “technical and race team leader” if not a “team principal” in the formal sense of the title.

  26. Steven Pritchard says:

    Unusual for a driver to talk about their team in this way yes, but not unusual for Rubens as we have seen many times during the last few years…

  27. jmv says:

    Definitely Rubens knows more about F1 than Parr.

    As for his career: he’s had a second best career. Winning a few races, poles, many podiums (some memorable drives with Stewart F1 achieving podium finishes e.g. Monaco) and having driven for Ferrari.

    If he can’t find a drive in F1 I wouldn’t be surprised to see him continuing perhaps in IRL or NASCAR.

    A guy with nothing to lose.

    1. Andy C says:

      I guess having spent the last 20 years of his life away from home, perhaps he will enjoy having some time off when the time comes.

  28. Jo Torrent says:

    Bahrain
    *****

    Off topic James, how can F1 go to Bahrain because it will go to Bahrain. The emergency status will stop 2 days before the new date set for the GrandPrix.

    I know that F1 and FIA aren’t a heaven of morality with Ballestre Nazi background, Ecclestone comments about Hitler (even if he almost died due to a Nazi bombing) and Mosley SM pratices.

    If they go there, it will be like going to South Africa under Apartheid regime. It’s complete non-sense… The F1 even for selfish reasons to preserve sponsors, to give a good image for itself, to make the race more about the sport than extra-matters should avoid Bahrain.

    The political power middle-easters gathered within the FIA is the main reason. We know Ecclestone never cared about human rights and he is consistent. But TODT needs the back-up from middle east and that’s why the FIA is being very generous to Bahrain. Add to that McLaren stong ties there…

    Hopefully, the media doesn’t need Bahrain and they should make it very painful for “Al Khalifa & co”. It would be great if most of the journos boycott the GrandPrix, but it looks very unlikely. There’s Webber the only driver who knows there’s a world beyond his cockpit. Hopefully he’ll keep speaking up his mind.

    List of atrocities :

    - Killing of protesters
    - Jailing of medics because they did their duty & more importantly because they are witnesses of the number and the gravity of the injuries
    - 4 death sentences so far with terrorism accusation the same accusation Ben Ali made against Tunisian protestors, the same accusation Nazis made against resistance in occupied Europe.
    - a goverment official accused young protestors of taking pills borrowing an idea from Gaddafi
    - people are disappearing thanks to emergency laws making arrests without procedure possible.

    The track is clean though, boring and sandy but clean. The spectators will probably be units from the Saudi and Bahraini armies so safety should be guaranteed for protesters.

    1. James Allen says:

      Agreed it’s a very difficult situation and F1 should not go at this time, should let country sort out its problems. Even if the state of emergency is lifted, F1 is likely to be the focus of protests

      1. The other Ian says:

        James, a question for you, if I may.
        Should the Bahraini authorities say that they are ready to host the race, are the FIA then legally oblige to race there?

      2. James Allen says:

        Excellent question. Surely they should have their own process of evaluation. They certainly do from a safety point of view in terms of circuits. Wider security issues must be the same. Will find out

      3. Jo Torrent says:

        I somehow think that Bahrain has breached its contract. I don’t think that the FIA has to go there this year.

        If the FIA decides to go it will be accountable for safety issues I presume because they are well aware of the tension there.

      4. Nando says:

        I’d like to see them try and bring a case in any European court.

  29. mm says:

    Through the years I’ve always admired Sir Frank Williams for his bold and brave decisions – to fire reigning champions when their heads seemed to grow out of appropriate proportions.

    Remember Damon Hill’s comment, “I feel invincible!”? At a time when it really was all about the excellence of the team and Sir Frank’s leadership? Remember Jacques Villeneuve?

    I predict with certainty that Rubens won’t be around with Williams in 2012. He might be a very good driver, but his “old lady” tantrums and too often bitter comments will finally eliminate him from F1.

    As for the future of Williams F1 – I hope “you ain’t seen nothing yet”!

    1. VV says:

      Damon was not fired. His contract was up, and Frank didn’t renew it. There’s a difference.

      I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about Villeneuve. He was there for three years, then he left to join BAR, a team that was built for him.

      1. mm says:

        Sorry if my word “fired” offended. I am sure, however, that no winning team would easily “let go” of their world champions had there not been other more serious issues. We as supporters may not know all the contract details, but can see, hear and sense attitudes of drivers from a distance.

      2. James Walton says:

        Or the alternative reality is that no-one is allowed to become too strong at WF1 as long as FW is there, so he ends up losing good people and keeping second-raters. What has happened now is that an all-round good guy [Barichello] has said this in public. This is a public company, FW should be called to account, but instead he’s pout Parr into a titular role to take the flak whilst he pulls all the strings in the background and remains impregnable. FW’s toys no longer belong to him, but he isnt about to share them with anyone…

  30. Chris Newnham says:

    There’s a rumour going around (reported on Global TV Brazil) that in testing Williams were running their car lower than the regs allow without realising.

    When they noticed and raised the car, they lost a lot of grip and the balance went out of the window…

  31. F1 Kitteh says:

    James, I’m curious why you state Rubens and Parr don’t have a good relationship. Wasn’t the management very keen on Rubens staying on this year because of his experience? Or was that mainly Sam Michael’s idea?

  32. ACB says:

    I like Rubens a lot, he’s a genuinely decent man. But he does have a bit of a temper, and does not suffer frustration particularly well. He’s had some run-ins with Ross both at Ferrari and Honda/Brawn, and his tendancy to complain hasn’t done him much good. He is the most experienced driver in Formula One but that doesn’t necessarily translate into knowing what is right or wrong with his team, and in this case I think it’s bad form for him to publicly go after his team like this. He is indeed frustrated by the lack of performance and this is no doubt compounded by the fact that he has more days behind than ahead as a driver. If you read between the lines, what he’s really saying is ‘this is not how I want to end my carreer.’ Whether he can sign on with a top team is questionable. Where would he go? Ferrari? No, Mclaren, no, Red Bull? No. Lotus/Renault maybe but doubtful, Mercedes? Also no. Sauber? That would an improvement in pace but perhaps a step down from the prestige of Williams. Seriously, that was an impetuous thing to say.

    1. mtb says:

      He had a bit to say about the decision to remove Sam Michael on Radio 5 Live, and it was clear from his comments that he believed that the wrong decision had been made. He said something about Michael having to do too many things.

  33. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Does Rubens bring some big Brazilian sponsor with him?

    It’s certainly brave for him to be talking like this at 39. Reading this reminded me of that classic Yellow Pages advert…”Rubens shouldn’t really be doing that at his age”.

  34. Richard Groves says:

    Nice one Rubens. Be great to see Williams, and Rubens, doing well again.

    Buy a stake in the team Rubens – 10% say – kick some arse, and drive them forward.

  35. Forzaminardi says:

    Pah, what’s all this about his age and being past it? He destroyed Hulkenberg last year, damn near won the title the year before. The man is a living legend. I suspect he’s well aware people see him as having not much fuel left in the tank so why not speak his mind and let others worry about it. I’m sure he wanted to plenty of times at Ferrari but bit his tongue. So why not stick his oar in to show he’s still got the fire about him. If they don’t heed his advice the car will be bad again next year anyway, so no loss if he’s not in it.

    My adult life has been defined by supporting Rubens through the ups and downs of his F1 career. When he retires, part of my love for F1 will die. Acelera Rubinho!

  36. Terrordales says:

    Farewell Rubens.
    it’s been great to have you around for the last 2 decades but a comment like that will not endear you to any team principal, let alone Frank.
    I’d rather see you go out on a high than drive for the “fill up the spaces” tams (HRT, Virgin, Team Lotus/Caterham). Your glory days are over, try NASCAR or similar you won’t be in F1 next year with that attitude.

  37. andy155 says:

    The true measure of Barrichello’s talent can best be judged by looking at his performance in the 1992 FIA F3000 Championship. Champion Luca Badoer won 4 races, whilst runner up Andrea Montermini scored 3 impressive victories, including the formidable Spa Francorchamps, where Montermini also took pole position and set the fastest race lap. Barrichello finished a lowly 5th at Spa, never won a single race all season and he never achieved a pole position. His best result was his 2nd place podium finish at Silverstone, where he had spent most of his career racing in British Formula Ford, Vauxhall Opel and F3.

    My prize for the worst decision of 2010 goes to Frank Williams and Patrick Head, for keeping Ruben Barrichello and dropping Nico Hulkenberg. A clear sign of how Williams are living in the past with no hope for the future.

    Barrichello was never embraced by the Brazilian fans simply because he never measured up against the great Brazilian champions they adored, worshipped and idolized. 11 wins out of 311 starts, all achieved in one of the very the best cars, hasn’t impressed the Brazilian fans who are so passionate about F1. Never more than a competent number two, Barrichello was a solid midfield driver until he sold out as a supporting player to a mega teammate with a great car in an incredible team. Great drivers like Montoya and Raikkonen would never have sold their rights for money the way Barrichello did.

    I’m sick and tired of all his whingeing, whining, complaining and excuses. F1 will be better off without him!

    1. James Allen says:

      I think that’s very harsh to reflect on the F3000 season. Why not F3 where he beat DC?

      1. ACB says:

        I agree James. Formula One is a rather unique skillset, some men who do well in feeder series can’t adapt to F-1, and some who are average in a feeder series excel in F-1.

      2. James Allen says:

        Lots of examples of that

    2. j says:

      I think you could pick a season from any driver in the field where for whatever reason they didn’t do well.

      The fact that you had to go all the way back to F3000 to “prove” your point says volumes.

    3. Definitely, just look at how Kobayashi’s poor GP2 form extended into F1… oh, wait. Nevermind.

  38. zombie says:

    James,

    Is it true that Barrichello was so devastatingly,unbelievably quick in his Ferrari days that Ferrari secretly would add ballast to his car so that he wouldn’t beat Michael ? It is indeed surprising why teams with good business acumen like Ferrari and Mclaren would be 20 million plus for someone like Michael where as they could have won a dozen titles with someone making less than 1/4th of it ?

    Yes, the above was sarcasm as i have nothing to say about a driver who loves playing “the victim”. He had the same car,from the same factory with same tyres as Michael during his Ferrari days. People talk about Austria conveniently forgetting Michael letting Rubens win Monza 2002 or US GP 2002 ? How many victories did Rubens have compared in 2000 and 2001 ? We all saw his “world-beating speed” in a difficult F2003-GA compared to his much derided teammate.And while we are at it, how many fastest laps and pole positions did Rubens have compared to Michael in the same car ?

    If my employer is short-changing me, i must be really stupid to wait for half a decade before moving on,especially in a sport like F1 where most careers last around 15 years.

    During the difficult Honda days, Button,who by no stretch of imagination is one of F1′s all time greats,had the measure of Barichello. ( Even in 2008,where Rubens had more points than Button, in races when they both finished, Button beat Rubens 7-4 ).And he was convincingly beaten by Button in 2009.

    Barrichello who is now in the final days of his career loves to bring out his persecution tendencies to justify his not exactly a stellar career.

  39. Barrichello was with the team last year and apparently had the opportunity of helping to define the development of the 2011 car. His input was obviously not that helpful as the car seems to be a dog. It is Barrichello’s dog. So why is he accusing the team for something which he is also responsible? Now we know why he was never world champion.

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