F1 Winter Break
Rubens settles some old scores
Rubens settles some old scores
Posted By:   |  26 Nov 2008   |  12:17 am GMT  |  14 comments

One of the most dramatic moments in my F1 broadcasting career was the end of the Austrian Grand Prix in 2002, when Rubens Barrichello, having dominated qualifying and the race on Michael Schumacher’s bogey track, was ordered to move over on the final lap to let Schumacher win the race. This was the event which brought in the rule we have today; no team orders allowed.

I called that race with Mark Blundell and we had discussed throughout the closing stages whether Ferrari would switch the cars. He said they would, I said they couldn’t. But they could and they did and the crowd hated it – they stamped their feet in the grandstand so hard the whole structure was shaking, with our commentary box swaying above it. The FIA also hated it (and the subsequent farce on the podium, where Schuey ‘promoted’ Barrichello to the top step) so much they fined Ferrari $1 million.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I think Rubens Barrichello will always be remembered as being the racing driver who was too nice for his own good. Do you think he has that streak of selfishness and ruthlessness which seems characteristic of World Champions?

I very much agree with you that his being cast aside would be a deeply unsatisfactory end to his career, especially considering that he outperformed Jenson Button pretty comprehensively this season.


I don't understand what Rubens is doing unless he already knows for certain that he's lost the Honda drive. The only other possibility is that he's got a LOT more juicy gossip in his back pocket and the best way to keep him quiet is to give him the drive!


You're right Mike about him having a lot more gossip and Rubens hinted as much when answering a Q&A in October's F1 Racing.

He said he plans to write a book because "the public needs some extra explanation of some of my times in F1 because it's only fair that I say what really happened in some circumstances. I'm not planning revenge or anything, it's just that some things need to be said."

It should be an interesting read but I don't think it's a major revelation for him to come out and say there were team orders at Ferrari which were set up to favour Schuey.

Besides, just because the team can't go on the radio to say "pull over and let whoever through" doesn't stop it at all. They will be told in the garge before a race and then operate accordingly like Kimi did with Massa towards the end of the season.

It is a shame that one of F1's favourite sons didn't get the chance to bid farewell properly but sport can be cruel and it doesn't let everyone write the perfect script - just ask DC!


I would like knowing, but i will not pay a penny for the book.
Barrichello will go out the back door. And from my point of view, he does not deserve a lot better. Other drivers in the past got in the same position he was in austria 02, and they did not allowed the team to decide the outcome of the race. Fance 82, and brasil 81, come to mind. Both arnoux and reuteman won those races. And they got the heat from their teams. And please do not forget when schumacher gave at least two victries as a gift to him. Rubens are you going to talk about that in your book, or you are going to have a memory lapse.


I think Jose makes some good points.

The whole Austria 2002 outrage seemed a bit over the top, and even a little manufactured to me.

In 2008 everyone spoke of team orders as though they are perfectly normal in F1.

The only difference is that Schumacher is no longer involved. The whole debate in F1 over the last decade has been dominated by jealousy towards Schumacher.

And Barrichello would be better remembered if he didn't seem to bitter. He ought to be honest. He did what he was told by his employer, and should be proud of that, instead of later complaining about it.


Jose, i think schumacher gave rubens a couple of wins AFTER Austria 2002. He just couldn't sleep well after what happened in A1 RING...


Schumi gifting wins back smelt more of PR and damage control ...

I love Rubens but I have a feeling he knows he has already lost his drive for next year. What a shame 🙁


Rubens is just bitter cause he knows his f1 career is over.

Rubens was rarely as fast as Schumacher. He had his days were he was better than anyone on the track but could not do it every race weekend. That was down to him not team orders.

Its no good complaining about number 2 status now. If he dident like it he shouldent of stayed for 6 years.


Why are we going back into the past, where we have a similiar situation this year and no one is saying anything?

We had the most dramatic finish to the F1 chapionship with Lewis winning on the second to last lap, and yet there is very little talk about it. Why?

Because we all suspect that Timo Glock let Lewis pass him.

If he did, it is serious cheating, match fixing and dirty play, something everyone was worried someone would do to Lewis.

From Lewis to Eddie Jordan, Jackie Steward and Dammon Hill was worried that Massa or a friend would wipe Lewis out and give the championship to Massa. Everyone, even the commentators were worried when Alonso was behind Lewis on the starting grid and wondered what he would do.

Why has no-one questioned the fact that Massa could have been cheated? Why has there been no official investigation?

Why have Toyota's radio conversations not been published?

Forget Michael getting the championship through cheating, look at Lewis and ask, "Did Timo Glock give the championship to Lewis?"



JA writes: Myles, there was a conspiracy theory about Glock letting Lewis through, but you have to remember that he was on dry tyres on an increasingly wet track. Starting that last lap, Lewis was 13 seconds behind him and he caught him with two corners to go. But Glock wasn't the only one who had gambled and stayed on dry tyres, Trulli did it too. He set virtually the same lap time as Glock on the last lap, a 1m 44s, so that tells you both drivers were doing their best to keep the car on the road and there is nothing more to it than that. Toyota took a chance because they had nothing to lose and if the rain had held off for another minute or so, Glock would have finished fourth or fifth and Massa would be champion.


How do Ferrari continue to get away with not broadcasting any pit radio? Can the stewards and Bernievision hear their messages (along with the other teams) during the race, but not put them on air? James, are you able to shed any light on this for us?


JA writes: Yes I can. Ferrari and McLaren scramble their radios, and there is a button system on the pit wall linked to the FOM TV centre, which means that teams can allow access to their conversations at the touch of a button. Generally those two teams have only allowed access to the post race celebrations, but my understanding is that all teams will be obliged to keep their radios open at all times next year, so the TV director should be able to give radio traffic from every team. Let's wait and see if they deliver.


Now that would be interesting. The teams always want to know how to improve the show. Open radios would be cool!


Fingers crossed! Opening it up would finally fulfil the potential of pit radio broadcasts. I'd have loved to have heard more of how different teams and drivers communicate during a race - how Schumacher and Alonso direct strategies, how a top race engineer like Rob Smedley works with Massa, and how much McLaren "manage" their drivers.

Many thanks, James, for such a rapid and insightful response.

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!