Street Fight
Monte Carlo 2018
Monaco Grand Prix
Barrichello’s a winner whatever happens from here on
Barrichello’s a winner whatever happens from here on
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Sep 2009   |  6:32 pm GMT  |  79 comments

Rubens Barrichello was magnificent this weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.

But whatever happens from now on, whether he is able to beat Jenson Button to the world championship or not, the whole season has been a win for him.

Still crazy for racing after all these years

Still crazy for racing after all these years

He didn’t have a drive in January and yet his stunning performances in the second half of the season, including two wins, have more than done enough to cement his place in F1 next year, for an unprecedented 18th season! As Ross Brawn said to me recently, he sees no reason why he wouldn’t retain Barrichello for next year.

Of course, since he said that he appears to have sold a controlling interest in the team to Mercedes and there are suggestions that they would like to have a German driver in the car, possibly Rosberg.

But even in that unlikely eventuality, Rubens has shown that he is still capable of sitting at F1’s top table and Williams and several others would have him in a heartbeat. His maturity combined with his lasting passion for the sport mean that he is able to calmly put together complete race weekends one after another. Not too many drivers in F1 can do that and it’s one of the key requirements in my mind. He is also as good as anyone out there technically, at setting a car up.

His Achilles Heel is braking; he has to have a car with good braking stability and suffers if he doesn’t get it. Luckily for him the Brawn is very strong in that area.

Looking at him this weekend without his beard he looked younger again, rejuvenated by a competitive season and by his ability to get the best from himself and his car.

Barrichello is on target to make a real piece of history; he is already the most experienced driver by far with 279 starts and that means next year, if the calendar has 18 races as we believe it will, he’ll break the 300 Grand Prix starts barrier before the end of the 2010 season!

“I think it is a winning year whatever happens, ” said Barrichello this afternoon. “We have got to remember that it is not long ago we had no jobs. We did not know what is going to happen, so we are finally driving a fantastic car with a fantastic engine. The team are doing a fantastic job. I must thank them for all of their efforts.”

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 that something went wrong, repeat again!

Barrichello drove a great race. However I’m backing Button for the title.

On the driver line up’s for 2010, im going with Alonso back to Mclaren and Kimi to stay on at Ferrari. That’s what I want to happen.


On another board, I referred to Jenson’s season as a three act fairytale – it all goes wonderfully right, then it all goes horribly wrong, then finally it all comes together again. After a DNF and some very poor results (but all points finishes I believe), coming second is a fantastic result for Jenson.

Rubens had a great race at Monza, (though ten more laps and those Brawns might well have swapped places), but he can be horribly poor at start time, when he gets it right, he’s damn good, but he gets it wrong too often.

I’m looking forward to seeing Jenson and Rubens fight it down to the wire, (and Ross will let them fight I think – it’s his no matter which guy gets it) but Rubens needs a lot of luck to take the WDC from Jenson, and I think Jenson has got his feet back under him now. Sorry Rubens.


“…ten more laps and those Brawns might well have swapped places”.

Yes, and had Rubens clutch worked the three times it didn´t, they would be pretty much even today going for the season finale.

It´s ridiculous to count on ifs and buts. They are 14 points apart and Rubens is on an ascending curve.

Those are the facts and Singapore will be a great stage battle for both Brawn drivers.


Rubens clutch or Rubens ability to use it properly? 🙂

It IS ridiculous to count on ifs and buts, but what I really meant by the swapping of the Brawns comment was that while Rubens was driving well, Jenson was fighting to catch him, so writing Jenson off for only(?) getting second is premature, wherever his head was for the last few races, it looks like it’s back in the car now.

The ifs and buts can be fun, and everyone championing Rubens for WDC at the moment is working on a lot of ifs.. “if Jenson getting second was a fluke, and if neither of the Red Bulls get their act together, and if Lewis and Kimi fall off the track a lot…”

It will happen as it does. It’s VERY big ask for Rubens to do better than second this year, it’s possible, but it needs more than just Jenson, doing very poorly and Rubens doing very well in the last 4 races. It should be damn good fun to watch though.


The three act structure is the one used for all blockbuster novels and screenplays. It would make a great film then, if anyone could afford the rights.


True on all points, James.

It’s already a fairytale from Ross Brawn’s perspective tho. To be confirmed so late as having the drive at all, to have a barely tested car do so well – a GP win on it’s first outing, and for his team to be this close to both the WDC and WCC titles is more than a bit special.

Actually, you’d chuck that screenplay in the bin as being too unrealistic to bother with!


Anyone(RB)that was prepared to be Michaels lackey for so long doesnt deserve to be a World Champ!Button murdered him at the start of the year and i dont want to see a World champ winning two, maybe three races less than the guy who comes second.


Good race for rubens, but don’t forget that it is the same kind of performance he was able to achieve at ferrari when everything was perfect, and more often than not the maximun he was able to do was second behind schumacher.

Button is not michael.

So nothing has changed, a second class driver, with the best car, like in the ferrari years.


I’ve a question…

When I was watching the footage of Lewis’s pole quali lap, it looked as though the car/bodywork was “flexing”. When I watched any footage of anyone else (didn’t see Heikki’s) there didn’t appear to be any flexing at all.

I’m not sure if it was an optical illusion created by the reflections in the silver bodywork or not. The Ferrari had no flex but no reflections of the trees etc going by.

Can anyone shed any light? Or do I need a better TV!!!?


I’m talking in-car footage by the way…

Racing not politics

I have quali saved on sky+ and will go back and have a look. Which part of the car are you referring to Steve?

PS I love gadgets and technology so getting a better TV is never a bad thing ;o)

Racing not politics

ok, thanks Steve I’ll take a look and let you know. Phil


On the in car footage, as you look forwards over the drivers head, the bodywork from the steering wheel down to the nosecone.

It appears (to my eyes) to flex as though being slightly twisted by the force of the cornering.

The front of the Ferrari, on the other hand, seems rock solid as the car turns through corners etc…


Maybe I just have a suspicious nature but I always have a tendency to think that sometimes things are not quite as they appear on the surface.

In the first part of the season Jense comprehensively blew Rubens away, destroyed him at will in the races. Then suddenly something happened, Rubens screamed blue murder and threw his toys out in the biggest way possible. Could it be that he objected to playing to the same old demeaning script that he had agreed to for all those years at Maranello? Under, guess who, Ross Brawn. So then, surprise, surprise, the old boy then finds a new lease of life (after his tantrum) and suddenly becomes the championship contender he never was previously.

Could it be that Ross decided to let the old guy have a piece of the action just for once, to repay him for all those years faithfully playing second fiddle to the great man. Just felt a bit sorry for him, maybe, and decided to make amends to him in his last year in Formula One. After all, with Jense’s lead in the championship, Rubens can quite now be allowed to gain one or two points a race on the championship leader, without jeopardising the outcome of the season.

At Monza I get the feeling Jense was very comfortable, judging by his telling comments afterwards about his race engineer getting over-excited at the end of the race. My guess is he could have easily have taken Rubens if he (and Ross) had wanted. It simply wasn’t necessary because everything is going to plan once again.

And if you don’t think Formula One is cynically stage managed at times, cast your mind back to Singapore, last year. Eh?

Racing not politics

Teams don’t tend to favour one driver until it is clear that they are well ahead of their team mate and need the help to stay ahead of (or catch up with) a competitor from another team.

If anything Ross would have been asking Rubens to support Jenson a few races ago when Jenson started to falter and RBR started to close the gap. Team orders (sorry they’re banned aren’t they?) probably aren’t necessary now as the competition has pretty much evaporated and it’s 99% likely that the winner will be one or the other of the Brawn drivers.

Maybe the change in Rubens form was down to Ross telling him to up his game to prevent him from being asked to support Jenson?


I’m afraid I don’t agree with you there. Barrichello was on it and now that it’s virtually certain that one of his drivers will win it, I don’t thing Ross cares which one comes through.


I agree with James. Rubens looked smoother and more in control of his car than Jenson who had the rear end moving around more than Rubens.


It’s amazing how perception can change. Barrichello has been outpaced by his teammate all year. He gets 2 wins and all of a sudden it’s “too bad” that he cannot become world champion anymore.

If Barrichello really was that great (and not the inconsistent divo drama queen that he is) then he would be in the lead.


James, it looks like we may be going down to the wire again. Congratulations to Rubens. But what about the other RB? Following Saturday pracice I asked you if Brawn “were on the pace”?. You replied that “they were looking good”. What we did’nt know was that Ross Brawn had decided to spend a good chunk of Friday running fuel loads upto 70 kilos. The point is that, having accepted that a one-stop strategy was the quickest way route, RB concentrated on beating the KERS cars, not into turn one, but to the final flag. no ‘Glory Runs’. One Website commented that the pace of the Brawns was “worrying” after P2. In short Ross Brawn gave another demonstration in how to plan and execute a race weekend. Christian Horner said that the “KERS cars could not be beaten at Monza”, Ross Brawn has proved otherwise! Earlier bloggs commented on defining moments of 2009. For the WDC, it’s not straight forward. For the WCC, I nominate Monza 09. Red Bull were out-thought and their race performance was nowhere to be seen. Brawn gained another 17 points on them. When RBR look back at this season, they will see Monza as a race where a brilliant strategic thinker and man-manager once again proved that his peers in the pitlane are no match for him. Well done to Ross Brawn


I feel, it’s a combination of things.

With no on-track testing teams have brought items from the “perfect” conditions of a wind-tunnel to the “imperfect” conditions of a track… I feel it is why we are seeing such discrepancies this season; some updates work, some don’t – for whatever reason.

Same goes for the tyres… everyone figured Brawn would ace Hungary (due to the ambient temperatures) – they didn’t! People speculated Spa would be a Red Bull track – it wasn’t!

And then bear in mind the regs were completely changed at the start of the year; so no evolution of a previous years car design and all data from previous years would likely be irrelevant.

As for Monza, Brawn worked it well – they (and Red Bull) had experienced being swamped by KERS cars in earlier races. Force India hadn’t been in that situation before, hence their focus on a grid position and their struggle to get past Kimi both in Spa and Monza, for Fisi and Sutil respectively.

Everyone knows that Monza is a one-stop race, so Brawn adjusted their strategy accordingly.

However if they had not made it past Kova on lap one, they would not have had a 1-2.

Macca backed Lewis to do a Schumi (in France) by asking him to run lap after lap on the edge, with the hope that Heikki (and perhaps Kimi too) would hold them up.


Only a few drivers didn’t go for a 1-stop strategy. There was nothing special about Brawns choice for a one stopper.

I guess Hamilton felt he couldn’t deal with the tyres since Whitmarsh stated that the single stop strategy should have been 7 seconds faster. Yet they still put Hamilton on a one stop strategy.

Saying Brawn was outthinking Horner is a tad silly. It’s easy too look brilliant when your car is about half a second faster than the competition. Even if you both use the same strategy …

What did surprise me was Red Bull’s utter lack of pace. I wouldn’t be surprised if their idea of hardly going out during free practice caused this. No training means no setup and no setup means poor performance.

I’d say they better take a grid penalty for an extra engine and perform to the full potential of their car. They would have lost out less doing that. At least they would have gone down fighting rather than looking deer in headlights.


You need to remember that Chritian Horner made his comments during Friday Morning Practice, not after he had studied the lap times of the opposition. To publicly state that your team, a championship contender, has “no hope” (his words) does suggest that he was already on the back foot and out of ideas. He had no answer to the KERS cars. Ross Brawn simply gave it more thought and his drivers delivered. The only part that did not quite go to plan was Jenson ending up behind Rubens. The other one-stoppers just hoped to score points due to other teams reliability. Brawn just took the fight to the KERS Cars and it paid off handsomely!


The Red Bull cars were simply half a second slower and the Brawn cars were just as fast as the McLarens.

That has nothing to do with “thought” or “brilliance”. Horner was on the back foot because his cars were slower. Mere mortals don’t “will” their cars to go half a second a lap faster …


I’m also really impressed with Rubens. I would not thought he would be winning races like that, when looking back at the start of the season, how much he was losing for Button and the unhappiness with the team, I don’t know what has happened in Brawn, but it’s vice versa now, Button losing to Barrichello. I have always thought that Jenson is faster than Barrichello, maybe I need to change my views.

I wonder if he will remain at Brawn for next year, or will be replaced with Rosberg.


I can’t help but feel that Rubens might yet have some more bad luck this season…it just seems to haunt him throughout his career…and I feel it will be at Interlagos, which is a shame as I would love for him to win there. I hope I’m wrong and him and Jenson push each other all the way to the final race.

As a long time Button fan I obviously want him to win the WDC, but if Rubens wins it, I’ll still be happy…


Well done Rubens.

I think the most deserving of the 4 contenders for WDC this year.

Spa and then Monza…

South Korean and Indian officials PLEASE take note….


How can they possibly take note if Tilke is designing the circuits…?


Barrichello has just gotten better with age. He is in his top form right now and I rate him as good as the top guys such as Vettel, Raikonnen, Alonso and Hamilton.

The way he’s going he could continue to drive into his early 40s.

If Brawn doesn’t give him a drive next year, they’re nuts. He’s driving better than Rosberg and Button, to make him get a drive for Williams or one of the startups would be crazy.


No matter what anyone else says, I think Rubens is a champ, a heck of a nice guy and more than pulling his own weight. I hope he beats Jens to the WDC, even though Jens is also good guy.


I can’t agree more


When you look at Button and Rubens, Rubens looks more complete, has the confidence to take the fight and win the title, on the other hand, Button looks a bit insecure, he will be worried about rubens, the poor qualifying where he might get boxed up, if rubens flies off with the red bulls, so Button has more stuff to worry about, the media and the public are putting pressure on him, we have seen cases similar to Lewis where in the showdown moments he made mistakes, I wont be surprised if button makes some mistakes, he has had reliability and laws of physics will work against him, Rubens has had his fair share.

It will all boil down if Brawn will give Rubens a car to take a title with or will they opt if the likes of Vettel get knocked out to give Button a cushion breather and remove Rubens near Button.

Interestingly, Button stays with the team and Rubens is unconfirmed, Will Brawn be happy to see their number 1 car leave to another team? Time will tell.


I think it is something else, and the bane of this year has been the complete and utter dominance of tyre performance almost to the exclusion of other factors.

I think it says something that the experienced drivers admire Button’s style, the smooth style that supposedly is the target of any F1 driver, yet it is this smooth style that hinders him from working the tyres. (Yes, a complete driver should be able to work around this, but…)

The tyres have made every single team look foolish at times, and when you even had Brawn scratching their heads and admitting that they didn’t really understand the problem, then there has to be something wrong, and the variance of the tyres from session to session seems to beyond the range of what can be coped with in any particular car design, so each team waits to be gifted a race that hits their sweet spot.

The next big thing in F1 has to be getting the peakiness out of tyres. We need something that punishes a poor set-up, but will be predictable on a range of good set-ups and rewarding to the perfect set-up. The tyre lottery spoils racing.


Giday, Re Reno’s dilema, is it better to “fix” a result by running into another competitor, (Senna/Louda & Shumacher/Hill, and probably many other instances!), or is it better to just crash by yourself????? Think about that. FIA must think they are God,& they’re deffinately doing Renault serious harm & not helping F1 either.



I always thought this too


I am far from convinced. Rubens is great….when things are going his way, as they are right now. But his rants after losing in Turkey (and Spain?)suggested to me that he was ready to quit.This was the team that was making him lose, remember. But its easy to be happy when your winning. What will happen if Button starts winning again? More toys out of the pram would be a good bet. Time to go out on a good note.


A driver who just lost a race he thought he should have won should be angry.


Barrichello’s psyche must be carrying some damage from the Ferrari years, so it’s hardly surprising if he’s sensitive to certain events (or their initial appearance).

I, too, wonder about the future. It’s great the Barrichello still has the passion and the speed but what is the likelihood of topping this season, whether he wins the title or not, especially in another team? As much as I would miss him, could this be the ideal time to bow out; or could he really fight for wins again with Brawn; or could he lead a Williams resurgence?

Paige Michael-Shetley

Barrichello has always been a very impressive talent, but he just couldn’t seem to put it all together earlier in his career in a way that would have landed him rides with the likes of Williams and McLaren and put him in a good position to contend for championships. We all know his role at Ferrari.

It’s very impressive that he’s so competitive at his current age. Yes, the Brawn is often the best car this season, but he’s still won and done a terrific job. He’s only gotten better as the season has gone on. As you said, he’s had the measure of Button and pretty much everyone else after Istanbul, which was a really rotten race for him.

This is going to sound like something out of left field, but if I’m McLaren, I would very strongly consider adding Barrichello for next season (or even two). Sure, now is a great time to add a young talent like Kubica or Rosberg, but two years’ time will be an even better opportunity to land an even better (and even younger) talent in Vettel once his contract expires in 2011. They’ve made little secret of the fact they want him, and it doesn’t take a great leap of logic to arrive at the conclusion that they’d prefer him over all current non-Hamilton drivers. In the meantime, they can have a still very quick Barrichello in the other seat to push Hamilton, and his technical aptitude may just rub off on their top man.

James, it’s interesting you mentioned the bit about brakes. Peter Windsor did a segment during the American Speed TV qualifying broadcast about brakes, and Barrichello was one of the guys he questioned. Apparently, Barrichello switched from the Hitco brakes to the Brembo brakes because the he was having a problem with the rear calipers overheating on the Hitcos. Any idea of when he made this change? It’ll be interesting if there’s a correlation between the change in brakes and his performance improvement.


Peter Windsor is obsessed about brakes. I’m not sure the guy knows what he’s talking about though. He talks the talk…


Having worked for Williams & Ferrari in senior positions and setting up USGP might suggest an element of credibility.


USGP and credibility in the same sentence? I don’t think so!


Why do you say that, Gary?


No but he’s done that kind of thing quite a bit. He really is very particular about brakes


You can´t help but love the guy, an “old” man in F1 terms but still sweeping the floor with all the rookies. Go Rubens!!!


Hi James

Great article on Rubens. Nice to see him reviving a once dwindling career and showing that he still has it.

Anyway something that has sparked great interest is your mention of Merc buying out controlling interest in Brawn. Does that mean it will be Mercedes Brawn next year? I wonder what is the motivation behind it all since they partnered with Mclaren for a long time now.

Also I read in an Autosport article that Kimi is possibly in talks with both Brawn and Mclaren, any truth to those rumours? Do you think Kimi would actually go back to Mclaren? It would be awesome to see him alongside Hamilton!! Oh and Thanks for your great blog, it keeps me updated on the inside track of F1 🙂


Great Post again James, it’s amazing to see Rubens indeed after all this year’s still as quick as the youngsters…

Poor Force India [Sutil] got KERSified again by a Ferrari, I’d love to see Force India getting their maiden victory this season.


i must say i never was a fan of bari, especially this year with all his whining and excuses made me very critical of him.

BUT, the last 2 races completely changed my view of him and i want him to win the championship….not the others i supported so far (vettel and button).

he deserves itmore than those 2, period.


It seems to me that a ‘golden age’ of F1 has been with us for the last couple of years, and continues now.

What I mean by that is that we have a collection of some of the best drivers that there have ever been, coupled with a collection of competitive cars. It’s hard to see the next generation coming in and living up to the current one, so my prediction is that in a few years’ time we’ll have one or two dominant drivers again, simply because the rest of the field won’t be able to match them.

This is a long-winded way of saying that yes, I agree with your post. Oh, I think I’ve just wasted everyone’s time.


I agree that this season has been terrific for seeing things that way. It’s not been the old McLaren Ferrari hegemony. Sir JYS reckons that there is no stand out driver around today, but quite a lot of very good ones. I’m not so sure. I think in F1 you have to beat who you have to beat, Clearly having Senna and Prost at the same time was a golden age, but I can see Alonso Hamilton being close to that in intensity once their battle resumes and Vettel could mature into a great driver. Raikkonen is still top class when he turns it on, as he is at the moment. And then the list goes on.


Just to echo the point about tweets!

I was at a family meal today and relied heavily on your tweets, i actually find them more reliable and faster than the bbc website!

A note on the championship:

I’ve been following Button through thick and thin in his career, im a massive fan. One thing i have noticed in his career is his inconstancy.

I thought at the start of this season he had nailed it. However, of late he hasn’t been at his best. I can’t believe im sitting here feeling slightly disappointed with 2nd place! (considering last years car/performance) Its a great result for him, but for the championship its another 2 points lost.

I do feel however he will have 1 more great drive this season, i think it will happen in Japan (hes gone well there in the past). I think this will be enough to see him over the line. I cant help feeling it would be brilliant to see him win a race before the season ends.

Any thoughts James? I can see Rubens going well at Singapore (similar to Valencia?)


I see no reason why Rubens shouldn’t go well everywhere. He’s always had shocking luck at Interlagos, of course. Jenson knows what he has to do and although Barrichello has the edge on him at the moment, he just needs to keep in touch and he’s champion


Maybe this will be the year he finally does it in Brazil… it would be perfect.


I second that, hope this year Rubens, wards off all the demons that shadowed him in the past


A great race for Brawn.

For both drivers!!!

Both pushing each other forwards throughout the race – was very exciting and interesting to watch them trade times; a tenth here, a tenth there. And they started on different tyres, which I think is a first for them.

It will be interesting to see how Brawn contend with Rubens gearbox situation over the next 2 races (I believe that’s how long it has to last?)… could be another factor in Jensons’ favour re: WDC.

Was gutted for Liuzzi – he impressed me, considering he hasn’t been in the Force India much (if at all) this season.

My only grumble about Monza, is that the cars go so fast the race is over far quicker than others… couldn’t the powers that be extend Monza to be a longer distance? Yes, I know that each race is run over the same distance OR 2 hours in duration max… but even so, I felt it was a short race.


Agree about Liuzzi, what a performance for a ‘retread’. Shows that it is possible to be out of the game for a while and still get the job done when called up


I have a hunch that Liuzzi is perhaps very talented but maybe didn’t take his first stint in F1 as seriously as he could have. That’s always the impression I got.

Having sat on the sidelines for a while maybe he’s copped himself on. He said before the weekend that he’s been working v hard on fitness and keeping himself race-sharp.

Good on him, great qualifying on heavy fuel after so long away. Outstanding actually…


@Pbryne – His previous F1 ride was in infamous ‘STR’ the team continuously bugged with Management mismanaging their drivers… Speed,Liuzzi, LeSeb the list goes on.

The fact that LeSeb got into LeMans car and drove the car to podium, and similar jumped in Superleage V10 car the weekend before and won the event (ahead of Ex-f1 drivers more acclimatised to series) is testimony its not the drivers its the Team Management that is issue @ Scuderia Torro Rosso.

Only driver that did well in that team was Sebastien Vettel, and the reason is very obvious, he was put in that seat by management of RedBull team, any trouble to him would have resulted in dire consequences for the Junior RedBull team.

@Stevie P – That is just the way the cockpit has evolved between 2006-07 and now. Remember Adrian Newey introduced the radical cockpit with the Sharkfin Engine covers last year??


Have you noticed how high ‘tonio sits in his car? I thought it might be a Force India thing, but I checked back and there he is sat in a Red Bull\Toro Rosso in a very high position with virtually all of his head exposed, unlike other drivers who almost seem to shrink inside their cars.

Top Tags