Debut & Jordan (1993-1996)
Rubens got his break into Formula 1 in 1993 with a seat at Jordan. He stayed with Jordan for 4 years and mixed some strong performances and results with an often unreliable car. He claimed his first podium - 3rd in the 1994 Pacific Grand Prix and scored a total of 46 points in his 4 years with the team.
In the ill-fated 1994 San Marino - where both Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger tragically died - Rubens had a near fatal accident. In the first practice session he hit a kerb at the Variante Bassa corner launching the car into the air, hitting the top of the tyre barrier and rolling several times before coming to rest upside down. Rubens was knocked mp;nbsp;unconscious and his tongue obstructed his airway, quick action by race officials removed the obstruction and he was airlifted to hospital. Incredibly Rubens was back racing two weeks later and qualified 15th for the Monaco Grand Prix.
In 1997 Rubens joined the newly formed Stewart team and partnered Jan Magnussen, Jos Verstappen and Johnny Herbert, convincingly beating all of them. The first two years were marred by reliability problems however Rubens did take a 2nd position in wet conditions at the '97 Monaco Grand Prix.
1999 Rubens final year with Stewart saw a much improved package (albeit still suffering some reliability problems) and he led several times, took pole position in France, and climbed onto the podium 3 times, San Marino, France and Europe.
His driving had caught the eye of Jean Todt and he signed to drive for Ferrari commencing in 2000.
Rubens won his first grand prix in his first year at Ferrari in some style. Starting from 18th on the grid in Hockenheim. He also collected a number of other podium positions helping Michael Schumacher gain the drivers championship and the team the constructors. A service that he did for the team in each of his following seasons.
Obviously growing increasingly discontented with team orders and playing second fiddle to Michael, Rubens only relinquished the lead of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix in the final straight, which saw outcry from Formula One fans all over the world. Team orders were subsequently banned for the 2003 season.
Despite being discontented at Ferrari (Rubens has hinted several times since leaving the team) he stayed with the team until the end of the 2005 season, when he joined Jenson Button at Honda.
In 2006 the Honda had a successful season and finished 4th in the constructors championship, however the car did not suit Rubens' driving style while scoring a solid 30 points, Jenson scored 56.
2007 and 2008 were poor for the Honda team, fielding uncompetitive cars. However at Silverstone in 2008 qualifying in 16th position, heavy rain during the race, good stragegy by the team, and exceptional driving by Rubens he put the car on the podium, taking 3rd position.
Several times through the 2008 season Honda stated they were concentrating on a better 2009, shelving development on the 2008 car, in a surprise move on 5th December 2008 they announced their immediate withdrawal from Formula One.
On 6th March 2009 Ross Brawn announced a management buy-out at the Honda team, for it to become Brawn GP.
Brawn GP (2009)
2009 would be a return to form for Rubens Barrichello, after a troubling winter in which it looked as if the Brazilian might not get a seat for 2009, he signed with the new Brawn team. He started strongly with a 2nd place in Australia and was his own team mates nearest rival for the Championship. However Rubens struggled to match Button’s results and get on terms with him. Memories of his time at Ferrari and playing second fiddle to Michael Schumacher must have been in his mind.
His dissatisfaction was finally voiced at the German GP, after he started 2nd he finished a distant 6th. Rubens described the result as an “example by the team on how to loose a race”. This frustration may have contributed to his eventual departure from Brawn at the end of the season.
That said, a late and rather sensational return to winning ways brought the Brazilian back into the championship hunt. His first victory since 2004 came at the 2009 European GP. He went onto win in Italy as well, beating his team mate Button fair and squarely. However he wasn’t able to press his advantage and at the Brazilian GP, after taking a stunning Pole he finished 8th and lost the title there.
Rubens finished the season a distant 3rd, with 77 points, although it was his best championship finish since 2004.
He left Brawn GP and signed a new contract to drive for Williams in 2010 alongside rookie GP2 driver Nico Hülkenberg. It seems as though the most experienced and longest serving driver in F1’s history has yet more to do.
Rubens tweets at http://twitter.com/rubarrichello.