Rubens Barrichello: A brief racing biography

A look brief look at the racing career to date of Jordan Grand Prix driver RUBENS BARRICHELLO: August 27, 1994 by Robert Heathcote for SpeedNet, AUTOSPORTS BBS and rec.autos.sport.info Rubens Barrichello, of Sao Paolo, Brazil, began racing ...

A look brief look at the racing career to date of Jordan Grand Prix driver RUBENS BARRICHELLO:

August 27, 1994 by Robert Heathcote for SpeedNet, AUTOSPORTS BBS and rec.autos.sport.info

Rubens Barrichello, of Sao Paolo, Brazil, began racing karts when he was nine and was the Brazilian champion five times. In 1989, he was old enough to race cars and he did one year of Formula Ford, finishing fourth in the championship. Impressed enough, was sponsor Arisco, that they supported him in the the 1990 GM Lotus Euroseries.

The Euroseries tour visited terrific circuits -- most of the Grand Prix variety. For the Italian Draco team, Barrichello took 8 poles in 11 races and scored 6 wins to become the youngest ever champion; just barely 18. On tracks he had never seen. He had the privilege to notch wire-to-wire wins twice at Spa-Francorchamps in 1990, thanks to the GM Lotus "Nations" Cup series, in which he finished second with national teammate Gil de Ferran.

After clinching the Euroseries Cup one race early at Jerez in front of the Grand Prix throng, Rubens immediately was called to test with West Surry Racing, who just won the British F3 title with Mika Hakkinen.

Rubens was signed of course and, of course he won the 1991 British F3 title. Though it was again on many new circuits and tough fought, he managed squeak it out in the last race, besting David Coulthard for the championship. It was close, even with a total of nine poles and four victories.

His next step up the ladder was the 1992 FIA International F3000 Championship. He led this title chase midway through the season but faltered when team Il Barone Rampante did. Barrichello wasn't #1 at IBR until teammate Andrea Montermini jumped ship to Forti Corse. By then IBR team, for all practical purposes, was done for 1992 as testing and development stopped. He had 2nd and 3rd place finishes (2 each) and on two occasions he set fastest race lap. No poles, but eight out of ten were snatched by the championship duelist from Forti Corse: Montermini, and eventual 1992 F3000 Champion Luca Badoer.

The brighter side of 1992 was that he was beginning to test with Formula One teams. One was Eddie Jordan, who has a reputation for bringing new talent up through the ranks. Unfortunately, this rep was tarnished when Michael Schumacher slipped through his fingers and out of his contract after only one Grand Prix start for the Irish team, in its Grand Prix debut season. Jordan immediately saw the potential, and so Rubens became the youngest driver in the 1993 FIA Formula One World Championship at the age of 20.

His first year in F1 was going about as well as his first year in F3000, as was the Jordan team, who struggled to bolt the new Hart V-10 to a chassis to which it was suited. His highest and only point scoring finish was fifth in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Eddie Irvine, his fourth and newest teammate of the year came home sixth, combining to score 3 points for Jordan, the teams only in 1993. For the championship, Rubens was ranked 18th and Jordan 11th.

This year, Barrichello, Irvine, Hart and Jordan are back again for the sixteen rounds of 1994 (though Irvine was barred from three races earlier this year for an incident in the Grand Prix of Brazil). At this point in the season (after 10 rounds) driver Barrichello and Constructor Sasol Jordan Hart are fifth in their respective championships. To date, Rubens has scored points in the 1994 championship three times, visiting the podium for first time when he finished third in the Pacific Grand Prix.

His first pole position came yesterday at Spa-Francorchamps.

Congratulations, Rubens! ...and many, many more!

-Robert

AUTOSPORTS BBS -- (310) 641-9627 -- Home of SpeedNet

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Luca Badoer , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Gil de Ferran , Eddie Jordan , Andrea Montermini
Teams Jordan