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GP Week : Issue 4
27 F1 insight >> “He needs that tenderness from behind from Todt and Ross and everything, but searching for my ways around that taught me how to behave, how to act. Michael was not just a fantastic driver but went on to be a perfectionist, to make the car perfect for him in every corner. That, he taught me. “I cannot say I had a sad time at Ferrari, it was possibly the best time of my career … just before being world champion in 2008 or 2009.” Ah yes, 2008 and 2009. The epic voyage of Honda. Barrichello is again reunited with Ross Brawn, the master tactician of those Ferrari years. The Englishman recently admitted that after Schumacher, Barrichello is by far the best driver he has ever worked with, and the fruits of their labours already seem to be making themselves obvious. “Ross has changed the team from night and day” Barrichello says. “We did have good sides of the team but the bad side was a lack of a technical leader. “He fits perfectly. He’s in good spirits and is challenging everyone. He’s bringing the best out of the team.” So did the young Rubens ever think, all those years ago, that he’d still be in F1 after 16 years? “I never thought of anything. I’ve just prepared for the present. I never knew what the future would bring. It’s just nice. It’s not my final year. I want to finish my career with more than 300 Grands Prix and slick tyres, all that!” As Barrichello admits, those Ferrari victories always tasted sweeter for in beating Schumacher he knew he had beaten not only every other driver, but circumstance as well. It is perhaps fitting then, that while his former team-mate may occupy the top spot of the vast majority of Formula 1 records, Rubens is set to place his name firmly at the top of perhaps one of the most meaningful. Longevity in a sport as fast and unforgiving as Formula 1, is rare. Rubens Barrichello, however, has proved its master. The master and the apprentice: Ayrton Senna talks to Rubens on the morning of May 1, 1994. Two days earlier Rubens had escaped a huge practice crash unscathed. Little did anyone know the fate that lay ahead of Ayrton that very afternoon. Back to 2007, and Rubens is re-united with former Ferrari head honcho Ross Brawn, below.