Seeing as Barrichello has extended his Honda contract for another year, it looks as though Riccardo Patrese’s record for longevity will indeed be eclipsed by the Brazilian.
He’s been a world championship runner-up twice – in 2002 and 2004 – but is he in danger of being remembered as no more than number two to Michael Schumacher?
Barrichello’s career started at Jordan before switching to Jackie Stewart’s new Stewart team. He won his first race after moving to Ferrari in 2000.
By the time he left the Scuderia he had won on nine occasions but never looked like mounting a consistent challenge to Schumacher.
He will start his third season at Honda next year, a team which does not look very likely to give him a winning car.
Can he really expect to add to his achievements in Formula 1 by staying another year in the sport?
Some might even suggest that his record of nine wins flatters his talent, that he didn’t get into Ferrari on merit, and only got to spend so many years in a championship-winning car because he wasn’t about to get in Schumacher’s way.
In many ways he reminds me of the man whose record he is about to surpass – well-liked and good on his day but lacking that final percent of ultimate speed. In short, the perfect number two.
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