They were team mates at Ferrari during the team’s domination of Formula One at the turn of the millennium. But life after F1 is proving to be tough for Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.
Schumacher, embarking on his second F1 retirement, was slated to participate in a kart race against some of the fastest young racers last week.
The 44-year-old took to the La Conca circuit in Italy on Thursday and Friday last week to practice. But he pulled out of the event before the competition began.
Victory in the weekend’s two finals went to Max Verstappen, the 15-year-old son of Jos Verstappen, who was Schumacher’s team mate during the year he won his first drivers’ championship.
Meanwhile another of Schumacher’s former team mates, Rubens Barrichello, was making a new start in Brazilian Stock Car Racing. Barrichello switched to IndyCar last year after leaving F1 and made steady progress, taking a fourth and a fifth in his last two finishes.
But after struggling to get a financial package together to continue racing in the series, Barrichello has swapped single-seaters for tin-tops and gone stock car racing in his home country.
Racing at his home venue of Interlagos, where luck often seemed to desert him in F1, Barrichello crossed the line in 25th place following a puncture. He participated in a handful of races in the category, finished 22nd twice.
Barrichello will return to action in two weeks’ time but it remains to be seen what plans Schumacher has for racing after leaving F1. Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has said Schumacher’s role with the company would be limited to the road car division following his F1 retirement.