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.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic. Follow F1 Fanatic on Twitter.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.