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Last Updated: Monday, 4 October, 2004, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Rubens Barrichello
Schumacher's talented wingman

Rubens Barrichello
Born: 23/5/72
Nationality: Brazilian
First GP: South Africa 1993
Wins: 9
2004 position: 2nd
Previous teams: Jordan, Stewart
Rubens Barrichello began the year on a high after proving a match for Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher for much of 2003.

But the likeable Brazilian struggled to get the best out of Ferrari's new car for the first part of the season.

From the North American races onwards, though, Barrichello was back to his best and his year finished on a high with two wins.

But he will never win a title while he is in Schumacher's shadow at Ferrari.

There is no question that Barrichello suffers from Ferrari's focus on Schumacher.

Some observers would even contend that the team deliberately compromise their number two on the odd occasions when he looks poised to challenge the German for a win.

Be that as it may, Barrichello is happier than at any time in his career.

His critics might say that is because he is operating in a comfort zone where he can avoid the pressure to which he might not respond positively because the team's expectations of him are relatively low.

But Barrichello - and his predecessor Eddie Irvine for that matter - would say there is nothing comfortable about being team-mate to the best driver in the world.

The Brazilian has been criticised for staying on at Ferrari, but it cannot be easy to give up the best car in the field - even if there is a better driver in the same garage as you.

Barrichello is closer to Schumacher on pure speed than any of the German's previous team-mates.

But Ferrari is a team built around Schumacher, and as long as he is there, Barrichello will have to be satisfied with scraps.





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