Barrichello reveals how Ferrari forced him to lose 2002 Austrian GP

Moral victor Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari lifts the winners trophy despite finishing second. Race winner Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari applauds.  Austrian Grand Prix, A1-Ring, 12 May 2002. DIGITAL IMAGE

Michael Schumacher handed the winner's trophy to Rubens Barrichello after the 2002 Austrian GP

May 10 (GMM) Rubens Barrichello has alleged that Ferrari made a threat that might have ended his motor racing career during the infamous 2002 Austrian grand prix.

Moral victor Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari F2002 leads the race winner and team mate Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2002. Austrian Grand Prix, A1-Ring, 12 May 2002. DIGITAL IMAGE

Rubens leads Michael before the team order was issues in Austria

Ten years ago, the Brazilian led the race at the A1-Ring but eventually, at the very last corner, succumbed to team orders that allowed number one teammate Michael Schumacher to pass him.

Subsequent video footage has depicted then Ferrari team boss Jean Todt asking Barrichello on the radio to simply “let Michael pass for the championship, please”.

But Barrichello, having left F1 at the end of 2011 for a seat in Indycar, says it was not quite as simple as that.

“It was eight laps of war,” he is quoted by Brazil’s Globo.

“It’s very rare that I lose my temper, but I was screaming on the radio. I kept going right to the end, saying I would not let him pass.

“That’s when they said something about something much broader. It was not about the contract.

“I cannot tell you what they said, but it was a form of threat that made me think about re-thinking my life, because the great joy for me was driving,” said the 39-year-old.

  • Butterfly

    A rubbish driver pretending to be the best.

  • Ferrim

    The “let Michael pass for the championship” video was for the 2001 race, not the 2002.

    And the title is misleading, because Rubens does not reveal HOW they did it.

    Anyway, if he has really said this, he’s lost the little respect I had left for him. Either say what they told you or shut up and don’t say anything. The way it’s come up it sounds like they threatened to kill him, which I very much doubt.

  • JJ

    I’m glad he revealed something we already knew, doh! at least his comeback to F1 is even more distant if ever yippee! one less cry baby…

  • Prince

    Absolute bull shit.

  • Magnus Rubensson

    There are times when orders need to be flat out disobeyed. That Austria race was one of those moments.

    Barrichello might have been kicked out by Ferrari (although I doubt it) but he would have left them as a GP winner.

    He’s not alone – Mika Salo should have won at Hockenheim too when he was standing in for MS. Holding back and letting Irvine through didn’t help Salo’s career either.

  • Andy – London

    I’m sure that any other driver would have loved to even drive one lap in the 02 or 04 Ferrari. Rubens might have been a number 2 but at least he got wins with the team – wins he wouldn’t have got otherwise – look at a brilliant Silverstone 03 for instance, and his first win from the back in Germany.
    Would you rather drive as a number 2 for Ferrari or a number 1 for Jaguar?
    Irvine knew he was number 2 but embraced the lifestyle, the girls, the Yachts, parties in Milan. He didnt leave the team and then bad mouth them.
    I never liked Rubens. They gave him a good car and race wins, yet it was fair to build the team around a genius driver who brought the people to Maranello in the first place to make the team a winning side again.

  • visz963

    His contract stated he was Nr.2, so why would he sign it?

  • Speedo

    The question is would the difference in the points (winning and coming second) have denied Schumi the championship. If I remember correct it was 10 points for a win and 8 points for 2nd. If Rubens won would he have won the championship – definitely not. Ever team wants the double constructors and drivers championship. Hence the team orders.

    Whether it is true or false is not the point. Why bring this up now. I just cannot fathom why. What is he going to gain. He is definitely going to lose many fans and the respect they had for him. He definitely has lost mine although I admired him. I like to know what next he would say against Williams now that they ditched him.

  • Butterfly


    Midlife crisis, perhaps?

  • Stewy33

    F1 is politics not racing…

  • fawxx

    another pr stunt?

  • Nowhereman

    I agree, he gained nothing by saying this garbage and everyone who follows F1 would not be surprised by anything any team does in the way of team orders.
    Whoever you are, what ever you drive, in F1 your a pay driver in some way.

  • Papa

    So Rubens traded his dignity and personal integrity for a seat in the Ferrari?

    His comments just rubbed out ANY sympathy I had for him as regards this incident. I used to think he got hosed but now he’s admitted that he sold out.

    Shame, shame Rubens!

  • Ankit Pardeshi

    whats the point in bringing these things now you are really losing it

  • Ankit Pardeshi

    he is out of his mind

  • Ankit Pardeshi

    no wonder why he is doing it now

  • lugher

    seriously rubens… after a decade you still talking about this???
    so you can’t tell us what todt told you over the radio huh..?
    perhaps saving for the next episode huh..? yawn…
    what a cry baby..

    why don’t you tell a story about your contract at ferrari?
    what kind of contract you signed…
    just do your f job..

    grow up rubens…
    and no.. i’m not talking about your age…

  • Taz

    as a driver u are not ment to reveal wat hapens withen the team…
    as the driver u are on the market end of season..looking for a seat big mouthing stuff only results in :u cant be trusted” simpple

    also look at Nelson Piquet Jr, team order or not, he brod casted and now hes with out a steam, the pl jr crashed the renualt of 2008 like every second race if not alll.

  • Bushby_23


    I thought he said there was no mention of a 2nd driver deal in his contract? At least that’s what he said when he was on Top Gear

  • Hawk

    he wants to give the impression that MSC’s accomplishments are largely because of him as a teammate just like the saying “behind every successful man is a strong woman”. Anyway I have never valued him in anyway and not very much affected by what he says. what I know is that he yaps a lot.

  • visz963

    As far as I know the 1st driver was the one who led after 3 races, but I may be wrong. So he could start each season with equal opportunities.

  • Sennauno

    sourgraping. he never accepted that he is only good as a number 2 in a team. number 2 to schumi. number 2 to button. that’s why he never got a WDC.

  • Bushby_23


    You could still be right; I know as much as the half a minute mention in his TG interview :/

  • Steve Maximus

    I’d say they said if he didn’t do it they would make sure his car broke and he crashed out of the next race. That is the kind of thing they could threaten him with. That would scare anyone.

    As for why he would say it now? Well that was Jean Todt making the threat, and since he is head of the FIA, you wouldn’t want to reveal that truth unless you were out of his field of control. Say in Indy Cars?

    My brother worked at Ferrari F1 when Irvine was there and it was a pretty insane place with politics and threats. He also left due to that sort of thing. I don’t know what it is like there now.

  • McHare

    Hope Perez is taking note. If not, the rules according to Ferrari are that if you are not number 1, your finished as a driver so get used to being used. Personally, I’d be surprised if even Pedro Dela Rosa would stoop so low as to back Alonso in his quest by taking up the no2 car from Massa.

  • GPFanatic

    Who doesn’t know about this? Even during Kimi and Felipe’s time together. Imagine a Champion in 2007 but struggled in 2008? During 2009 when Felipe had an accident, Kimi showed right away his real pace…

    Action speaks louder than word so Rubens you don’t have to talk about it anymore…

    Drive your Indy, take the championship before you open your mouth. Maybe that time it would matter…

  • me262

    hahahahaha all the schumacher fans dising a lesser driver, nothing new here. Reality check:

    Schumacher 2 points
    Rosberg 35 points

  • usman fasih

    therein the example of how a driver achieves 7 world championships

  • reason

    seriously wrong. Schumacher was the stronger driver by far generally beating Rubens but why Ferrari would order Rubens to gift this race over to whinemacher is beyond need; in this instance Rubens had dominated that weekend in practice, qualifying and race. Schumacher won the championship by a long way; why the need to take this win from Barrichello?

    an embarassment to the sport and rightly remembered as a dark day, even Schumacher was embarrased. You all have to grow up

  • RoyA

    rubby rubby what a failure.. irrelevant whether you love of hate micheal or ferrari, this is completely non F sense after 10 years.. probably a justification to why he constantly failed.. it has nothing to do with micheal, as nico is proving otherwise, he partnered micheal, focus, managed to beat him and moved on.. rubby was constantly failing and if ferrari saw any potential in him they would have supported him differently..

    as for yallaf1 get you titles right as they are sometimes misleading like 7days..