This weekend could mark Rubens Barrichello’s last ever race. Formula 1’s longest serving driver, with 19 seasons, 325 races and 658 career points under his belt has no offers of a seat next year, and is at the moment left in a limbo surely undeserved by one of the sport’s most respected faces. But none of you should care.
Dear Mr Sutil (Adrian),
Today could mark your last race in Formula 1. You have no offers of a seat next year, despite outperforming your team mate to such an extent that many in the paddock have taken to calling him Paul di armResta. You have no offers of a seat next year, despite being the only driver outside the top four teams to consistently qualify in the top 10. You have no offers of a seat next year, despite being the mortal representation of God on Earth.
You are a superlative racing driver, Aido, but you are so much more than that. It is telling that, despite you being my favourite driver of all time, the only moment that I can remember of you in a race situation is that awful, terrible day in Monaco in 2008. You are driving like a titan, a man possessed. Lesser cars fall in your wake as you sweep past them like the imperious emperor of racing you are. With six laps to go, you’re in 4th position, a podium finish almost within grasp of your freakishly long arms. You exit the tunnel perfectly, elegantly breaking ready for that tight chicane that I always mess up in F1 2011. Behind is Kimi Raikonnen, Cthulhu in human form. It is no coincidence that a shark’s Fin(n) is the sign of impending doom. Raikonnen cannot hope to pass you by fair means, he knows this. So he does what years of training in the lethal Nordic wastes have taught him to do. He starts his car swerving from side to side, mirroring the lazy swings of a shark’s tail. Then he leaps, front wing shattering against the rear of your innocent Force India, and it is as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Something terrible has happened. Racing immortality has been wrested from your deserving grasp.
But it is not just for your incredible exploits on the track that millions around the world love you Ade. No-one loved Jimmy White because he was good at snooker. It was because away from the baize, he was one of us, albeit a millionaire with some crippling psychiatric issues. How many F1 fans can say that they wouldn’t hit an employee of a team debasing the sacred Lotus name then flee China to avoid prosecution? How many F1 fans can say that they aren’t accomplished jazz pianists? How many F1 fans can say that they wouldn’t walk down the beach with a friend in matching oufits?
If this is to be your last drive, go out with a bang like we all know you want to. Wait for Vettel to lap you then drive him off the track. Spin your car round and go round the track backwards, as we have all done at one point or another. Park it in the middle of the pit straight and start doing cartwheels. Unleash the beast inside man, set it free.
What I’m saying, Aidy, is that Formula 1 needs you. Hell, I need you. When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together. Or at the very least, get you a drive for next year. God knows you deserve it.
PS. Fuck Jarno Trulli. If you haven’t clicked on any of the other links in this piece, watch this one. Hilarious.