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Michael Schumacher’s former teammate spills on what the F1 legend is really like

Michael Schumacher’s former teammate spills on what the F1 legend is really like

A former Ferrari teammate has lifted the lid on what it was like to work alongside Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher.

Rubens Barrichello was Schumacher’s right-hand man for six seasons and explained what it was like working alongside him.

Drivers know there’s a hierarchy within teams and despite being on the same team, drivers can sometimes be competitive with the men they call teammates.

Barrichello says that Schumacher wasn’t always a supportive and open teammate.

“I’ve always made friends and had a great relationship between my teammates. I do (include Michael), but he was never supportive … it’s not the right word. He would never be there to offer help so I never asked because there are teammates to go and ask,” Barrichello said on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

“For example Eddie Irvine, you ask him and he says ‘I don’t know which gear I take that corner’. I got p****d one day because I couldn’t understand how the hell he doesn’t know what gear and he doesn’t really know, he just doesn’t think, he did it naturally.

“So you have to learn people with Michael it was different, he was a bit naive in a way that he worked his way.”

He also spoke about meetings with just Schumacher, even though they were a part of the same team.

“So many times I grabbed my chair because the meeting was already finished and then they started another meeting with just Michael there and I said hmm this is funny.

“I took my chair and I just would sit there, say nothing and just stay there.”

Eventually, Barrichello said that figuring out that the team was essentially Schumacher’s didn’t change his own ambitions towards the championships.

“Eventually I felt that (it was Schumacher’s team), eventually I felt that the team was his,” he said.

“It never dropped my emotions, seeing as I had to overcome my emotions to get better and to race against the best it wasn’t that ‘oh ok this engine was for him and this engine is for Rubens’.

“I think they’d done such a good job on the year 2000 already that the engines had the same amount of power, but one is special and would have a choice to go to Michael but I think at the end of the day it was not a problem for me to race the same car as him.”

Barrichello said that the thing that set Schumacher from the rest was his courage at high speeds.

“He was super, super on high speed like very courageous. The way I drove on the low speed was actually I was taking more speed out of it than him,” he explained.

“I remember so many times Ross (Brawn) telling him that he had too do something different. I became so much better on the high speed because of him.

“I think we both went to another level of pushing each other so it was good.

“It’s not that easy to make Michael Schumacher go to another level.

“Mine had to be mental. How do you go to a racetrack knowing that you have a B option of a pit stop and this and that and still be ready to win?”

Barrichello said that he would have walked away with “at least one” championship had the time been split equally between Schumacher and himself.

“If you put myself against Michael, I think it was a 70-30 split, lets put it this way he was better than me.

“He was more complete, and Michael didn’t have bad days, whenever he had a bad day or he was vulnerable the team around him prepared him to be back up. They knew how to affect him positively.

“But if it was run straight, just the same strategy for everyone I might have won at least one championship … at least one.

“It doesn’t make a difference now, it’s part of the past. I didn’t and I’m happy with that because I tried.”