Barrichello chooses Turkey for record
|By Alan Baldwin
||Monday, April 21st 2008, 13:36 GMT
Brazilian Rubens Barrichello will celebrate his record 257th Formula One Grand Prix in Turkey next month, despite disagreement on how many races he has actually started.
"In view of the lack of consensus regarding which specific race marks Rubens' 257th grand prix, Rubens will celebrate the milestone...at the Turkish Grand Prix on 11 May," his Honda team said in a statement on Monday.
Barrichello, 35, made his Formula One debut with now-defunct Jordan at the 1993 South African Grand Prix and is now in his 16th season.
By his reckoning, the Brazilian will equal Italian Riccardo Patrese's record of 256 starts - set between 1977 and 1993 - in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
However the Grand Prix Guide, an annual compiled by Formula One statistician Jacques Deschenaux, put Barrichello's tally at 250 races at the start of the 2008 season - a figure that would make the race in Istanbul only his 255th.
That tally does not include the tragic 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, marred by the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, which Barrichello missed after crashing heavily on the Friday.
The 2002 Spanish and French Grands Prix which the Brazilian qualified for but did not compete in after problems before the formation lap, were also not included in the guide.
But it does list the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, which was re-started without the former Ferrari driver after he was involved in a first lap accident.
To confuse further, Honda's statistics credited Barrichello with 249 starts before the start of the season while Patrese's tally is also open to debate.
The Italian's resume includes the 1981 Belgian Grand Prix, a race that went to a re-start without him after he stalled and was hit by Arrows teammate Siegfried Stohr on the opening lap.
According to Deschenaux, a driver is only considered to have contested a race if he is at the wheel on the starting grid when the lights went out for the first start.
Barrichello told reporters in January that he was looking forward to claiming the record but had not yet given up his other career dreams.
"As a boy, when I looked over the wall at Interlagos to look at Formula One, I always wanted to be there and to be a race winner," the Sao Paulo driver said. "I never thought I was going to be the longest driver in F1 history."
The Brazilian, who won nine races with Ferrari and has 61 podium finishes to his credit, has not scored a point since the Brazilian Grand Prix of October 2006. His contract expires at the end of the season.