A visibly deflated Rubens Barrichello was left pondering why things always seem to go wrong on his side of the Brawn GP garage after posting the ex-Honda F1 outfit's first retirement of the 2009 campaign in the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul at the weekend, on a day when Ross Brawn contended the experienced Brazilian 'would have had a great race'.
After lining up third on the starting grid, Barrichello encountered a clutch problem when the lights went out – not for the first time this season – that dropped him ten places down the order. Worse still, he subsequently lost seventh gear too, which consigned him to having to try and fight his way back through the field again.
There were spirited battles – as well as a spin – along the way with the KERS-equipped McLaren-Mercedes' of Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton, Force India's Adrian Sutil and compatriot Nelsinho Piquet in the Renault...but ultimately little progress.
Still lying outside the top ten, the São Paulista pulled into his pit box and retirement with eleven laps remaining – seeing him fall a full 26 points adrift of world championship-leading team-mate Jenson Button in the title standings with seven rounds now completed. After the race, the disappointment was acute.
“It appears to have been a gearbox problem,” the 36-year-old mused of the issue that had finally ended his challenge. “[It was] the one that I had at the start – the same as in Australia. When I dumped the clutch, the anti-stall kicked in, so it was the wrong calculation for the clutch – once again on my side.
“With the anti-stall I couldn't get going, and then to complicate things I was on the limiter halfway down the straight, which didn't make my life any easier because I was competing against cars with KERS. I had to force my way past, and that's just how the race went. It's frustrating, because it's been happening too much on my side.”
“Rubens had a problem with the clutch at the start, which over-torqued the gearbox,” confirmed the Brackley-based concern's team principal Brawn. “He then had some problems with the gearbox in the race, and it was disappointing that we had our first retirement of the year. He would have had a great race, for sure.”