In an incredible post-race outburst, Rubens Barrichello accused Brawn GP of costing him victory in this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring – and suggested that the team is going the right way to throwing the 2009 world championship away.
Whilst the ex-Honda F1 outfit maintains its advantage in the constructors' title standings, what was at one stage a 43.5-point margin has now been reduced to just 19.5 by the in-form Red Bull Racing, which took a dominant one-two around the Eifel Mountains circuit courtesy of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, just three weeks on from a similarly commanding performance in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
What's more, both the Australian and his German team-mate have leapfrogged Barrichello in the drivers' standings – and the visibly frustrated São Paulista has pinned the blame for that firmly at the door of his team. Claiming that he fulfilled his part of the bargain in battling his way past pole-sitter Webber and into the lead when the lights went out at the start of the grand prix, the oldest and most experienced driver in the field argued that it was the strategy – normally an area in which master tactician Ross Brawn excels – that let him down.
Despite leading all the way to his first pit-stop 14 laps in, the 37-year-old ultimately took the chequered flag just sixth, losing ground when a fuel rig failure scuppered his intention to change from a three-stop strategy to just two – a switch that would likely have secured him second place at least.
“I guess it was on strategy, in the pit-lane,” he fired back, when asked where the race had gone away from him. “It was a good show from the team on how to lose a race today. For me, I'm terribly upset with the way things went, because I did all I had to do. I had to be first into the first corner which is what I did, and then they made me lose the race basically.
“I feel sorry for myself and I feel sorry for the team. I'm not saying that they favour anyone, but that was just a good show of how to lose a race. If it is really what's going on, we're going to end up losing both championships – that's even more terrible.
“To be very honest with you I wish I could get on the 'plane and go back home right now. I don't want to talk to anyone in the team because I don't want to understand. It would be a lot of 'blah, blah, blah, blah, blah' – and I don't want to hear that.”
Barrichello also hinted earlier in the season that rather too many things are going wrong on his side of the Brawn GP garage, and after a tactical decision by the team deprived him of victory in favour of team-mate Jenson Button in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona back in May, there were murmurings within the F1 paddock that the British star was perhaps being treated rather more equally than his colleague – criticism the Brackley-based concern has always fervently denied.