Barrichello can’t remember being Senna’s pallbearer
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 7th April, 2020 - 6:00am
Formula 1 veteran Rubens Barrichello has admitted he has no memory of being a pallbearer at Ayrton Senna’s funeral in 1994.
The Brazilian was embarking on his second season in the sport that year driving for Jordan, having quickly made a name for himself as a bright prospect in his maiden campaign.
In the opening race of the ’94 season he’d recorded a fourth place finish, while at the next event at Aida in Japan he notched up his first F1 podium.
He missed the third race of the year in San Marino following a heavy qualifying crash which left him in hospital on the Friday of the event.
It was the first in a series of incidents which included the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.
“It’s a crazy weekend,” Barrichello recalled to Greg Rust in the latest Rusty’s Garage podcast.
“A lot of mystery in that weekend because a lot of bad things happened on that weekend.
“It’s not just the passing of Ratzenberger and Senna; there was a bad accident on the start of the race with (JJ) Lehto and (Pedro) Lamy, there was the accident on the pit stop with the mechanic.
“It was just a crazy weekend.”
Barrichello’s own crash saw his Jordan clout the kerbing at the exit of the Variante Bassa, launching his car into the wall where it collided with the top row of tyres.
The Jordan came to rest upside down, marshals rolling it back over with his head limp.
“On my side, the thing I can say, I remember just before I went to qualify that I said I can do the Variante Bassa in fifth gear, and that’s all I had in my mind, because I was on the limiter in fourth gear.
“I said I can do it in fifth. And then, right after that, I can hear the ‘oops, I can’t do it’. But it was gone. It was already gone big time.
“I was in fifth when I crashed, you can see on the data. The 90G and the fact that I swallowed my tongue, you can imagine the impact I had on my head.”
“I lost my memory for a good 20 days,” he continued.
“I cannot remember taking Ayrton to… you have seen pictures of me carrying him up to the coffin, but I cannot remember that.
“That’s something that it’s a positive because it’s such a sad moment and it’s something that whenever I… it was 10 days after (and) I was still suffering a little bit because of a broken nose and everything.”
Back in the UK shortly after Barrichello found himself back in a Formula 1 car, testing at Silverstone.
“I said, okay, there is a test. Silverstone. New car and it’s a new era. What (does that mean),” he posed.
“Means you go flat and you try to cure yourself again.
“If you don’t cure yourself again it means that you like this, otherwise you just give up and go home and do something else.
“At that time I did my own record at Silverstone and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Barrichello went on to drive for Stewart in 1997 before joining Ferrari where he raced alongside Michael Schumacher in 2000.
He remained with the Scuderia for six seasons before joining Honda, which became Brawn, before signing off his career with Williams.
There was, however, a chance that his career could have seen him in a McLaren in his final years.
“I had signed a contract for Williams before the September area. It was Spa,” he recalled.
“After that, then McLaren came and the deal was good, the money was even better, but I couldn’t do it.
“I might have been team-mates, well, I would have been team-mates to Lewis.
“Being team-mates to Michael, then team-mates to Lewis, it would have been something else, but the Williams was already something so certain that I was going to do it.”
Barrichello retired from Formula 1 at the end of 2011 with a total of 11 wins from 322 race starts, finishing runner up to Schumacher in the championship in 2002 and 2004.