David Coulthard bows out this weekend after 246 Grands Prix, slightly less than Rubens Barrichello, who doesn’t know yet whether this will be his last Grand Prix.
Rubens wants to stay at Honda and some of his performances lately have been strong as he drives home his candidacy. Jenson Button wants him to stay and says that Ross Brawn believes Rubens is driving better now than when he was at Ferrari.
Knowing when the game is up is the classic dilemma of the ageing racing driver. DC, like Alain Prost, Mika Hakkinen, Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher has acknowledged that he cannot do this wonderful job any more and set up a dignified retirement plan. Rubens, like Nigel Mansell, is likely to be retired by the sport, despite still feeling the fire in his belly. But the faint chance that he may hold on to his seat has kept him going this year. He saw DC making his announcement at Silverstone, but opted not to follow him. If this is the end for Rubens, there is unlikely to be any send off for the driver who has started more Grands Prix than any other in history, which would be a great shame.
DC and Rubens came through the ranks together. They have very different styles, but have made a similar contribution to the sport, both the very definition of a top class number two driver. Their longevity and results guarantee them a place in the history books, if not a seat in the pantheon of the greats.