Brackley, Monday: Brawn Grand Prix took the time to part from their season-long celebrations as they continue to dominate in 2009, after reports surfaced that driver Rubens Barrichello has been formally reprimanded by the team for sending updates to his Twitter profile while driving in the Turkish Grand Prix.
Barrichello, who trails teammate Jenson Button by 26 points in the world championship and has yet to win a single race compared to Button’s six, had an unusually poor race in Turkey, getting bogged down off the start line and spinning in the early laps before eventually retiring with gearbox failure.
The Brawn team were unaware at this time, however, that Barrichello had been keeping fans up to speed by sending text messages to Twitter on his mobile phone, which he had sneaked into the car and was using throughout the race.
Updates to the Brazilian’s profile, intended to summarise his race in 140 characters or less, included, “Oh no, the anti-stall has wrecked my start” on the first lap, followed quickly by an afterthought: “Maybe it’s because the team are persecuting me.” Later on, he posted notes such as “Who is this Finnish bloke in front of me anyway?” and “The Force India’s sidepod is less bouncy than I would have hoped.”
“We can confirm that Rubens was formally warned about his in-race conduct in Turkey,” a Brawn GP spokesman commented today. “Driving while using a mobile phone is incredibly dangerous, especially in a Formula One car that tops out at over 200 miles per hour. Frankly we expected Rubens to be a bit more sensible – we’re sending him for a medical to check that he is still fit to drive even at his age.”
Lewis Hamilton is another driver who updates his Twitter page while driving, though McLaren have insisted that he does not use a mobile phone, instead having “a special program in his hard dri….brain for that purpose.”