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The winners and losers of 2007 - Part Two 25 Oct 2007

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda RA107 and Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 18 March 2007 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team. Formula One Testing, Day One, Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, 27 March 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Jenson Button (GBR) Honda
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Thursday, 27 September 2007

This season proved to be an unexpectedly tough one for some of the most experienced drivers on the grid. Who, for example, would have predicted that after winning a race just months earlier, Jenson Button would finish a Grand Prix no higher than fifth?

In the second instalment of our two-part feature, we take a look at who plummeted furthest down the driver standings in 2007 - bizarrely, they are all proven race winners…

Rubens Barrichello
2006 - 7th, 2007 - 20th (-13)

You had to feel for Barrichello this season. One of the most likeable men in the paddock and a proven race winner, he suffered the worst campaign of his long and illustrious Formula One career. Yes, he was outperformed by team mate Jenson Button, but in a car as unruly as the Honda RA107, he was always facing an uphill struggle. Only once did he qualify inside the top ten - P9 in Monaco - and a ninth place at Silverstone was the closest he came to troubling the points. Perhaps not surprisingly, rumours of retirement were rife by the time he reached his home race - the season finale - in Brazil, but Barrichello has vowed to continue. Indeed, just a handful more Grand Prix starts and he will become the most experienced racer in Formula One history. Let’s hope there’s a few more points to come too…

Jenson Button
2006 - 6th, 2007 - 15th (-9)

2007 should have all been so different for Button. Having secured that elusive first win in Hungary a few months earlier and ending his ’06 campaign on a high, the Briton must have felt he’d finally made the big time. But it wasn’t to be, his ambitions thwarted by a car that was fundamentally flawed. He did a better job than Barrichello of taming the errant Honda, but too much of his talent was wasted simply swimming against the tide. Only when the weather conspired to cancel out the RA107’s inadequacies was Button truly allowed to shine, as with his gutsy fifth place in changeable conditions at Shanghai. He may have scored all six of the team’s points, but with six DNFs and just four top-ten finishes, 2007 was a season Button will be only too keen to forget.

Ralf Schumacher
2006 - 10th, 2007 - 16th (-6)

Perhaps the only man who knows where Ralf Schumacher’s ’07 season really went wrong is Ralf himself. He admitted early on that the TF107 didn’t suit his driving style as well as team mate Trulli’s and it took him a while to get on top of it. But even then his performances were erratic to say the least. True to his reputation, when the going was good he could be blindingly quick - fifth on the grid in Britain and Hungary was the proof - but all too often qualifying saw him left languishing in the bottom half of the grid, all but negating his chances of scoring points. He managed just five - a quarter of his 2006 total. In a year in which neither Toyota driver shone, Schumacher emerged looking decidedly lacklustre, and few were surprised when news came that he would not be returning to the team in 2008.

Giancarlo Fisichella
2006 - 4th, 2007 - 8th (-4)

2007 was meant to be Fisichella’s big chance, perhaps his one last shot at the drivers’ crown. With Alonso gone, he inherited number-one status with reigning champions Renault and a rookie team mate who should have done little to trouble his title ambitions. But things didn’t go quite to plan for the Italian. It quickly became clear that the R27 did not have the pace to trouble McLaren, Ferrari or BMW Sauber. Not only that, as the season progressed it was increasingly Kovalainen who proved more adept at extracting the best from the car. After a well-deserved fourth place in Monaco, Fisichella’s form seemed to desert him in later races. In the last eight races he scored just once, leaving him nine points shy of his team mate’s final tally. As a result, few in the paddock expect him to retain his Renault race seat for ’08.