Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP), Jenson Button (Brawn GP) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull).
Q: Gentlemen, first of all questions to you all. Are there any particular preparations you have made for this race? Who would like to start? Sebastian. You have prayed for rain obviously.
Sebastian Vettel: Yes, successfully today. No, we will see. Nothing special really. I have been here a couple of times and I like the circuit. It is up and down but preparation-wise nothing special.
Jenson Button: Not really. Ive been spending a few days in the sun which is quite nice before coming here. I arrived here on Tuesday to get used to the time zone but it is really strange with the weather. Tuesday it was cold, yesterday it was really hot and today it is raining. It is very up and down with the conditions and it is going to be the same for the weekend. There is a very good chance of rain but also there is the possibility of it being dry, so its a tough one. Its the same for all of us and I am sure we will make the best out of every situation.
Q: Rubens? A few laps with the children?
Rubens Barrichello: I have been spending my time booking churrascarias for friends of mine. I got into Brazil on Tuesday morning after Japan, so just my normal life. Exercising, picking up the kids from school and just being at home exercising nicely. It was a day off last Monday, so we had time to stay away from Sao Paulo a little bit more which was good.
Q: Any particular efforts your team has been making or any modifications coming here?
SV: We had a very good package for Singapore. If you look at the last two races we have been very competitive even though the circuits are very different to each other. For here we have got another couple of things in the bag. As you have probably seen from Japan, Mark (Webber) tested another kind of front wing, so it should be another step forward, so it should be good.
JB: We have got a few changes which should help us here. It should help us around a circuit like this quite a bit. I dont know if youve noticed but in Suzuka we were very quick in sectors two and three. In qualifying I was actually purple but the first sector we struggled massively. Mid-speed changes of direction we really struggled and thats where we lost all of our time in Suzuka. But the changes that we have got for this race should help out a little bit but also the areas that are crucial on this type of circuit should be a good step forward.
RB: It is good. We know where the problem was the last few races, so we kind of addressed the problems and the track should suit us very well. The weather is the only thing that we should pay attention to but I am quite optimistic for the home grand prix.
Q: All of you have got races that you look back at and think if only such and such hadnt happened. Do you do that as the championship gets tighter and tighter?
SV: It doesnt help. I mean, its done. Looking back I had five races where I didnt finish, so of course it doesnt help. But we cannot change it now, so nothing to regret. I think it is still a good season for us, the best one we have ever had, so very positive and we can still do it. Of course it is a couple of points in between us and the leader but anything is possible and we are here to win.
JB: I think it is the same for all of us. Thats the way it is over a 17 race season. There are races which you are very happy with and other races which you are not. As Sebastian said it is all in the past and it is about making the most out of the next two races. There are the most important two races for all three of us this season and I am coming into this race looking forward to it. This is a circuit I enjoy. After here we have Abu Dhabi which is new for all of us, so it is going to be a challenge. But there is no point looking back. Mentally I dont think it is good looking back. I think it is better to look forward and that is exactly what I am doing.
RB: Since I have changed my brake material for Silverstone I have been very happy. In terms of performance it has been quite good and I am just driving a car that I think has been very fast and consistent. The season showed ups and downs for everyone. I think Brawn is the one that when it has been down it has still been okay. I have been very happy. The second part of my season has been quite good and I just hope I can keep it on.
Q: Sebastian, it is a big mountain to climb. Two wins. Surely the pressure is great or would you say the pressure is not great at all?
SV: I mean the only thing I can do is win. The pressure is on the two people in front of me. For me it is pretty straightforward. You dont have to be a genius to work out that from now on we simply have to win the two races and hope that those two mess it up.
Q: And after Japan are you riding on the crest of a wave?
SV: I think so. Both the last two races, Singapore and Japan, were very good for us. Obviously, Singapore should have been a bit better but it is in the past now and I am just hoping those three points are not missing in the end. But we will see. Japan, obviously, was fantastic for us. The car was great all weekend, so looking forward to the next two races.
Q: Jenson, has it been car confidence? Has it been this change mid-corner or has it been starting behind Rubens? What has been the problem over the last few races?
JB: The last race was obviously difficult because of the starting position and the mistake on Saturday with the yellow flags and in Singapore the qualifying was difficult. We were trying to find the maximum from the car but we went a little bit too far and the car was running a bit low and I hit the brakes and locked up. But the race pace has been very good. I think I have got the most out of the car, what there has been to take in the races and the pace has been good especially in Singapore. But it is always very difficult when you are starting far back. It is very difficult to overtake these days in F1 and every opportunity there is to make a move I have made this season. But starting where I did made it very difficult for me to pick up good points. But the couple of races before that I was happy with the car, I was happy with the balance and the results were reasonably good, so coming into the last two I am reasonably positive. I have a good feeling with the car and our upgrades should help us quite a bit. We will see what happens. Sebastian is saying the pressure is on us. I dont think that is quite the case. It is the same for all of us. We are all excited about the next two races. It means a lot to us for sure. We are all fighting for the championship. It is the first time I have been fighting for a championship in F1, same for Sebastian and maybe the same for Rubens, so it is an exciting situation to be in but I am the one that has got the lead.
Q: You are team-mates but at the same time rivals with Rubens. Here you are in his backyard with tens of thousands of his closest friends. Arent you going to be the villain as it were here?
JB: No, I dont think so. If we were people that didnt get on and we hated each others guts I think it would be a very different situation. We have worked well over the last four years we have been working together and this year is no exception. Rubens beat me in Silverstone, in my home country, and I would like to do the same to him here. It is a nice feeling when you get beaten by your team-mate in your own country.
JB: But I think they understand the situation and we are all fighting for something that is far greater than we have achieved in the past. I think they will respect that.
Q: Rubens, is people power an advantage or a pressure? They are all expecting so much of you and they have been thinking that for years.
RB: It has been a long road coming to Brazil and at the beginning, feeling the pressure but learning, more than anything, how to deal with it and changing to get that positive energy and just using that to your advantage. I feel so great to be here. It is really nice and like I said, for me it is a winning year already. I put my hands into the sky to thank for the car I have and for the wins that I have and for the chance I have to win in Brazil. Something that I have been dreaming of for a long, long time, so hopefully the car will be back into the performance that we wish. The second part of the season has been a little tough in terms of getting the performance, especially because the Red Bulls and some other cars are going quite fast but hopefully here I can just put everything out and go for the win as I need it and because I want it so badly.
Q: So is wet weather a good thing for you?
RB: The wet weather has always been good for me. Looking at the forecast it looks like Friday and Saturday could be quite wet and Sunday a little bit better. Thats the first impression that we have. I think the Red Bulls are quite fast on the wet and we could be a little bit better in the dry but having said that it is all the same for everyone and we have got to be prepared for the situations.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Juha Päätalo Financial Times Germany) Jenson, it has been kind of a strange season. You have won six races but the last one goes back to Turkey. Since then you have more or less kept the distance to the other. How is it going towards the end and having not won for a long time but still having that lead?
JB: As I said this is not a one race series. It is 17 races and as youve said Ive kept the lead over the last few races. If you look after Monaco I had a 14 or 16 points lead, I cannot remember what it was, and I still have a 14 point lead now. If I knew I would have the same lead after Monaco I would have been very happy at that point of time. I am not in such a bad situation. Thats it.
Q: (Joris Fioriti APF) Would you say that you have been controlling the whole season?
JB: I have not purposely gone out to finish in the points but not win the race, for sure. I go out to get the best out of the car at every race that I compete in. I have led the championship all the way through the season, so it is a different situation to the people chasing. It has to be. They need to be more aggressive than I am. I dont want to just finish in the points. That has never been my objective but there are situations that you dont want to put yourself into and you can have an accident. You have got to be a bit cautious in some areas but also in other areas you need to be aggressive, otherwise you are not picking up points at all. I think I have had a reasonably good balance of that.
Q: (Frederic Ferret LEquipe) Sebastian, firstly how do you rate Sao Paulo for your car and, secondly, do you think Mark could be helpful for you in the battle for the championship with the trial he made in Suzuka and the fact he is no longer in the race?
SV: This circuit should suit us. You still have a lot of corners where you need the downforce and it seems that is our strength, so we are looking forward to it. On the other hand you dont really know what to expect as this year has been very much up and down. You have seen different teams at the top. I think this weekend the teams with KERS will be also very strong as you have got places when you a have a steep uphill and you need the acceleration. It will be exciting to see that. For your second question, I think first of all it is a good thing not to have the situation they (Brawn) are facing, they have to race each other. It is a shame for Mark that he is not any more in the race for the title, but we are a very strong team. We are working together hand in hand and I think if the situation should come up, then I think he is the last one to deny any help.
Q: (Ian Parks The Press Association) Rubens, you announced earlier in the week that you were in discussions with Williams and youre also speaking with Brawn. Is it a distraction having to discuss your future while youre trying to fight for the title and is it also a disappointment that youre having to look for another team potentially, despite your best season in Formula One with Brawn?
RB: It was a distraction last year when I got here and I had no jobs; that was a distraction because it was tough going in not knowing if I could come back, wishing that I was there all the time. So to be able to talk to teams and just to see myself in a competitive car next year is all I wish. My focus has been a long, long time into this season. In a way Im so proud that after the race in Silverstone I have kind of turned things around a little bit and I was able to really get a lot of speed out of the car, with the car working for me as well. So no, Im fine, its no distraction, it was really a distraction last year to see if I had to consider it as my last race or not. I didnt want it to be, but things were tougher than they seemed to be.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, you have used all your eight engines; which kind of engine are you going to use here? Have you already chosen at the previous race? It could be a handicap.
SV: I dont know exactly which one; one of the ones that we have left. I think the last couple of races were good for us, because it was often wet on the Friday, for instance Spa or Suzuka, and in the wet you have less running, so everyone does less mileage and so did we. So we saved mileage without paying too much of a price. So it shouldnt be a problem here. Interlagos has always been a circuit that in dry conditions is improving quite a lot. On top of that, we dont know if it will be wet or dry, so we will see how much and how many cars are running tomorrow. But it shouldnt be a problem.
Q: (Joris Fioriti AFP) Jenson, do you think you would have been able to control the season this way five years ago in other words is it thanks to your maturity or your experience that now you have been able to be in such a good position?
JB: Its always a difficult question to answer because I wasnt in this situation five years ago. In 2004, we had a pretty good season with BAR. We were the best of the rest after the Ferraris. In that situation, we had nothing to lose for sure, but the consistency was very good then. I think I got ten or eleven podiums back in 04, actually more than Ive got this year so far. But for sure it was a very different situation, because, as I said, I had nothing to lose. I could really go all out because I knew there was no real chance of taking the championship, we could be very aggressive in every race. Its difficult to know if I would have been the same five years ago. Nobody really knows. I think that people are at their peak at different points in their career. Lewis won the World Championship in his second year in Formula One which you wouldnt think most drivers could do, so its your experience through other formulae and the situation that every single person is in is different. For me, this feels like the right time, for sure, but Im going to say that
Q: (MC) You talked about aggression and caution just there; how much has that balance changed this year from the start to now, given the situation?
JB: I think its when youve got a reasonable lead, you think that you need to be a little bit cautious in certain situations. I think you need to have a balance. For sure you cant just drive round waving people past, hoping that youre not going to crash. There has to be a balance there and I think that normally with racing there is anyway, none of us want to crash at turn one, we all want to get through and have a good result, but its just making sure that youre not doing anything stupid and maybe a little bit out of character. Its nothing extreme, its just different than maybe I would have thought five or six years ago.
Q: (MC) But have you been aware of that balance changing throughout this season, as its progressed?
JB: Probably a little bit more, I think, when you get a bigger lead, I think it changes a little bit. Its not suddenly night and day, its the smallest of margins, but as Ive shown in a few races of late that Im not just going to sit back and hope for the best result. For example Monza with Heikki (Kovalainen), with (Robert) Kubica at the last race. You need to make the moves when you can and thats exactly what Ive been doing.
Q: (Thierry Wilmotte Le Soir) Rubens, youve experienced a lot of bad luck in your races at Interlagos. Firstly, are you thinking about this bad luck this year before the race, and secondly, what are your best and worst memories of this Grand Prix?
RB: Well, first of all I dont believe in bad luck. I just think that this is there was a famous phrase from a driver saying that the more I work, the more luck I have. It depends on your work and all the problems that Ive had here in Brazil have sort of been human failures. Ive actually gone off a few times, so for me its not bad luck that I finish a race without fuel in the car. I dont believe that is bad luck, so Im fine. I think in life we have what we plan or what we dream, so I have all the possibilities to have the best race of my career here and now and thats what Im prepared to do. Obviously, I dont live in the past and like I said, I dont care about the results in the past. I care about what I can change and maybe next year you come here and you see that its very positive and then you won the race and this and that, so for me its more on those terms.
I have plenty of good memories here, because, if you remember, I qualified in the top three with the Stewart and I remember all the people coming down the tribunes. I finished on the podium with the Ferrari. I have plenty; sure, I wish I had won here already but I have really good memories, and I feel that I drive well on this circuit, so its just a matter of time for someone who works.
Q: (Alan Baldwin Reuters) Rubens, youve known Felipe Massa for a very long time. Its seems that since hes been on the sidelines looking at Formula One from a distance hes become a lot more outspoken, hes been talking about his new team-mate recently, saying that he suspects he knew more than hes been letting on about Singapore. Hes been saying that he was robbed of the championship, hes been saying that Jenson might bottle the championship. I wonder if you think that hes changed at all since his absence?
RB: No, I dont think he has. I think hes been the same person and all my wishes, when I was at the hospital, were that he was the same guy. And after I saw him with my own eyes and I saw that he was the same, I wished that he could drive the same way, and he went to Fiorano and did that. From all the people that Ive spoken to and to himself, it looked like he got into the car and on the third lap he was on the pace. But there is one fact that in Formula One if youre not travelling with everyone all the time and not hearing what the same people are talking about, you just get different ideas and maybe youre flying on your own ideas. Hes been out for a month and then he comes back in and talks about something and it becomes a lot more important, so its not like what we hear every fifteen days or sometimes every week, we talk about the same things and were prepared to talk about the same things that you guys are talking about for the whole week. So maybe thats what causes us to be so much more for us to give it so much more importance to what he says, but for me its just the fact that hes been out and not living the world that were living in.
Q: (Livio Oricchio O Estado de Sao Paulo) Jenson, do you feel anything different in yourself when you wake up and know that this weekend you can be World Champion, and, if its easier to control your emotions when you are inside the cockpit?
JB: Well, I woke up very happy this morning. I had some pretty good dreams. So I woke up with a smile on my face, sweating, yes. No, I woke up happy and looking forward to the weekend. I dont think it adds to pressure, knowing that you could win the World Championship that weekend. I think it adds to the excitement, for sure. Its not a negative, its a positive. Im excited about the weekend, as Im sure these two are. Inside the car? I dont know. I havent got in it yet. On the way in, I didnt have any unusual excitement, but well see tomorrow. The exciting thing about this weekend is the weather: it could be wet, it could be dry, so its going to be important to make the right decisions over the weekend and not make it too complicated.
Q: (Alan Baldwin Reuters) If I could just ask Rubens and Jenson: leaving aside your own personal battle, it looks almost inevitable that youre going to win the Constructors Championship this weekend. I wonder if you could just say a few words on just how extraordinary that is for a team in its first season, given what happened in January and February.
JB: Its an amazing story and it is a Hollywood movie, for sure. If it happens. Its not a hundred percent yet. I would like to say that it is but its not. Taking us out of it, not talking about ourselves, I think the team has been through a lot this winter and its not just whether they could compete in Formula One, its whether they had a job that could pay for their kids school and what have you. It was a very difficult situation for them over the winter and I think a lot of them found it very tough but they had good leadership and thats what counted and it gave them hope and it gave them a positive outlook for the future. In the end, we got the deal done and we were able to come racing. I think when everyone saw the car drive for the first time in Barcelona they were very surprised by the pace of the car. They had obviously worked very, very hard over the winter but nothing went wrong. Everything that could have gone wrong didnt. It was perfect, a perfect test. The bodywork everything fitted together just so nicely, there was no burning bodywork after the first running in practice, the reliability of everything, it was just a perfect first test and you dont get those tests unless the season is going to be good. So if we come away with the Constructors Championship this season in the first year of Brawn GP, I know its not a completely new team and there are a lot of very experienced people in the team, but it will be a very emotional moment for everyone, as it was in Australia when we finished one-two. Its the first time Ive seen Ross (Brawn) speechless and if it is going to happen here or in Abu Dhabi I think it will the same situation. Ross has achieved so much in this sport, but to win a championship with his own team is far greater than what hes achieved in the past, I think. And that goes for everyone within the team. Theyve worked so hard with this team, whatever its name was in the past, theyve worked very, very hard and they deserve whatever we achieve this season.
Q: (Sarah Holt BBC Sport) Similar question to Alans: you were talking about the team effort from Brawn, and in that sense, Jenson, would you be able to comment if the title went to Rubens, and Rubens, if it went to Jenson would you able to comment on why it would be deserving, because you guys have both been battling for a long time and I guess both of you would like to win the title?
JB: Wow, thats an interesting question. If Rubens won the championship I would absolutely hate him! We come here for one thing only and thats to win the World Championship. Thats our aim in life since we were an eight year old kid or even younger. Your aim is to be the best and to win a championship in Formula One over a season. Thats what were all here to do. We are working well together and I think were good friends, arent we?
RB: Yeah, just here.
JB: Just a little bit. But you come here to win with very competitive people, and if Rubens won I would be very disappointed, for sure. But I would also respect the fact that he did a better job over the 17 races and I would also respect the fact that hes worked as hard as I have or maybe harder in that case and hes the better driver over those 17 races.
RB: I think it makes the situation a bit more comfortable because, like Jenson said, we havent won the Constructors just yet but I believe that its very, very close and it should be done, and hopefully this weekend. And by doing that, we have this feeling that weve both worked for that, and its what were giving to the team and the team gave us. So in the other championship, we just have to work for ourselves to win, like Jenson said, we dont want to lose the chance. I feel that particularly its my very first chance, that I really have the chance to it was put this way, somebody gave me the chance to go for the title and win myself. So for me it feels comfortable that we are working hard to beat each other, but its comfortable for the fact that we both work very well together for the Constructors, so the team should be very happy and proud with that.