Exclusive - Barrichello & Heidfeld on 2006 03 Nov 2006
After six seasons with Ferrari, Rubens Barrichello faced 2006 with renewed gusto. But whilst Honda team mate Jenson Button claimed a victory, Barrichello was unable to improve on fourth-place finishes in Monaco and Hungary. Even so, once Juan Pablo Montoya left McLaren, his points haul was enough to secure seventh place in the standings. Nick Heidfeld, meanwhile, exploited the growing competitiveness of the BMW Sauber and spurred on by the arrival of new team mate Robert Kubica took ninth - just three points shy of the absent Montoya. Speaking exclusively to Formula1.com, Barrichello and Heidfeld review their seasons
Rubens Barrichello, Honda
Championship position: 7th (30 points)
Best race result: 4th (x2) Best qualifying: 3rd (x3)
The 2006 season has really been a year of transition for me following my move to the Honda. To come out of this season with 30 points, and to play my part in the team achieving a strong fourth place in the constructors' championship, is very satisfying. Our performance improved consistently in the second half of the season and I think that we have really laid the foundations for greater success next year.
I was really happy to see Felipe (Massa) winning the final race of the season in Brazil, he had such a strong weekend and drove an excellent race from pole. It's very pleasing to see a Brazilian winning our home race, something that I very much hope to achieve in my career. And congratulations of course to Fernando (Alonso) on a superb achievement and my best wishes to Michael (Schumacher) in his retirement. We were team mates for a long time at Ferrari and it was a privilege to work with him so closely.
As for myself and the Honda team, we now have this winter to work very hard with the benefit of the lessons learnt from this season. Structurally this team is very sound and certainly has the resources for us to do a very good job in 2007. This should result in us having a front-running car next year, and if that happens, then I'm sure we will be winning more races and can play a part in the championship race.
I'm definitely looking forward to my second year with the team. I know everyone now and have a lot of good friends here, plus I understand the way that everything works. As for my relationship with my race engineer Jock Clear, we've really got to know each other. He understands what I need from the car. I expect the start of 2007 to be 200 percent better than the start of this year.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
Championship position: 9th (23 points)
Best race result: 3rd (x1) Best qualifying: 3rd (x1)
I am very happy with our first season as the BMW Sauber team is very young. Everything is going better than expected. We started eighth in the constructors' championship and we finished fifth. We have made good progress over the season in terms of results and speed of the car, but for me it is even more important to see what is going on in the background with a lot of new people coming on board.
We have a lot of good people joining the team and that makes me quite optimistic for the next couple of years. Another important point, in my view, was that we came out strong after a few difficult races in the middle of the season. I think it was quite important for a young team like us to pull together, stick together and not start blaming everybody. Everything is going in the right direction and I think we are all enjoying our racing.
Click to see more exclusive driver reviews from Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Giancarlo Fisichella, Kimi Raikkonen , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher, Pedro de la Rosa, Jarno Trulli, David Coulthard, Mark Webber, Robert Kubica , Nico Rosberg, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed, Tiago Monteiro, Christijan Albers, Takuma Sato, Robert Doornbos and Sakon Yamamoto.