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Exclusive interview with Rubens Barrichello 12 Mar 2007

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Interlagos, Brazil, 19 October 2006

With its innovative, new ‘earth’ livery, the Honda RA107 certainly stands out. Race driver Rubens Barrichello is very much in support of his team’s stance on environmental issues, but naturally for the moment the Brazilian’s hopes are focused on the speed of the car. A contradiction perhaps? No, says Barrichello as he talks exclusively with Formula1.com about the season ahead and whether he’ll ever win another race…

Q: Honda team CEO Nick Fry predicted there would be a ‘new’ Rubens Barrichello this season. Do you agree?
Rubens Barrichello:
My first year at Honda was quite tough and it has taken me a little while to adapt to the team. But I now feel totally at home here so I really expect a better season this year and feel so motivated to improve my performance. Going back to Bridgestone tyres will be a big advantage for me as I have a lot of experience on the Bridgestones from my time at Ferrari.

Q: The Honda car has been rather inconspicuous in the pre-season tests. Was that a strategy to confuse your competitors, or a sign that the season opener has arrived all too soon?
RB:
We have made some significant progress since the RA107 ran for the first time in January, but there is still work to do as a race car is always evolving, in tests and racing. We are very encouraged with the developments in our new wind tunnel but for now we just have to keep our heads down and keep working hard.

Q: What is your impression of the RA107? Can Honda win with it?
RB:
I have no doubt that the new RA107 car is a better car than last year’s RA106. However, every team will have made improvements and we will know more in Australia about where we stand compared to the other teams.

Q: What were you concentrating on in Bahrain?
RB:
We spent the two weeks in Bahrain doing a lot of work with the Bridgestone tyres over long runs to assess the pace of the car and to test the reliability, which looks good. We also took various new parts to Bahrain to confirm the final specification of the RA107 for Melbourne.

Q: The tests in Bahrain are felt by many to be crucial as they show the potential of the car for the first hot flyaway races. From the results there it seems like the RA107 likes the warmer temperatures?
RB:
Yes the car does seem to like the warm weather better than the cold so it will be interesting to see how it performs at the first three flyaways where you usually expect the temperatures to be quite high.

Q: You have nine victories under your belt so far. Do you expect more wins in 2007?
RB:
My aim is always to win races - it is the same for every driver. With Honda behind me, I am sure that there is the potential for more victories.

Q: What are your hopes for this season?
RB:
I hope to have a better season than in 2006 and am really motivated to achieve this.

Q: The new Honda livery is a bold statement for environmental issues. Will it make a difference to you driving a car that shows concerns for ‘green’ matters, rather than one which is advertising major companies?
RB:
The team has done a huge amount of research in order to launch our new concept last month. It did change my philosophy as soon as I was given the important information about the environmental issues that we all face and I realize that something has to be done. Our programme is really to raise awareness and encourage people to do their part. I would like to teach my kids good values and that small acts can help benefit the whole world! I am very committed to playing my part and doing my little bit.