Exclusive interview - Hondas Rubens Barrichello 30 Jun 2007
Even though Friday practice at Magny-Cours didnt look too promising for Honda, Rubens Barrichello remains hopeful of an improved result in Sundays race.
What makes him so optimistic? The improvements made by the team at last weeks Jerez test, his liking for the famous French circuit, and his firm belief that eventually the RA107 will come good
Q: Youve had nine wins and 61 podiums in your Formula One career, but this year two tenth places are your best results. How would you describe your first seven races this season?
Rubens Barrichello: Everyone at Honda would admit that the 2007 season has been disappointing for us so far. The first race in Australia and the Canadian Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago were probably the best chances that I had of scoring points but unfortunately it was not to be. We have had many issues with the RA107 car, however we are addressing those issues and most importantly we understand where the problem lies. I am confident that the second half of the year will be a lot better for Honda. Having said that, words are words and we have to put those words into action and see some results.
Q: How frustrating is it to put all your energy into one qualifying lap when you consider that only once this season has it been good enough to get you beyond Q3?
RB: It is obviously frustrating not to get through as we were used to fighting it out in the last qualifying session for most of the 2006 season. I like to live on the positive side of life and I believe that you can always learn something from every situation, so we have to focus on the positives and work our way towards a better position.
Q: Are there days when you question your decision to join Honda?
RB: No, as I said, I am a man who looks on the positive side. I am trying to build something good here at Honda. It is taking a little longer than I would like but we will get there.
Q: The teams new livery is remarkable, the newly-upgraded motorhome looks very inviting, and the spirit at Honda still seems upbeat - it seems only the car is letting things down. What is wrong with the RA107?
RB: Basically we have a problem with the braking stability on the RA107. This means that we have to make compromises on the set-up and also aerodynamically to get the balance of the car right. Hopefully with the new aero and mechanical upgrade kit from the Jerez test last week, we will be able to take a step forward over the next few races.
Q: Do you think those upgrades will make a difference this weekend?
RB: I was not at the test in Jerez but Jenson (Button) and Christian (Klien) completed the full test programme and I was happy with their feedback, so we are hoping that the new upgrades will make some difference to our performance this weekend.
Q: You said that you like the Magny-Cours track - could that bring you an extra boost in the race?
RB: I do really enjoy racing at Magny-Cours. It is a really flowing circuit with a mixture of high and slow speed turns and a very smooth surface, probably one of the smoothest tracks that we use over the season. It is also a very safe circuit with big run-off areas. All of the drivers enjoy this circuit so I dont think it will bring any special advantage for me.
Q: If you were a betting man, who would you say will score the teams first points of 2007, and where? Which track or tracks do you think best fit the characteristics of the RA107?
RB: We hope to score points here. However, I expect that over the next few races we will be able to challenge for points positions more consistently. At the moment with our braking stability issue, the circuits which suit the RA107 are the ones where you dont have to use the brakes so much. Therefore circuits like Silverstone and Spa should be better suited to our car this year.
Q: Your contract with Honda is up at the end of the season - will you stay or will you go?
RB: Confirming the driver line-up for 2008 is something the team will look at later in the season - our focus at the moment is on improving the car.