Exclusive interview - Barrichello: I'm driving better than ever 28 May 2008
With a drivers physical fitness tested to its absolute limits over the course of a season, Formula One racing is known to take its toll. However, at a record-breaking 258 Grands Prix starts and counting, Hondas Rubens Barrichello is showing no signs of flagging.
Instead, Barrichello is adamant that thoughts of retirement have never crossed his mind. And in Monaco, the sports longest-serving driver showed he still has what it takes, bagging three points and drawing level with his team mate Jenson Button in the standings
Q: Rubens, you are now the record holder in Formula One. An amazing achievement, but is it also an indication that a long career is finally coming to an end?
Rubens Barrichello: No, not really. Obviously everything comes to an end sooner or later, but I have seldom felt better physically and mentally, so in my head its only a number right now. I dont feel like 36, I dont feel that I have that many races under my belt. I am just enjoying the time - and I am driving well!
Q: So this season is not a farewell tour then?
RB: Well, the celebration and the cake and all the appreciation from the other teams has all been very nice - and I was definitely moved to witness all that - but I am still doing my job and Sunday's result has proved that. So why should I want to put all that behind me?
Q: Has racing become more or less interesting for you?
RB: I am in a situation where my mind is the big player. I am very motivated and with the joining of Ross Brawn, I definitely feel that we are undergoing a change for the better. For sure, the car is not that good yet for what I want to achieve, but right now I have the feeling that I am driving better than at any other time, so all I need is a quick car to perform. My mind still says yes to racing.
Q: Before this weekends excellent result, Australias Q3 was the only other highlight for you this season. How would you judge 2008 to date?
RB: Well, before Monaco I had some chances for scoring, but car and luck were not on my side. In Australia I was really unlucky with the safety car and in Barcelona we were also quite competitive. And Monaco finally made it good. But still we have to improve quite a lot as Monaco is the exception to the track rule.
Q: Honda seem to be a patient waiting for the right cure. Is Brawn that cure?
RB: Yes, definitely! So far he has done a super job with the tools that he has on hand. Some more good results will further pump up everything and will show the potential that the team has.
Q: You worked with Brawn for many years at Ferrari. Does your intimate knowledge of his working method help push development forward?
RB: Yes, it helps. Especially knowing how he is treating things as he is really, really determined to make it happen. I was a big fan of his at Ferrari, but my impression is that he is working even better now. Hes just like me - becoming older and better.
Q: For many years you witnessed a world championship-winning team in action. On a scale of one to 10, Ferrari being 10, where would you put Honda right now?
RB: At the moment I wouldnt be able to give a score to the overall thing. We are very well set up in terms of facilities; we are very well set up in terms of engineers and mechanics; in terms of pure performance I would say we sit at five. We are quite in the middle but we need another five steps to get to the top. We have all the tools falling into place so I think that Honda can be a team of the future - with Ross Brawn.
Q: While it is obviously too early to talk about winning, what do you hope to achieve?
RB: Well, I miss winning races - in fact I miss it terribly. Thats why I put so much effort into testing and getting things done. I just know that I am prepared whenever the car is ready. And on Sunday the cycle overlapped!
Q: Monaco divides the paddock, with drivers either loving or hating the circuit. Whats your take?
RB: In Monte Carlo anything can happen. You can overcome problems by being a good driver. And you have to be open minded towards the track!