Q&A with Brawn's Rubens Barrichello 27 Mar 2009
Looking at the Friday times from Melbourne, youd be forgiven for thinking that the world has been turned upside down, with some of last years backmarkers topping the timesheets. One of the drivers making an impact in Australia is veteran Rubens Barrichello, who posted the second fastest time of the afternoon for Brawn. Barrichello reviews his progress and looks ahead to Sundays race
Q: Rubens, how did you enjoy Fridays sessions in comparison to your first day in Australia last year. Have you been running very different programmes?
Rubens Barrichello: It was very normal and pretty much the same as last year. We were basically trying the tyres. But last year nobody was paying attention to us, because we were like 13th or 14th, whilst this year we have a competitive car, so it is a hell of a lot better. But the programme itself was very similar to last year, with us running with quite a lot of fuel in the car to check for tomorrow. We also had to check the temperatures of the tyres, as at five oclock the temperature is going to be lower, so we are losing temperature on the tyres. The visibility was very bad today as the sun was right in our faces, so that was something new as well. But we were able to cover quite a good amount of mileage.
Q: The visibility will be similar for the race on Sunday. There has been talk of the drivers complaining
RB: Well I have only been talking to Jenson (Button) and he had the same problem as me. I could hardly see the lights on the steering wheel because the sun was right in my face. So I think it is a concern, as we have a new front wing that is quite wide, so if the sun is right in your face you might not know where youre going and that could be a problem. I think we ought to talk to the FIA to check. I dont think that we can change anything for this race, but it is a concern.
Q: The seven days of testing that your team completed displayed how quick the Brawn cars are. How are you feeling about the race on Sunday?
RB: I am very motivated. I am over the moon with the performance of the car. I am ready for it - it turned out to be the car that Ive been dreaming of over the winter. I knew that it could be competitive from what people were saying, so I have to say it turned out exactly that way. The car has the potential to do very, very well. But what is very well? Is it winning or finishing on the podium, or is it finishing high in the points? I dont know. But that is what we are going to discover.
Q: What do you make of the distinctive new look of the car?
RB: When I saw the car for the first time I was impressed by how different it looks in appearance. But the driving itself is not that big a deal because what you have lost from the aerodynamic side, you gain from the tyres. The car is actually more forgiving to the tyres, so you dont have so many snaps and so much oversteer. In fact you are able to drive more smoothly. It is also fair to say theres quite a lot less grip here in Melbourne than we had in testing Barcelona or Jerez.
Q: Have you discovered that the braking distances have changed from last year?
RB: My car is very good so I cannot compare with the car I had last year because, even though we have lost performance from the aerodynamics, I am still braking later than I did last year.
Q: The team looks to have a lot of potential. What do you see as the key element of Brawn's success?
RB: Its the whole package. The mechanical part of the car, because it is giving good traction, aerodynamically the car is very well balanced, the engine is very, very driveable with good power, and the drivers are fantastic - so its a good combination.
Q: There has been a lot of talk that Brawn are the favourites for this weekend and even potential championship contenders. Would you agree?
RB: I believe so. From what I have seen so far, the car is very competitive and we just need to see how the year develops. For sure we have a small budget, so it is going to be a tough year in that respect. Having said that, I think Formula One is now much more open to the smaller teams, with no testing and the other limits. So that is going to be in our favour, and I do believe that this car has great potential.
Q: How frustrating is it knowing that whatever result you get here in Australia, it might get wiped out, if the appeal on diffusers gets upheld. Is that difficult for you as a driver?
RB: Its not my business. I am driving the car and I dont think that the car is illegal at all. If the FIA has approved it now, why should they say in ten days that the car is not right? The car is correct and it is up to the others to make a better car.