Rubens Barrichello Exclusive: 'Imagine the oldest guy winning the title' 24 Apr 2009
As Monty Python reminded us, you should always look on the bright side of life. Brawns Rubens Barrichello certainly does, and it has served him well. Indeed, while many believed last seasons Brazilian Grand Prix could be his last race, he is currently a hot contender for this years championship. And the longest-serving F1 driver couldnt be happier
Q: Rubens, can you believe your luck? It looked to some as though you were almost out of Formula One racing and now youre a potential runner for the championship. How is life as a born-again hero?
Rubens Barrichello: I have always considered myself to be a lucky person and in life you have to work around luck, and you have to be positive. Ive always been so positive and dreamed that one day I will drive a competitive car again - and that dream has become reality. Imagine - the oldest and longest guy in Formula One winning the championship. That is a very new thought!
Q: Envy is a constant companion to success. Did you ever imagine you could become the object of envy at this stage in your career?
RB: In a popular series such as Formula One where youre on the TV all the time there is envy around you. But the fact is that there is envy whenever youre winning. I imagine that is pretty normal.
Q: Knowing the full potential of the Brawn, your objectives for this season must have changed. What are they now?
RB: The objective has always been the same - winning! Sometimes we were very limited in the past because we didnt have a competitive car. Now we have. When I first drove this car - for just four laps - I already knew that this will be it and that it will take us to a different level. Now we are at that different level and now we just have to keep working. My focus is to win the championship - whatever it takes.
Q: How much stress and concern did the diffuser appeal create in the team? And how much of a relief was the FIA decision?
RB: It is funny. The media created a story around the diffuser. Because one thing is clear: everyone here has a diffuser. Its not that we have one and nobody else has. We just found a different interpretation. We stayed calm, but yes there was the fear that something might go wrong. Luckily it is legal and we can carry on. Its a competitive car and the diffuser is just a part of it.
Q: A little over six weeks ago the team didnt know if they had a future. Times have changed so much that team orders could now be a talking point - to help secure a championship. Have you discussed that?
RB: I dont think that this question will ever be raised. Weve gone through some difficult times and the team wants a winner - whoever that is. It is much more lively and nicer than it used to be with Ferrari so I dont expect anything in that direction.
Q: Honda departed never knowing how good the 09 car was. Do you feel sorry for them?
RB: I do. I feel sorry for them. But thats Formula One and if they considered it better to withdraw that was their objective.
Q: How big a role does the Mercedes engine play? Would a Honda-powered car have delivered the same results?
RB: That is very difficult to know - the rules changed and there are 18,000 rpm right now. I am very surprised by the power of the Mercedes engine. It is a good surprise, as it is a fantastic engine.
Q: Formula One has been turned upside down: Brawn and Red Bull Racing lead the championship, while Ferrari are yet to score. How long do you think this topsy-turvy world will last?
RB: I hope it lasts forever that we are in front. But I am sure that the other teams are catching up very quickly. It can change from one second to the other - maybe someone with KERS will win a race. At the moment Formula One is so exciting because of that. You see the amount of people watching TV right now is better than two years ago and I think the fact that we have new faces at the top plays a major part in that. My guess is that in Barcelona we will see some teams making a big step forward, but because we have no testing it will be difficult. If you bring new things and cannot test them you have to check if they work on the car or not during the race weekend - and that is difficult. I really hope that I will be at the top with the Brawn GP for most of the championship, as I really think that the car is competitive enough to keep us at the top. Having said that, I am sure the other teams will catch up - but I dont know when.
Q: How is the feedback from your home Brazil? Last season was Felipe-mania. Is there Rubinho-mania at the moment?
RB: The good thing is that there has always been. My fans never left me - even when I was driving bad cars. So back in Brazil its a good euphoria!
Q: Fridays times are usually difficult to judge, as many teams try out new parts following the test ban. The Brawn seems to be the most complete car at the moment. How did those laps go for you today and how do you expect the weekend to unfold for you?
RB: The car felt good today. In the morning session I did 18 laps and in the afternoon 30 without any issues. We tried different set-ups and my feeling is good. Weve been working basically on the balance of the car and will continue to do so tomorrow morning before we go into qualifying. We are competitive although others have caught up, as todays lap times showed. But my gut feeling is telling me that both cars are able to deliver good results in the race. Fingers crossed!