Keeping the faith - exclusive Rubens Barrichello Q&A 06 May 2010
Rubens Barrichello is a very positive man. Without that balanced personality he probably would have thrown in the towel during his time at Honda - and would then never have tasted that sweet success with Brawn last year. With that mindset of never giving in, he has now set his sites on bringing Williams to a higher performance level - and achieving that magic figure of 300 Grand Prix starts
Q: Rubens, Williams are a very established team with people who know the F1 trade. Deep down inside you, hasnt there been the hope that they would pull it off as Brawn did last season?
Rubens Barrichello: Well, Ive signed with them because Ive always believed that there is a great team behind them - and I wanted to get to know the team behind them. True, for five years they havent been performing that well, but when looking back you could almost say that for many years weve been in love and weve touched so many times but destiny made us get together only now. For the team its the best time that they can have Rubens because its the time Im best prepared and I am so motivated to do it. And I think I am at a time with the team where so many things are happening - so the near future can be quite good. Thats the way I see it, because my thought was that someone who has performed in the past will perform again in the future.
Q: Four races gone, how is your satisfaction level?
RB: It is a different satisfaction. Sure, the best satisfaction is to win races - and with Brawn GP we had a car to do it. Right now I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the team: theyve been warriors in trying to get the car performing. And it is good to see that theyve been appreciating my impact as well because I am so fully motivated and behind them. But sure we are not happy with the results. I think that five points is not good enough for what the team is capable of doing - and from their whole history - so we are both trying to get it better. When I say that we are not happy, we as a team are not happy - its not just me.
Q: In 2009 you entered more or less every race as a potential winner. So five points so far must leave some sort of void in your life...
RB: I am not the kind of person to gripe: Man, I dont have a car now, but last year I had a real car, and so on. I always see the positive side. Not even when I was driving for Honda was there one moment when I was not thinking that there would be the chance to win a race. The day that I wake up not thinking that I can win a race is the day I tell myself thats it. I would stay at home. And the proof of that was back in 2008 when I went to the podium. Youve got to be ready when the car is ready for you. And if the car is not ready you just have to keep working and enjoy the difficulties because it is too easy to be at the top and keep on smiling. I want to see people smiling when they have difficulties.
Q: Is it possible to enjoy difficulties?
RB: It is - if you want to grow. At the end of the day when we die - when were a hundred years old, or so - you just want to be very truthful and say yes, I did have a good life, because I had difficulties but I went through them. There is nobody who doesnt have difficulties in his life and its not that I enjoy difficulties more than actually winning, but I appreciate what I have and I just have to get through.
Q: Seeing Jenson Button in a similar position to last season, winning races, leading the championship and being a title contender - is there a little bit of envy?
RB: No, not at all. Because this is a cycle. I think that in three months we could be talking about a whole different situation: that Williams is superior and the McLarens are nowhere - you never know. I dont envy him. I am actually happy for him. If Jenson does well against Hamilton then people will look at it saying oh, Rubens was really, really good. That is good in a way.
Q: Your team mate is a rookie and this must be quite a change for you after partnering Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button. How is it?
RB: Well, Ive been the rookie most of the time when teaming up with others in the past. Now its my turn to play the pathfinder. And if you look at Nico (Hulkenberg), hes a winner in everything he went through. His feedback on the car is very, very good and I can see why he was so successful in the past: he knows what he wants from the car, which is quite surprising for a young kid. And he is very, very fast, so hes pushy. In the end it does not matter if the guy is 30 or 20 - if hes pushy it always helps the team.
Q: After the first four flyaway races, the Spanish Grand Prix is always seen as a sort of second start to the season. What do you expect the team to deliver in the next couple of races?
RB: I am expecting something good. The rate of development of the team has been quite good and we just need a little transformation to make it all work. We have to improve the car aerodynamically to be able to get the best out of the car on braking out of medium speed corners, and I think the engine can help us a little bit more with its development. Obviously the engine development is quite frozen, but there are so many things that can be done that can help. To be honest I am expecting Istanbul to be where we grow a little bit more.
Q: You have 288 Grand Prix starts under your belt and still counting. After last years fantastic season, at the moment it must feel like an anticlimax. Is the fun still there?
RB: There is a lot of fun involved. From the bottom of my heart - the day that I dont feel the fun anymore or the enjoyment of driving a Formula One car, that is the day that I would walk away. I love my family so much that I would definitely stay home! But I think that I still have a lot to give and I dont think that this is my last year. I think Ill still be going at 300 and counting!
Q: Nobody has been racing longer alongside Michael Schumacher than you. Are you surprised by how its worked put for him so far this year? How does a habitual winner cope with the fact that his team mate is outperforming him?
RB: I think this is a very new situation for him. In the past whenever he was behind he was never happy, so I dont foresee him happy now. Obviously he is a fantastic driver, but now he needs to adapt. Hes never been happy not being in front so I dont think that hes having a fully enjoyable moment right now - but it is only him who can tell. I just see his face from the outside - its not that I talk to him. It sure is tough, but to be honest, what could you expect? Hes been very courageous to come back. It is not easy for someone to do that. If it was Rubens for example, who never won a championship and had stopped for three years but got an offer to drive again in a top car - that would have been a much easier situation to make a comeback because you have a championship to win ahead of you. But for someone who won seven championships to come back being immediately criticized by people if he doesnt win - because thats the only thing that he can do and what people expect from him, as he has won so much in the past - thats really brave!
Q: If you could make a wish for the next couple of races, what would it be?
RB: Ha, a real wish would be just to forget what we know and win the races. I would love that. For us to win the race here in Barcelona it would have to snow on all the other people and not me. Thats the funny thing about it - the fact is that anything can happen in a Formula One race!