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GP Week : Issue 43
5 Minutes with ... RUBENS BARRICHELLO Staring unemployment in the face at the turn of the year, the Brazilian is now driving the car leading the World Championship. Rubens spoke toWILL BUXTON in Bahrain GPWEEK: A crazy start to the season and a crazy few months. How’s it been for you? RUBENS BARRICHELLO: Agitated! It’s much better to not have what you would wish you would have in testing and all of a sudden have a competitive car and win races than to have a bad car. All in all it’s been agitated, but it’s been wonderful to have a car like this because that pace, for anything negative that you have, you know the car is good enough. So I am delighted to be here. So how does that feel to go from a position of not knowing if you had a Formula 1 future, to having one of the best cars on the grid? I don’t think that happens in the blink of an eye. We’ve been informed that if we had the driver the car could be very competitive. The Mercedes engine is very good, and so we knew it was a bigger step than people were thinking. And the positivity of the team when they signed the Mercedes engine was huge, so you knew something special could happen. But to say that you knew … it was tough. There were months without any real concrete thoughts. So how big was your smile the first time you drove the car? Because people always say you know a good car straight out of the box. It was great. You have good cars with good balance and without real good things on it. Last year the car had good balance but the lap time was very bad. This car has a good balance and the time around the lap and that is wonderful. Every time you sit in the car I’m thankful of what I have. You’ve said it is so good it feels like a white Ferrari. How enthused are you having this come, I don’t want to say late in your career, but you’ve been racing in F1 since 1993 … I know and I think it is wonderful for Formula 1 to have a guy who has done so many GPs who has the chance of winning 20 the Championship. I have always tried to think positively that I would have a competitive car once again after leaving Ferrari. And here I am. People think that it was easy, but it wasn’t like that. You have to keep on working and believing. When we spoke last year about your time with Ferrari you told me how frustrated you’d been that you’d never had the chance to shine alongside Michael Schumacher. Now you’re in a team that has a great car, great guys, and great momentum. How different is the feeling that for once you’ve actually got a genuine shot at the title? It is what I have asked for my whole life. I have had equal terms with every team- mate in my past other than Michael and I couldn’t show my true potential in the team which was why I left. I hoped I could have a good car in another team, I didn’t, but now I do again. It’s just freedom and a good feeling with it. And yet at the moment there’s a rumour you were only on a four race contract and you might be replaced before the European season starts … I promise you, you’re going to see me for the whole year! Formula 1 has become quite weird in the way that before the internet something was true and something was not. Now people write all over the world untrue things and it gets circulated. I don’t know why people invented those things. This week I had that rumour, I had Bruno Senna driving my car … again … I was going to be sacked. People should concentrate and go back to the truth. And is 300 races still the aim? I don’t care about the 300 so much, just my pleasure in driving the car. If I am still having pleasure and the tape keeps on rolling then I think it is very much possible. Seeing Jenson win, how much does that increase your hunger for victory? Yeah. It’s the whole thing. You don’t win races by putting the car on pole position and doing this and that. You need to get an overall good weekend. It is coming, but it’s taking longer than I’d wished. Finally, there’s a lovely rumour doing the rounds that after the first test of the car you, Jenson and the boys went and put some money on Brawn for the championship. Is that true? I didn’t because I think, but I don’t know if it’s true, that you can’t put money on yourself. They say that in football … but for sure I told all my friends to do that! So they might owe you a few drinks? Yeah, absolutely.