Rubens Barrichello: We will be the surprise of 2009 - FORMULA 1


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rubens Barrichello: We will be the surprise of 2009

The times set by the new Brawn BGP001 after just four days’ running in this week’s Barcelona test - the last major session before the season starts - have left the entire paddock reeling and put a smile back on Rubens Barrichello’s face. Four months ago Barrichello’s Formula One career looked over. Now, with his fans hailing him a hero once more, the Brazilian is ready to go racing for victory…

Q: Rubens, to be on top of the time sheet - with a sensational lap time - must be very emotional…

Rubens Barrichello: I’ve been waiting for such a time to come for such a long time. In a way I have waited for it since I joined Honda, to have a car that can give me that good feeling. The car is what it is, but of course it’s just the beginning - it doesn’t mean that we have won any races. But the team has done a fantastic job on the four days with the amount of mileage that we’ve done. I am happy. I’ve been driving okay and physically I feel fine and honestly, after four months (away), I am surprised that my neck still has contact to my head! I am happy, really happy.

Q: Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was asked whether he thought he could have done that sort of time on a qualifying run - and he said no…

RB: I could tell you (that), without having to ask Felipe, for sure. In the morning we did a race run with 74 laps, which went very smoothly, and in the afternoon we tried some qualy runs to get used to (it). We are catching up, in that we’ve lost so much time without testing so we need to have our act together and try things. So in the afternoon I was putting myself into the pace and I felt very good.

Q: Do you remember ever having such a good car straight out of the box at Ferrari?

RB: To be honest with you - and to be fair to Ferrari - I always had a good car straight away. Especially in 2003, it was a hell of a car. But after I tried the 2006 Honda for the first time I didn’t know if I was going to have that any more. Okay, the car was good, but not as good as this one now - this one was born really nicely. But I don’t want to step in front of my thoughts and think that it is a deal done for the year, but it is a great start. It’s a great group doing a good car - and (all) that after months of complications and political things. The good guys were working doing this car marvellously - now we just have to keep on doing. I think we have a good chance to have a car to surprise!

Q: What is it that makes the car so fast?

RB: I think aerodynamically the car is quite strong. It is a good combination with the engine, in terms of power and drivability. It is running quite well with heavy fuel, low fuel and all sorts of fuel on the car.

Q: How about reliability?

RB: I’ve done 111 laps on the first day and another 114 on the second day - all with the same engine. In fact, it’s the same engine that Jenson (Button) already drove, so everything is quite smooth.

Q: Do you think this car can make you a challenger for the championship?

RB: I think it is fairly early to speak about the championship. All I can say is that I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. I was afraid back in Brazil that I wasn’t going to put my expertise - and my happiness - into a nice car, because I didn’t know if I was going to drive or not. I am really happy to say that this year is going to be a happy one.

Q: Coming out of nowhere, testing for four days and leaving everybody in shock - is there a key to that?

RB: It’s team work and the belief that they had in the two drivers. I believe in myself and Jenson being top of the list among the drivers - although I can see plenty of good drivers in Formula One - and the team did a fantastic job to produce a good car. Right now, all I say would (only) mean that I would put myself under pressure for the first races. All I can confirm is that it is a good car, that it is a good engine, it is a good group and I think we will be the surprise of the year.

Q: Are you going to Melbourne to win?

RB: I wish, for sure. Every race last year I went in to win. It was a tough time. But now the car is competitive and although the team changed name, we’ve learned a lot from the mistakes we made last year. Now we are a very well prepared group and I wish that will show in results.