Next: German GP 20-22 July

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Q. Can you tell us what happened with your rear suspension in that session?
Rubens Barrichello: I lost the whole central damper of the car. The car this morning had a lot of fuel and it felt quite good. This afternoon it felt a bit strange, vertically the car was moving a bit. And we suspected since the beginning of qualifying that it was starting to go. Eventually it went completely on that lap, because I had a lap of traffic which I had to abort and that lap, as soon as I braked for Turn 1, it was very, very bad. I still did an okay time through sector one, but when I went into Turn 3 I felt the rear collapse.

I had no control over the rear suspension; it was like it was solid. It was then that I radioed and said I was coming in. It felt like I lost a big chunk of ride height because the car was touching the ground, and on the TV from the videos it looks like that was what went into Felipe's head. The whole thing just went bang.

Q. Did the thing break or did it just come undone?
RB: No, it broke.

Q. And when you realised what had happened, you went to see him?
RB: Well, you see the impact and I looked at the impact. It wasn't huge, and I said he was okay. But then I asked somebody from Ferrari and they said he was not speaking very well; he was not actually talking to the team. Then I started to get worried.

It was only later that someone told me it was a bit of my car. That does not have anything with me going there - the fact is I would go there anywhere to see him. I wanted to see him myself because I've been in situations like that. We are Brazilians and sometimes we have a family, sometimes we don't, and when we wake up all we want to see is someone we know. I wanted to be there in case there was not anybody from the family there.

But he was conscious, he was moving and he was very agitated with the fact that he had a cut on his head. With that, they sedated him for him to calm down, and then they moved him to hospital.

Q. Did you see his cut?
RB: I didn't look at it because I didn't want to. I am not very good with blood!

Q. Did he speak to you?
RB: No.

Q. Did you see his helmet?
RB: No.

Q. A week after the Henry Surtees incident at Brands Hatch, we've had another driver hit on the head here. Is it pure coincidence?
RB: No. I honestly don't believe in coincidence in life. Things happen for a reason and I think this is the second message. Imola [1994] was a message. The cars were improved. Unfortunately we lost a boy, which is tremendously sad. It is not a coincidence that something happened right now. In the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) we talked quite a lot about it yesterday – and something needs to be done. Yes. Absolutely.

Q. But what? Closing the cockpits off?
RB: I don't know. We need to sit down and have a look at it. I think the cars are a hell of a lot safer, really a lot safer. But there is no coincidence on this fact that something that needs to be looked at.

Q. Do you think without the HANS system it would have been worse?
RB: Look, I cannot see the HANS doing bad in any situation. I think it has been proven for plenty of times already that the HANS can only do good. When you have a head impact, the problem is not the brain going forwards, it is going backwards. I think the HANS is only good in this moment – I don't know what else I can say. The HANS does nothing for protection. We have had the Wurz/Coulthard incident in the past, and it could have ended really bad on that, and it is already something we need to think about.

Visibility is already getting a bit difficult and because for the show itself, if I use the helmet that I am supposed to use, not even the mechanics know if it is me or Jenson because we are very low in the car. But from the protection side it is quite good.

Q. But you could see his head moving around?
RB: I think he was knocked unconscious for a second. I think so, because then he went straight on.

Q. Are you able to talk a little bit about what sort of shape you were in before the incident?
RB: I was very confident this morning. I did not know at what state we were compared to the Red Bulls and everything, but I have been a lot happier with the car than Jenson this weekend. I am fairly confident that I would at least have been able to split the Red Bulls on the grid. The car felt okay this morning with a heavy amount of fuel.

The rain itself did not help us. It cleared the track a little bit, but I think we could say that we caught them up a little bit, but there are still a touch ahead – especially in qualifying. In the race, we need to see tomorrow.