It seems you cannot keep racing drivers away from the race track: while Michael Schumacher was at the Nurbrugring on Sunday for his Fan Club day, his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team-mate, Rubens Barrichello was in Estoril. "I went to Portugal...
It seems you cannot keep racing drivers away from the race track: while Michael Schumacher was at the Nurbrugring on Sunday for his Fan Club day, his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team-mate, Rubens Barrichello was in Estoril.
"I went to Portugal along with some friends from Brazil and we decided to go and watch the MotoGP race," said the Brazilian. "It was a great race with plenty of overtaking. The technology on the motorbikes is incredible and they make a fantastic noise. It made for an enjoyable day."
Since the last race in Hungary, where he had a big accident, Barrichello has been back to Brazil, where he had extensive physiotherapy treatment for some back pain which resulted from the accident in Budapest. "I'm much better now," he said.
"In fact, I discovered at the Monza test that my back bothers me more when I am outside the car exercising than when I am in the cockpit. Having said that, it has not affected my training as it is only a minor inconvenience. I am sure it will not be a problem for the next race, as Monza is all about pushing your right foot down on the throttle pedal as hard as you can, with little physical demands on the driver.'
As for the test at Monza, Barrichello shares Schumacher's positive views of the work achieved by the Scuderia. "I was always happy with the set-up of the car, even though I lost some track time in the mornings of the first two days," he said. "The last day was very useful, trying the new aero package and different tyre types. Bridgestone has done a lot of work and I am confident we have taken a step forward on this element of the package. The results mean I am quite optimistic for the end of the season."
"Having said that, I think it will be a good fight between the top four teams, which are all very close now in performance terms. This will be especially true at Monza, where the characteristics of the track will make the competition even closer between us. It's going to be an exciting race."
Barrichello has good reason to look forward to the Italian Grand Prix. "It was my best win last year," he recalled. "So this time I will be looking forward to trying to repeat that result." Monza is the second race of the season on Italian soil and the better of the two according to Barrichello. "I prefer Monza to Imola. I think Monza offers purer racing as it has more potential for overtaking. I am sure there will be a lot of pressure on the team as this is a home race, but Ferrari is strong enough to handle that pressure."
"The last three races should be very exciting as the championship is so open. Unfortunately I lost too many points in the last few races which is disappointing, but I will be going into the final part of the season hoping to help Ferrari win the Constructors' title."
With Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen separated by just two points, Barrichello is aware of suggestions in the media that he, Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard will be expected to help their respective team-mates in the fight for the Drivers' crown. "All I can say is that I don't think there is anything our trio can do," laughed the Brazilian. "The title contenders are all grown-ups and they can do it for themselves. Of course, I work for Ferrari and by helping my team I will probably be helping Michael too."