Rubens Barrichello is tackling the days prior to "his" race with increasing serenity and the polemic of the last few days now appears to be forgotten. This morning, Barrichello and Schumacher took part in the traditional press conference...
Rubens Barrichello is tackling the days prior to "his" race with increasing serenity and the polemic of the last few days now appears to be forgotten. This morning, Barrichello and Schumacher took part in the traditional press conference organised by Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Hotel Transamerica. The Brazilian pretty much repeated what he said at a similar event organised by Bridgestone last Tuesday. "This is both the hardest and the easiest weekend of the year," said Rubens. "However, there is less pressure this time because I have a really competitive car. Interlagos is without a doubt, my favourite circuit, above all because I was born here and it is also one of the few tracks where overtaking is a real possibility."
The arguments that followed the race in Sepang have taught Rubens a valuable lesson. "I have learned that it is best not to say too much in Formula 1. What happened will not change the way I behave within the team and with Schumacher. My thoughts were misunderstood by the media. As usual, I had the same opportunities as my team-mate. I am very relaxed, knowing I am so close to Michael, which wasn't the case in the past. It will be important to be in front in qualifying. This year is my best ever chance to win this race. I really want this win, but I am not making any promises. A lot of factors have to be taken into account, from how practice goes on Friday and Saturday to the best set-up choice, and to what my Granny Isaura predicts for the weather. I trust her much more than the weather forecast, as she lives here!"
Rubens returned to the subject of his contract with the Scuderia. "What has appeared in the press the last few days is without foundation. Someone even wrote I would not race here in Brazil, which is ridiculous! The truth is I am going through a great time at the moment, that I have no problems with Ferrari and that I want to stay. We can talk about the contract later." Brazilian sport lovers are in a state of shock after the national soccer side was beaten yesterday in Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier and inevitably Rubens was asked about this. "I met Vampeta in the airport when I came to Brazil last week and he was very confident. He said they were under a lot of pressure, which is not positive. "However, I am not the right man to help them," said Barrichello, trying to make light of the situation.
Michael Schumacher is convinced that, to date, Rubens Barrichello is the strongest team-mate he has ever had. "There is little difference between me and Rubens, as could be seen from qualifying in Sepang. He is the best team-mate I have ever hard and he obviously has a chance of winning this Sunday's race," said Michael. "Ferrari give us two identical cars, which is logical as there would be no point in doing anything else. Would I hand him the win if the opportunity arose? It is too earl in the season to do this type of thing." Schumacher also chose to extricate himself from any other contentious issues arising from some of Rubens' statements in the previous few days. "I don't like arguments and I don't want to get into any of that," said the German in a forceful manner. "It is best to discuss things like this within the team. What I can say is there were no team orders in Malaysia. I know that, just like in a marriage, there can be the odd difficult moment, but you only have to sit down around a table to sort it out. In any case, none of this has had the slightest effect on our relationship."
There are rumours that Toyota is interested in hiring Schumacher, but he strongly quashed this story. "I don't know anything about it. What I am sure about is that, for now, I am totally concentrated on what I am doing with Ferrari with the aim of winning."