Having flown to Europe after finishing second in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello has spent the last two days testing in Barcelona. On Thursday, he had his first turn at the wheel of the F2003-GA, which had previously only been driven...
Having flown to Europe after finishing second in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello has spent the last two days testing in Barcelona. On Thursday, he had his first turn at the wheel of the F2003-GA, which had previously only been driven by Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer.Ferrari Marlboro driver. "I was happy and I had a good impression of the new car after this first drive. The car was definitely faster than the F2002 which is a good sign, but it still needs some development. Because of that, I am happy to take the old car to Brazil, where it won its first race last year. The new car is better but we are at a stage where reliability is very important and even if the F2003-GA ran well all day, taking the older one to Interlagos is the right decision."
In Malaysia the subject of Barrichello's difficulties with the HANS system, which ended in him being given a dispensation not to use it in the race, was a major talking point. "If I can start by explaining fully the problem I had with it, the fact is, I could not get my seat belts tight enough on my body when using the HANS," said Rubens.
"Therefore I was moving about in the cockpit and that caused problems for my back. It was particularly painful on the Saturday in Sepang. I still have a little bit of back pain, but I feel fine and I am sure I will be completely fit for Brazil. Now, in Barcelona, I have used a twin-belt system where I am held in place by the usual safety harness and additional shoulder straps secure the HANS. Everything now fits securely and it seems to work well, so I am confident about using it at the next race."
Last year at this stage of the season, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver had failed to score any points and currently he has eight. So, even if the Scuderia has not yet recorded a win, does he feel this is a better start to the year on a personal level.
"You cannot make comparisons from one year to the next," maintained Barrichello. "If it had not been for the special circumstances in the first race, we could have picked up a lot of points and I came second in the last one, so we just need to keep on trying. People talk of a Ferrari crisis, but I don't see it that way at all. We expected Malaysia to suit our competitors, but now I am looking forward to doing well at home in Brazil." Barrichello flew home to Sao Paulo on Thursday night to get ready for what is always a very busy week for the local hero as he prepares for his home race.