Since finishing testing duties in Barcelona last week, Rubens Barrichello has been in Sao Paulo preparing for his home grand prix. With so much interest from from his local fans, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro man feels the race weekend has already...
Since finishing testing duties in Barcelona last week, Rubens Barrichello has been in Sao Paulo preparing for his home grand prix. With so much interest from from his local fans, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro man feels the race weekend has already started, as he attends a series of press meetings and promotional events in the build up to Sunday.
The most obvious question he has been asked is what he thought of the F2002, having driven it for the first time last week in Spain. "My first impression of the new car was that it was terrific, really fantastic, in terms of the feedback it gave," said an enthusiastic Barrichello. "I was delighted to find out the F2002 was really good and well balanced. The lap times were very good. It had everything I had hoped for. Ever since I joined Ferrari, every new car has been a step forward and this one is no exception. It still feels part of the same "family" of cars, but progress has been made in every area."
So how does the Paulista feel about not getting behind the wheel of the F2002 in Interlagos, following the team's announcement that only one of the new cars would be available in Brazil, for team-mate Michael Schumacher. "I had driven the car for four days and now we come to my home grand prix, which of course is the one where you like to perform better than any other one, so I am disappointed not to have the new car," admitted Rubens. "But I am a professional and I have been told it was impossible to bring two of the new cars here and I accept that. This means I will be driving the F2001. In no way does this change my approach to the race. I am looking forward to it and feel more prepared and relaxed than at any other time."
Barrichello even hinted there could be more positive aspects to using the older car. "I will not have available to me what seems to be a better car, but I will be driving a car that is consistent and strong, the modified F2001," he maintained. "The first three races of the season are always tough on all aspects of the car and the Interlagos circuit is especially difficult for the cars. I am not saying I wish problems on anyone else; indeed we saw in Malaysia that even the F2001 can have a problem, but this car is well tried and we will be trying to put together a package that is competitive for the grand prix."
The fact the team will be running two different cars will not change the fact that the two Ferrari drivers will be working together to achieve the best result this weekend. "I think we will start with the same set-up, as the cars have some similar characteristics, but when Michael and me compare data there might be some small differences," suggested the Brazilian. "Whatever happens I will be enjoying life this weekend. I just want to go to Interlagos and enjoy driving a track I like very much. Every Monday after this grand prix, I am at home and I think I am sorry the race weekend went by so quickly. I just plan to enjoy every minute."