After Michael Schumacher left the press conference stage in the Pan Pacific Hotel at the airport, it was the turn of his team-mate to meet the media. Rubens Barrichello returned to Brazil after Melbourne, but like Schumacher, also spent a few days...
After Michael Schumacher left the press conference stage in the Pan Pacific Hotel at the airport, it was the turn of his team-mate to meet the media. Rubens Barrichello returned to Brazil after Melbourne, but like Schumacher, also spent a few days in the Maldives on the way to Malaysia. 'But not in the same place as Michael!' specified the Brazilian.
Looking back to Australia, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver explained that a combination of circumstances led to his race crash: 'I was pushing too hard and my front tyres were already going off because the track was drying. Then, I was also on the radio to the pits about my penalty and on top of that, the carbon fibre part of the HANS system was resting on my collar bone, as its airbag had lost its air. For this race, I have a new HANS with a wider base and we have also made changes to the airbag.'
Despite these difficulties, Barrichello was still positive about the Head and Neck Support in theory. 'If it was not compulsory, I would guess that 80% of drivers would not use it. But the system is for our benefit and we should get used to it. I want to make it work, but if we are not happy with it, we should be given more time to sort it out.'
Rubens shared his team-mate's views on the subject of the war in Iraq. 'Of course, we can all feel afraid in this situation. I think there should have been more talks. But now that it has started, I just think about my safety in terms of travelling.'
With Felipe Massa standing at the back of the conference room, Barrichello was asked what he thought of his fellow countryman and Scuderia test driver. 'I think he should have been racing this year,' said Rubens. 'But he is enjoying his new role and I think it will benefit him in the future.'
On the subject of his own future, the Brazilian said that, to date, there had been no discussions with the team, as his current contract runs to the end of 2004. 'We will talk about it when the time comes,' he maintained. 'I am very happy with the team and there is no reason to think I have got to look for a new job after 2004. I feel I am still quite young, even if I have been in Formula 1 for ten years and I don't think I've yet reached my peak. I am a guy who has learned to live in the present and not think about the future.'
Naturally, the local press wanted Barrichello's thoughts on the Malaysian GP. 'I like driving this circuit,' said the Brazilian. 'The biggest problem can be the heat and you have to drink a lot of fluids. But as a Brazilian I am used to this and I enjoy the challenge, because it means that, during the race, being well prepared physically can make a difference.'