For a driver, going back to a circuit where you did well last time is always satisfying, so Rubens Barrichello is eagerly looking forward to the Nurburgring this weekend, where he won the 2002 European Grand Prix. "Last year what made my race was...
For a driver, going back to a circuit where you did well last time is always satisfying, so Rubens Barrichello is eagerly looking forward to the Nurburgring this weekend, where he won the 2002 European Grand Prix. "Last year what made my race was my first lap, which I ended up leading," recalled the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver.
Last year, the drivers were unsure what to expect at this race as the first section at the Nurburgring had been modified. "Now we know it is much slower, but it is still challenging, as it is easy to make a mistake in the new first corner," reckons the Brazilian. "Some drivers might think it is a shame we have lost the original corner which involved a very quick change of direction through the 'S.' But the new section is interesting and especially in qualifying, you can make or lose a lot of time there."
The track changes have also altered the parameters for car set-up. "At the Nurburgring, aerodynamics used to be the key factor, but the new track layout means we have to concentrate on the mechanical grip more than before," explained the Ferrari driver. "The new section requires excellent traction, while brakes are also important as some of the braking areas are quite bumpy and obviously, you need a good engine as the track rises and falls and you need the power to get up the hills."
However, after last week's test session, Barrichello is confident that the Scuderia will be in good shape this weekend. "At Silverstone we worked on tyres for Nurburgring, while also thinking ahead to the British Grand Prix next month. I had three fantastic days of testing and we got through a big programme. I was very happy with what I accomplished in England. The F2003-GA is still very new for us and there is a lot more potential to be taken from it, which is another reason to look forward to the second half of the year."
In between testing and setting off for the Nurburgring, Barrichello took time out to indulge in the passion he shares with Michael Schumacher for football. "On Friday, I played football in the charity match at Reggio Emilia organised to raise money to help the Iraqi people. The Ferrari team won against the 'Nazionale Cantanti.' It was good fun and Michael, Felipe and Luca also played."
"I played as a forward as usual, but I didn't score. Michael and Felipe are very good. Luca? I can't say the word for how he plays, but even though he was lucky and scored a goal, I suggest he sticks to his work which he does so well for the Scuderia, as football is not his strong point! It was an impressive and fun event and I was surprised to see there was a crowd of 30,000 people."
Another fun event will not be on the Brazilian's calendar, as he cannot join the rest of the Scuderia for its annual karting competition at Schumacher's kart track in his home town of Kerpen, prior to the grand prix weekend. "I have never done the karting event and I was due to attend at last this year," said Rubens. "But now I have a last minute meeting with the people from Schuberth helmets, so sadly I will miss it. Maybe next year."