After another week of testing in the F2002, Rubens Barrichello is keen to race it in this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix. With more test miles under his belt, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver is now in a better position to assess this year's...
After another week of testing in the F2002, Rubens Barrichello is keen to race it in this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix. With more test miles under his belt, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver is now in a better position to assess this year's Scuderia challenger. "It's a more complete car and in every detail it is just that much better than the F2001," reckons the Brazilian.
"Driving the car, it does not actually feel that much different to the older one. For example, it is no easier to drive. But push it as hard as the old one and you go quicker and the lap times come down. To sum it up, basically for the same effort you get more speed. Some of the progress we have made with the new car is down to our close collaboration with Bridgestone. There was a lot of effort between the two companies to build a car, working in the same direction. Brazil proved that we had done a good job. No one was expecting a Bridgestone win in the heat of Interlagos, but the car and the tyre proved to be the right combination."
The Autodromo Dino e Enzo Ferrari provides a stern test of man and machine and Barrichello will be using his experiences at a pre-season test to evaluate F2002 in these conditions.
"We have seen the difference the new car makes on the stopwatch in Barcelona and Mugello and now I am looking forward to experiencing the difference in Imola, after testing there in the old car, just before going to Australia," he said. "I have heard that there is a strong chance of rain this weekend and I have to admit I have never driven the F2002 in the wet. But Michael had one day in Mugello in the rain and the car seems to behave in a similar way to the old one. Anyway, the rain has never bothered me."
As the Formula 1 circus now enters into its European phase, Barrichello is looking forward to a more ordered existence over the next few months. "For the last three races, I have been living pretty much out of a suitcase, apart from the week in Brazil prior to my home race," admitted the Ferrari man. "Now the season moves to Europe and that means I can make a home again in Monaco. My wife missed several races last year, as she was expecting our baby and could not fly, but now I am looking forward to being a family again, with her and with Eduardo, joining me in Monaco after the San Marino race. Apart from Monte Carlo, I will spend some time in Italy of course and maybe I will get to spend some of the summer in Portugal, which is the nearest we get to Brazil in Europe!"
While yet to open his points account this year, Barrichello is in good spirits, prior to what is a home race for the Scuderia. "I am regarding this weekend as a new start to the season for me," he maintained. "There have been three races so far and I have been unlucky in all of them. Last year, I had a total of three unlucky races in the whole season, so I think all that is going to change from now and what better place than Imola where I can count on the support of all our fans."