On a partly cloudy afternoon at the circuit which hosts this Sunday's French Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello met the press at the Ferrari media motorhome. With Ralf Schumacher missing this race because of his back injury following his accident at...
On a partly cloudy afternoon at the circuit which hosts this Sunday's French Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello met the press at the Ferrari media motorhome. With Ralf Schumacher missing this race because of his back injury following his accident at Indianapolis, safety on F1 has come to the forefront of discussions again. Barrichello's attitude was that safety work should continue but that there should not be any sudden reaction.
"The cars are much safer today than in the past, but I do agree that we need to reduce speeds," he said. "This has always been a talking point. But I have to say I love driving these cars. I don't think we should reduce their performance by too much. 800 horsepower would be a sensible limit and we don't have to go as low as 600. Apart from that, I think we could play with the aerodynamics and go back to slick tyres. In fact, I think most of the drivers would agree with that."
Last week, it was announced that the proposed changes to the qualifying format, due to be introduced at Silverstone, have been scrapped. The Brazilian is not bothered. "Making changes quickly is a dangerous idea," he reckoned. "You should not rush things through and you cannot change the world in five minutes. I think a sensible solution would be to review the situation and make any changes for the start of the 2005 season."
As for this coming race, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver was as optimistic as ever: "I like this track and the area. I usually go well here, so hopefully I can have a good weekend."
After Barrichello, it was Michael Schumacher's turn to step into the media motorhome to meet the press. Naturally, the first topic was the condition of his brother Ralf. "I spoke to him yesterday and he was in good spirits," said the reigning world champion.
"He was surprised at the news (Ralf has fractured vertebrae following his Indy crash) but now he can prepare in the right fashion. Everyone knows he is a good driver, so he has nothing to prove and he can take his time. I did the same after I broke my leg in '99, only coming back when I was completely ready. We are brothers so I guess we have a similar approach. But we are only brothers, not twins!"
On the subject of F1 safety, Schumacher was in favour of reducing the speed of the cars: "but it must be done in a correct and sensible manner to improve safety. It might take some drastic steps on the part of the teams and the FIA. We must make sure any changes take us in the right direction, improving safety but also the sport -- for example increasing overtaking opportunities. F1 should be made safer and better."
"On the mental aspects of racing, the Ferrari man reckoned he could speak for all drivers when he said that, "we don't think of the danger, except when we come close to having an accident. Then you get a rush of adrenalin. But generally, we feel safe in what we do because we have good safety around us, not like in motor bike racing for example. We try and drive right to the limit, not over it."
News broke today that Max Mosley plans to step down from his role as President of the FIA at the end of this coming October. "Max has been very good in what he has done,' declared Michael. 'There have been times when I have not agreed with him, but he has achieved a lot in terms of safety and the reputation of Formula 1. He is very active and a hard worker. I think Max will be hard to replace."