After winning the last round of the championship at Silverstone, Rubens Barrichello returned to a hero's welcome in his native Sao Paulo where, with no testing allowed at the moment, he has been enjoying a break with his family and friends. He...
After winning the last round of the championship at Silverstone, Rubens Barrichello returned to a hero's welcome in his native Sao Paulo where, with no testing allowed at the moment, he has been enjoying a break with his family and friends.
He lands back in Europe on Wednesday to prepare for the German Grand Prix."I got a great reception when I returned home" - said the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver - "Everyone was delighted with my win. Prior to Silverstone I did not have such good races, so my morale is definitely on the up."
"But I've been telling everyone here in Brazil that I'm keeping my feet on the ground, because future success depends how the car and tyre package evolves. There are those who say we will suffer if we encounter typically hot weather in Germany, but I think the opposite. We made a step forward since the French GP and I think we can look good, as long as we work hard and do our best".
Having spent the last few weeks in Europe, the Brazilian found his native land offered a climatic contrast. "It's strange being back in Brazil, as it is winter here right now" - explained the Paulista - "I have been training on my mountain bike and doing some running in the hills, where the temperature can drop to zero degrees. Having said that, at home in Sao Paulo it's thirty degrees!"
Rubens has been keeping in regular contact with the engineers back in Maranello because, as he pointed out, the work continues even if there is no testing. "Formula 1 technology is so advanced that progress can be made even without track time" - said Barrichello - "Of course, the track provides the truth, but work in the wind tunnel and development on the tyre front keeps going all the time. Okay, some developments might be a gamble, but at least you have Friday morning at Hockenheim to try them".
This year's Drivers' championship is very close and Barrichello's British GP win means he is only 20 points (two race wins) behind the leader, team-mate Michael Schumacher. But the Ferrari man feels that this year's regulations mean the situation is not so straightforward. "If I go to Hockenheim and win again, then that would be a step forward" - he maintained - "But this year, the points system means that consistency pays off so it is much harder to come from behind. But I think it has made for an exciting and difficult championship this year".
As a past winner of the German GP, Barrichello was a fan of the 'old' track. "The long straights at Hockenheim were part of the circuit's charm" - recalled the Brazilian - "The new layout is not bad, with some overtaking possibilities, but not as many as on the old one. Without the long straights, nowadays when you get to the Stadium section, your first impression is that the car has improved so much, but in actual fact it's that you now run with more downforce and that is where the performance comes from."
"The new track is still quite 'busy' and it is complex to set up the car. The new rules mean that set up still requires a compromise, as you basically qualify in race trim, but still need to be quick for that one lap on Saturday afternoon and then have a car that is good until the first refuelling stop on Sunday. Last year we saw a good race and hopefully that will be the case this year. I think that not only ourselves and Williams, but also McLaren should be competitive and we will have to keep an eye on Renault."