Barrichello hungry to race on with Honda
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, December 18th 2008, 15:00 GMT|
A fired up Rubens Barrichello flew to England this week to tell Honda Racing chiefs that he is ready to help them through their troubled times - as he sets his sights on securing a fresh deal at the team.
Rubbishing any suggestion that he was contemplating retirement in the wake of Honda's decision to pull out of Formula One, Barrichello made a visit to the team's Brackley headquarters to explain to boss Ross Brawn how keen he is to remain in the sport.
And speaking exclusively to autosport.com in London, the Brazilian explained how he hopes his visit here, a new training regime and victory in off-season kart events have sent out the message of just how determined he is.
"I told Ross, right now I am into the situation where I am not old and I can still use this as a learning emotion," he said. "I am so fired up.
"I told him again that it could be a good time for me to say goodbye and start shouting bad against people for what they have done bad to me, but no. I am ready to race. I have lost half the weight of what I need to lose, and am eager to keep going.
"I don't think it is coincidence that I won the two kart races back in Brazil. Of course, it is at a level of competition that is much lower than F1, but it shows that I am up to it. I think I can use my mentality, plus my speed and my focus on the right stuff right now to really help the team carry on.
"And I don't want to sign just for one year. I want to sign for two or three years. I also started my career on slicks and I definitely want to finish my career on slicks."
Barrichello believes that the dramatic rule changes introduced for next year, which now include a total ban of in-season testing, make it more important that a team like Honda opt for experience over youth.
"There are two sides to this. First of all you need to have speed. If you only have experience and don't have the speed, then you are never going to get the speed. This is the main point. So you are better off getting someone quick and you develop him with experience.
"I think in terms of myself I have both. It is a question of checking if the old boy is still eager to do it, because at this point – if you talked to David Coulthard and then talked to myself it was a completely different thing.
"When I heard DC telling me he was going to stop – he was feeling he had done enough, he wanted to go home. I just cannot see myself going back to Brazil yet – because I still have the speed. Yes, I can see when I am done going back to my country, which I have always loved. But I still want to race.
"I haven't driven the car for a while and I went to the simulator today and spent two hours there – before they told me to stop because I had to do something else.
"So it is still there in myself – and I do think speed plus experience will be needed next year. There is no testing, a different approach with a new car and new tyres, and you need to know in three laps if the car is going to last with the tyres or not."
Barrichello had been due to join Honda Racing for their second test of the winter in Jerez earlier this month, but that run was cancelled in the wake of the decision of their parent road car company to withdraw from F1.
Although Honda's bombshell has cast serious question marks over Barrichello's future, the Brazilian claims that he has not thought once about calling time on his record-breaking career.
"No. It is far away," he said. "It is crazy, but all the happenings all through the past month have made me even more eager to drive. It would be easy to see the negative about the situation, but it has shown me that another door has opened. So it is a bit of a different approach."
He added: "I have unfinished business in F1. I am sure I can finish higher up, if not winning the championship. I really believe that is what I deserve.
"It would be a shame not to use the services of someone so eager to do it, plus with all the experience and the speed. It is the right time – and it comes with the willingness to do well.
"If you sign someone with the speed but whose time is over, they will set up the car differently and badly. You are 80 percent of the time going through corners, and you set up the car different compared to someone who comes and wants to go flat out.
"For me, I am still taking it flat – and sometimes this year in qualifying you have that little pimple on your skin saying 'just remember you are not a boy any more' after the corner. So it is still there very much.
"I came to show my face here in England, to show I appreciate everything that happens to the team, and to tell them to keep working hard and putting every effort in possible.
"There is no negative about anything – you have to take the positive side and there will be a positive side. Someone will buy it and it can be better than it was the last two years."