Q & A with Rubens Barrichello

Amid all the excitement of Jenson Button's return to winning form for the Brawn GP team at the Australian Grand Prix, it was all too easy to overlook the fact that his teammate Rubens Barrichello recovered from a poor start and two separate collisions to finish right behind him on the road

Q & A with Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello may be the most experienced driver in the history of F1, but he remains blindingly quick - and will certainly help push the team and Button to their very limits throughout 2009.

Back in December, AUTOSPORT met with Barrichello in London with the Brazilian keen to put forward how determined he was to remain in F1.

So now, after the first race of what looks like being a remarkable season for him and Brawn, we caught up again to see how he feels about what has happened, just how good the BGP 001 car is, and how he sees things developing with Button.

Q. You've been in title-winning cars before at Ferrari. How good do you think the Brawn GP car is?

Rubens Barrichello: The car is great. The car is a title-winning car. The only thing is that it is a much smaller team - well prepared but with only a couple of tests behind us. So it is very early to say we have everything in hand, because I am sure when you test so little small things can happens.

Although we have a fantastic team, well-prepared, it is too early to say we are contenders definitely. But in the whole potential of me after 16-years of driving cars, I can see that this car has the potential to win races for a long time.

Q. Do you think the Malaysian track will play more to the strengths of this car than Albert Park did?

RB: That is a tough one. In Australia we had the visibility as a problem. We had the temperature dropping and we actually had a fantastic feeling with the car - and perhaps better than others. In Malaysia I think the racing car be closer. Ferrari will definitely be closer there; McLaren has always been good there. I was surprised with Red Bull - so I think it will be close racing.

Q. Can you believe this is happening?

RB: Well, you are the one who knows more than anything - I wanted an interview with AUTOSPORT in December to show my face, and here I am. I have always stayed positive. Deep inside I always knew I was going to drive, even though I wasn't sure, sure, sure - I always knew it could be the case.

It is not like a dream come true just the fact I am here, but it is a dream come true the fact that we were 1-2. After qualifying I really felt we could be first and second, but after the start and after so many crashes from behind, from the side, I thought the car was already in bits. But it is very robust.

Q. So much has been made of the diffuser issue, yet engineers from rival teams say the whole car is beautifully made; the speed is not just coming from that area. Whatever happens at the appeal court, everyone will have the same diffuser too. How will that affect your title chances?

RB: I tell you - whenever the McLaren crashed into me from behind, the diffuser was broken. I still had the pace, so it is not just there - it is the whole situation. People can say whatever they want, but I hope the FIA will have the same application as they did before the race - that it is good enough.

Q. And what about your rivalry with Jenson Button. How do you see that developing?

RB: We respect each other very much. But we both want to win. It is like we love other away from the track, but we hate each other when we are driving. So, it is a common thing between drivers, but the most important thing is that it is fair and honest.

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