A new beginning for Barrichello

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The start of 2006 brings a new team for Rubens Barrichello as he heads to Honda after six years with Ferrari. Ahead of his first test for his new employers in Spain next week, he has been speaking about what he expects to achieve in the coming season.


Q: How does it feel to be an official Honda Formula One driver?

Rubens Barrichello: "I feel very excited because I think that this is a very good team. I’m really looking forward to working with Honda and the engineers, marketing and everyone at the factory. I think that the team has everything except a race win - and I hope that this is where I can help."

Q: How familiar are you with the key team members and are you looking forward to working with fellow countryman, sporting director Gil de Ferran?

RB: "I am very much looking forward to working with Gil. He was definitely one of the key factors for me coming onboard. Obviously I have been in touch with the team for a few years and I was talking to the key team members in 2005. More recently we have been discussing when I will be able to start testing in the RA106 - I am very excited about that."

Q: What lessons have you learnt at Ferrari and what can you bring to the Honda team?

RB: "I think I will be able to bring lessons learnt not just from Ferrari but from my 13 years of racing. I have experience of winning races and championships so I am happy to bring this to the team."

Q: What are the practical adjustments you've had to make - both socially and professionally - now that you're driving for a UK-based team?

RB: "I have worked for seven of my 13 years in racing for UK-based teams. The journey from my home in Monaco to the operations centre in Brackley will be a little bit longer for me now than at Ferrari, but as the team tests a great deal in Spain, I do not think that I will have to adjust that much at all."

Q: What are your first duties and when will you first drive for the team?

RB: "I will be testing for the first time next week in Jerez and I am very excited. I am starting to drive a little bit too fast on the roads now so I am definitely missing a racing car!"

Q: The run-up to the first race in Bahrain is an intensive period of testing. Presumably you'll want to do as many miles as you can behind the wheel before arriving at the Sakhir circuit?

RB: "Yes of course. I hope that I can do as many miles as possible and compare everything. The programme for the new car, the RA106, looks good and we’ll just have to take it to the track and see how it goes. I am very excited about driving for a new team, especially for Honda, because the reason why I never left Ferrari is because I did not think that there was anything better. Right now there is something better and I hope that I can help move the team forward and see if I can fulfil my dream of winning the championship."

Q: What do you expect will be the main differences between driving the Honda Racing F1 Team RA106 and your 2005 F1 car, and are you anticipating that you will have to change your current driving style at all?

RB: "To be honest I am open minded because I do not want to have any limits to my new car. I want to see how it goes. There will be differences for everyone on the grid this year with the change in engines from V10 to V8. There will be less power of course, but I am sure that the engineers will be clever and find a way in a year’s time to give us a little bit more, which is what drivers want - they always want more power!"

Q: What do you think of the reintroduction of tyre changes and the new qualifying format? Do you believe it will increase people's interest in Formula One?

RB: "I think that the pit-stops were, to a certain extent, good for Formula One because you could do something with the strategy. But with the 2005 tyre regulations we thought that people would be struggling at the end of the race and that people would be overtaking, but it did not happen because the cars are difficult to overtake in and the tracks do not make it easy either. So whenever we had problems with the tyres, in Monaco for example, there was no overtaking, so you slow down, three seconds go off the pace, and so I guess that the changes had to be made. But I do not like to see changes all the time, it is good to have consistency."

Q: What are your impressions of Jenson Button and are you looking forward to gauging yourself against him on the track this year?

RB: "The team goes forward when you work well together and I am the kind of guy who likes to make friends and not make enemies. I know Jenson as a friend, but I have never worked with him. He is definitely a good driver, so it will be challenging to work with him and the best man will win!"

Q: What are your ambitions for your first year with Honda?

RB: "Firstly, there is no limit to my imagination. Obviously we want to keep our feet on the ground though and with everyone at the team trying to improve last year’s car we are in a strong position. I can bring some of my experience to improve the whole package and I really believe we can win races this year."


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