Rubens Barrichello will do his best to avoid a repeat of last year’s Austrian GP team-orders row this weekend because he knows A1-Ring is a track where he can beat team-mate Michael Schumacher.
Rubens Barrichello will do his best to avoid a repeat of last year’s Austrian GP team-orders row this weekend and he knows A1-Ring is a track where he can beat team-mate Michael Schumacher.
Last year, the Brazilian was within sight of the chequered flag when he was ordered to allow Schumacher to pass him and win the race, with the aim of strengthening the German's championship chances. The contrived finish sparked a massive public outcry…
"With hindsight, it was a very controversial decision (to move over for Schumacher)," Barrichello said this week. "But now, a year later, I prefer to look only at the positive aspects of that race. I had a brilliant race. We all know what happened at the end and in a way, I think it had an impact on the whole history of F1.
“I do not feel it reflected badly on me, in fact I think it strengthened my position with Ferrari. It strengthened my and their belief that I can do the job and that I can win races. I do not look back on Austria as a negative thing," he said.
Barrichello has always been a factor at the A1 Ring. "It's true I like this track," he said. "It is not that hard to drive, but it is extremely difficult to set up the car. You have to run low downforce, but you still have difficult corners like the two left handers where you have to carry a lot of speed and the final corner is also critical for a good lap time. I have always been strong there and my one regret is that I never drove on the old long circuit."
The Brazilian is in confident mood for this weekend, after another profitable test session with F2003-GA last week: "Some of the testing, including tyre work, was aimed specifically at Austria and overall, we are learning more all the time about the new car."
As for strategy in Austria, the Brazilian feels the new qualifying rules will once again have an effect.
"In general, not just for Austria, I think the new rules mean that some people might try a one stop which could create a surprise, but I don't think it is an option for the front runners, for whom two stops is pretty much the minimum now," he said.