No driver in the field has more experience than Rubens Barrichello. And yet the 285-fold GP participant fishes in the murky when he is supposed to make a season forecast. 'In my long career, I've never felt so uncertain about predicting anything,' said Barrichello at the beginning of his 18th Formula 1 season. 'Emotionally, I would say: Red Bull is the fastest on one lap, F errari on a race distance. '
Almost 57,000 test kilometers since February 1st have not made it much easier to know who is fast or slow brightens. Which is mainly due to the fact that the parameters for determining the location are so far apart. 'Last year, when testing, the cars drove around with 20 or 80 kilograms of fuel. This year the spectrum was between 10 and 160 kilograms.'
New F1 cars simply stop
Although Barrichello still knows races without refueling stops from its premiere year 1993, he does not want to make any comparisons. Formula 1 17 years ago was a different world. 'At that time, they kept messages out of me during the race like: Watch out for the engine, the tires or the brakes. Today I don't have to watch out for anything. The cars just stop. I always drive at the limit, just as fast as it is the conditions allow. '
In contrast to many of his colleagues who fear boring races, last year's World Cup third-placed hopes for the opposite:' The cars will be of different strength in different phases of the race. Some go well with a lot of fuel on board, the others with little. That creates differences. And these differences should make overtaking easier. '
Tires cause confusion
Experience is not a disadvantage in changing conditions. A clean driving style certainly not either. Still, Barrichello is skeptical whether these two qualities will help him. 'To be honest, I'm confused. There were days of testing where I ruined the tires after ten laps. It wouldn't have been any different if I had driven more carefully. The tires simply didn't hold up under the given conditions. Two days later I drove 30 laps with the same tires just because moreRubber was on the road. How the tires behave over a longer distance will probably depend on the situation. 'That is comforting. Nothing harms the sport more than predictability. The bigger the question marks, the more exciting the races.
Only with The 37-year-old Brazilian doesn't want to befriend anybody. To do his laps with 160 kilograms of fuel in the tank is boring from a racing driver's point of view. 'It's not fun to drive around with cars that are so sluggish.' Enjoy the qualification without restrictions. All 24 participants qualify with a minimal amount of fuel in the tank.
Reintroduction of the warm-up on Sunday?
The greater the shock in the first laps on Sunday when the car is slower by six seconds per lap. Lewis Hamilton has already called for a comeback of a warm-up on Sunday morning to better adapt to the higher vehicle weight. Barrichello rejects the a b, although, unlike Hamilton, he knows this practice very well. Until 2002, the warm-up as part of the race preparation was still part of the weekend program.
'We are considered to be the best drivers in the world. So we should be able to flip the switch if we drive a car that has little gasoline on one day and a full one on the other Tank.' For Barrichello, that's part of the new challenge. And he looks forward to them like a newcomer to the GP. Barrichello himself has to laugh a little about his enthusiasm after 285 Grand Prix. 'My wife has already said: you look younger than ever.'