It’s easy to forget that Rubens Barrichello is a three times winner of the Italian Grand Prix, including last season at the wheel of the Brawn car.
This year he is unlikely to be among the contenders, but the Williams team is optimistic of getting at least one car into Q3 tomorrow.
I spoke to him in Spa and caught sight of an interview he did in Gazzetta dello Sport this weekend, which offers some thoughts on his experiences. So here are the best of the quotes.
On the subject of team orders he said, “It disturbed me to relive something which I had in my skin years before. I never thought it would be repeated.” He recalls that infamous race in Austria 2002, after which the team orders ban came in as “Eight las of hell, in which I was subjected to intense pressure. In the end I did what I did thinking that I would get some benefits, but I never got them.”
“I spent six seasons (at Ferrari) to earn respect. In the end I had to leave the team a year earlier than planned because Michael was everything; he had the spare car, first call on strategy. I would never have left, but I just wasn’t getting the right treatment.”
His words sound prophetic. He is close to Felipe Massa and one wonders whether these thoughts are passing through his mind at the moment. Sometimes you have to leave.
Alonso is “one of the best, if not the best driver around at the moment,” according to Rubens.
His final thoughts are on Williams, a team which has gone 100 races without a win, but is not in decline, according to its veteran driver.
“What’s missing? Details. There are competent people there, a beautiful wind tunnel, all that needs changing is the base concepts of how to develop the car. For five years now they have had poor drivability.”
You get the sense that Rubens knows how to fix that. The 2011 Williams will be worth keeping an eye on. The team is listening. And at this time of his career, that’s what he wants more than anything else.