- Rubens Barrichello GP week interview
'Right now is the rumour time'
GP Week talks to Williams driver Rubens Barrichello about Sam Michael's move to McLaren, and his intention to race for a 20th consecutive season
Are you happy with how things are progressing with the car and the team?
It's hard to see because the last couple of tracks - Spa and Monza - have been a bit more high speed than the other ones and I think that's how we managed to perform a bit better. Singapore is quite low speed. You just don't know [going into the weekend].
What was your reaction to the news that Sam Michael is joining McLaren as its sporting director?
I was very happy for him. He's a super guy, he had too much work to do at Williams and I think the way it's going to be at McLaren he'll be used to his full potential. So, I think McLaren has it all to gain.
People who have worked with him say he's strong on the pit wall. How is it from your perspective?
He's a very competitive guy, and at Williams his role was overbooked, overcharged… over, over. It was hard to see him smiling because he was doing far too many things. He's very competent in whatever he sets in his hands. Like I said, it will be to McLaren's benefit to have his job in a much easier way. I think he's going to have some time to rest and cool it down. I'm quite sure he will tie things up for McLaren.
With the personnel changes that are happening at Williams are you confident Sam's successor, Mike Coughlan, won't be overloaded?
I think it will be better. They've got Mark Gillan at the track this weekend, and whoever they take to races and whoever they leave at the factory it's going to be better divided.
We've seen some very aggressive driving this year. Do you think the improvements that have been made to car safety since you started in F1 321 races ago have allowed, perhaps motivated, drivers to take bigger and bigger risks?
I think you have to adapt to the changes but whoever's been aggressive has always been aggressive. I don't think there have been any situations that have made that worse. If you had one chance in the past to overtake you would take it. DRS might give you three chances in the race, but you still have to take all of them.
Do you enjoy racing in the wet, and if so why?
I do. I don't know why. When it rains, I smile. I have always done well in the wet since karting. Tough things in life, you can either like them or not. Some people look at the sky and think 'shit, that's not good'. It's like a mental stoppage. I don't have that fear.
It's moving, but right now is the rumour time and my Twitter is just crazy with people saying things. I can't rely on other information and other drivers, I just rely on my information. Whenever I meet my family they ask me crazy things that they read in the press, unfortunately. To say something now is just going to cause more fuss. I'm not in that moment yet.
Are you confident that you'll race in your 20th season?
I definitely want to, that's my point. I'm better prepared than at any other time. Unfortunately Williams haven't given me a good car yet. But moving forward means we should stick together and race with a better car next year. The fewer changes you make on the driver side the better the continuity, and I think a good example of that is Ferrari. I'm cool. I've had a fantastic 19 years and I want to do the 20th. If everything goes well I will do my 20th.
If the championship is wrapped up four races early - as it looks set to - do you think that's a turn off for the fans?
Not really, just for you journalists because you don't know what to write afterwards. The races are still fun. I understand your point, but people have been winning races early since the 1950s and it's up to us to stop Sebastian.