Interview: Rubens Barrichello – Utterly In Love with Racing
It’s impossible to speak with Rubens Barrichello and not get infected by his love of racing. Here is part two of MotorSport Retro’s exclusive interview… Topics? François Cevert, Mario Andretti, and more!
By Andy Hallbery
As a seven year old, Rubens Barrichello sat in Mario Andretti’s Lotus Formula One car at Interlagos. Now, some 22 years later, he was slightly star struck when the 1978 F1 World Champion stopped by to wish him luck. And – no disrespect to Scott Pruett – the Brazilian was star struck by him too! That’s how deep Rubens’ love of racing is. So here are some more questions and answers from Rubinho…
What’s your favourite racing livery or logo?
“Obviously… What have we now – BMC!!
“But seriously… I think the John Player Lotus for me was very special. They can try to do it in nowadays, but it’s never going to be like that.”
JPS livery a favourite
You’re having dinner, you can invite three drivers from any era – alive or not – who would you pick?
“I would invite Ayrton once again. I would love to have Jim Clark on the table and, you know, I could go back a long time. Let me think…
That answer was a surprise, followed by a story that shows just how much Rubens still has his feet on the ground. He may be the most experienced driver in Formula One history, but he still respects the people around him.
“After hearing the stories that Jackie Stewart told me, François was very, very good. I’m usually the funny guy on the dinner table, and they tell me that he was that kind of a guy, so yes, François Cevert.
“But, it’s pretty much like this. For example… Imagine this. Today I met for the first time Scott Pruett. He’s done Indy, and that was such a thing for me because I had so much pleasure in meeting him, because I’ve watched him race on TV. So you see for me there was an emotion in that. That’s one person that made my day today.”
Fun guy Cervert
What was your biggest disappointment in racing?
“I’m a guy who lives positively. I took everything for improving my life. I improve it and I made it better, so I don’t regret anything. I just wished that I was free to race a Ferrari because I wasn’t. Although I won races, you know they didn’t use my full potential.”
The races you won must be extremely satisfying, especially Hockenheim?
Yes, yes. All of them. All of them, because if I won it’s because I made it… The Plan B worked because it was a Plan B, so I made a mistake, so it was nice.
I know you grew up at Interlagos, so what was the first race you saw and how old were you?
“It was 1980, Rene Arnoux won it, Elio De Angelis was second. My grandmother used to live in between turn one and two, so I could watch the race from there. I was at the track when the two Renaults were testing before, so I went to that… Mario Andretti was there too. That’s the first thing that I saw and that day my father took me to the pits where I sat in Mario’s car.
“It was a special day.”
What’s it like being in Indycar now with Mario Andretti here all these years later?
“He came to see me. I mean it’s such a friendly place in IndyCar. The guys here are so laid back and so nice, so friendly. Mario came to my bus and just wished me luck. That was so nice of him. I mean he didn’t need to – and he took a picture for his Twitter! It was just fantastic. What a feeling.”
You are already in F1’s history books, but do you realise if you win the 500 you will be the only person to win the main events on the road course and the oval?
“On earth? That’s unbelievable. I never thought of that! The 500 it’s going to be something magical.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to put pressure on you!
“No, no, no! Pressure is something that we build upon ourselves. I learned that with each moment as it went. I stopped reading the Brazilian papers before the races because they put pressure on you.
You are doing Indy. Are there other events that you would still like to do?
“I thank the skies for giving me this chance because I never thought I would actually race here at Indy.”
Not Le Mans or anything like that?
“Ha ha ha!! It’s funny, as I told my wife the other day: ‘It’s just getting worse,’ because after this I’m going to go back to racing all the way back, so we go all the way there! Formula 3 again, then Opel Lotus, Formula Ford and go-karts, so I’m going to be 65 when I quit. She said, “No, no, no,” so it’s funny, but I just love this so much that I would do it all again.”
Very special thanks to Rubens Barrichello for the time and the memories. Follow him on twitter (and cheer him on too) @rubarrichello
Also huge thanks to Tony Di Zinno for the portrait pictures. Check his site. www.dizinno.co.uk
And thanks to The Cahier Archive