Rubens Barrichello has suggested that a 'culture difference' and language barrier were the key elements separating Honda from success in Formula 1 in recent years – as he revealed his hopes that Brawn GP will turn out to be something of a hybrid of what he found at Ferrari and Stewart Grand Prix.
Honda was saved from F1 extinction by the recent management buy-out led by Ross Brawn, following the Japanese manufacturer's announcement back in December that it was withdrawing its official support with immediate effect.
The take-over not only rescued the 750-strong Brackley-based operation from collapse, but it also arguably prevented Barrichello's record-breaking career in the top flight from coming to an end, with Brawn – with whom the experienced Brazilian has worked closely at Ferrari and subsequently Honda for many years – electing to retain the 36-year-old in preference to taking a punt on 2008 GP2 Series runner-up Bruno Senna.
What's more, with the new, Mercedes-powered BGP001 having lapped impressively quickly and consistently in the hands of both Barrichello and team-mate Jenson Button during the major group test at Barcelona this week, the former is hopeful that his Indian summer may yet prove to be a highly successful one.
“Honda did brilliantly,” he told British newspaper The Independent
, “and I am sorry to see them go, but you have to say there is always a culture difference and a difficulty in the language, so it was tough.
“All I have wanted to see at the team is what I found at Ferrari; they were really good at winning together and losing together. The team is quite small now, so it could be like that – that is what I am looking forward to working on, and I am sure Ross is in the same boat. That is what makes a competitive Formula 1 team.
“Are we going to be like a small Stewart family? It might be – a smaller team working together, not going through too many people to get an answer. It might work in our favour.”
The nine-time grand prix-winner also told Spanish newspaper El Mundo
that he is sure F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is 'not sorry to see Rubens [at Brawn GP] and not Bruno', despite the Formula One Management chief executive having lobbied hard to secure Senna an break in the top flight and offered to aid the management buy-out financially should the young Brazilian have been signed up to the second seat.
“The silly thing is we have got Bruno wanting to drive,” the 78-year-old had said. “It would be fantastic for everybody to have the name Senna back in Formula 1.”