Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he has made his peace with Brawn GP in the wake of his explosive post-race outburst at the Nürburgring a fortnight ago – and also admitted that for the first time, he is considering hanging up his F1 helmet at the end of the year.
Having led the opening 15 laps of the German Grand Prix, the veteran Brazilian – the most experienced driver in the top flight's official 60-year history, with no fewer than 276 starts under his belt – ultimately came home just sixth following a fuel rig failure during his second pit-stop.
Afterwards, he vented his anger on live television, accusing his team of having 'made him lose the race' [see separate story – click here
], a situation that brought back uncomfortable memories of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona nine weeks earlier. On that occasion, some within the paddock – Barrichello amongst them – were left wondering whether the ex-Honda F1 outfit had deliberately neglected to change the São Paulista's strategy to ensure that team-mate Jenson Button beat him to the chequered flag, with suggestions that whilst both drivers are being treated equally, one is being treated rather more equally than the other.
Two weeks on, though, and following talks with team principal Ross Brawn, the stormy waters appear to have calmed somewhat – and to underline the rapprochement
, Barrichello even sported a 'Mr. Happy' T-shirt to Thursday's team briefing at the Hungaroring to re-affirm that he is now 'over it'. The 37-year-old also confessed to having e-mailed every member of the Brackley-based organisation, and that they had all 'accepted it well'.
“You get out of the car and sometimes there is trouble,” he is quoted as having said by GP Update
. “For me, it was more the trouble of having led for the first 15 laps and then finishing sixth; it was very frustrating. I've said what I said, I talked to the team, I talked to Ross and I left the circuit with my head up.
“I spoke to Ross [again] on Tuesday; it was a nice conversation. He said he had heard things he didn't like, but he told me we had a new update coming for this race and he wanted me to be perfectly straight to deliver my very best. I sent a personal e-mail to everyone in the team saying I had no problems with any of them; there was a rig problem and it could have happened to anyone. The team reacted very well – they know me and they know that if I have a problem with someone I get straight to the point. It was purely the frustration of getting out of the car and not finishing where I could have.”
Barrichello added that he is now convinced there is no favouritism at Brawn, that parity of opportunity within the team is of paramount importance and that he is very much still in the title battle, despite being 24 points behind Button in the standings with only 80 remaining up for grabs. Whilst the British star has triumphed six times this year so far, the driver of the sister BGP 001 has yet to do so at all.
“I have to,” he fired straight back, when asked by British newspaper The Independent
if he still sees himself as a contender for the crown. “I'm here for the love of the sport more than anything else. You ask me why I haven't won yet? It's not like I don't care. I'm a better driver with all the problems.
“I have to go for the next one (the Hungarian Grand Prix). I cannot put pressure on myself, but things could be brighter, so I'll keep on smiling and pushing. This weekend can be quite good, so I'm definitely not putting any of the problems of the last race into this one.