Rubens Barrichello 'will be the man to put Williams back on the top step of the podium' in F1, contends Mark Gallagher – with Cosworth's head of operations effusive about the benefits the experienced Brazilian brings and confident that the package can deliver results, and even victory, in 2010.
Cosworth has returned to the fray in the top flight this season for the first time since 2006, and in addition to its roster of the three new teams Lotus, Virgin and Hispania (HRT), the esteemed British engineering firm has also renewed its acquaintance with Williams, having last worked with the Grove-based outfit three four years ago.
Thus far, the relationship has yielded just eight points – seven for Barrichello and one for young rookie team-mate Nico Hülkenberg – but Gallagher is adamant that working with Williams again is worth its weight in gold, and that it will
“It's helpful in so many ways, including the fact that Williams after 33 years in F1 and as a multiple world championship-winning team know all the attributes that they need to be successful and also the attributes that they want from their engine-supplier,” he told Crash.net Radio
. “We took Williams on recognising they would be a highly demanding customer and certainly that has been the case, because we want to push ourselves hard, we want to push our teams hard and frankly, we want to win grands prix as soon as possible in this new era of Cosworth being back in F1.
“Partnering with Williams – and then particularly having a driver of the vast experience of Rubens and the combination of his huge experience and his speed, alongside a young charger like Nico – means that for the whole Williams-Cosworth package we've set our sights high and we're obviously working extremely hard on that.
“From a Williams-Cosworth perspective, we want to win, so these first few races have been disappointing for us, and the feedback we have had from Williams is that they need Cosworth to work tirelessly to optimise performance. Rubens has given us feedback on how our engine compares to the Mercedes-Benz that he drove last year, the Honda he drove the year before and even the Toyota that he drove in the back of the Williams at the end of last year when he did an event for them down in Qatar.
“Having his feedback is extremely useful, because we know where our engine is very strong and we also know where our engine could be improved – particularly in relation to mapping and driveability – and that's something we're working hard on, because when a driver like Rubens tells you what he needs, you want to try and set out and achieve that.
“We're certainly not sitting on our hands, and I don't suspect for Williams or even for our other teams we'll ever have the opportunity to sit on our hands, because even with the engine freeze, an engine manufacturer is always going to be fine-tuning and refining and improving in every area since that's just the name of the game. It's a relentless battle.”
That battle, Gallagher acknowledges, has been infinitely facilitated this year by the new low-cost era that has been ushered into F1, something that the Irishman describes as 'a good thing' for the sport – and one that could, just could, prove to be the catalyst for the first Williams triumph at the highest level since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, and Cosworth's first since Giancarlo Fisichella's unexpected success for Jordan Grand Prix also at Interlagos the previous season.