2 March 2012
Barrichello eager for ovals challenge
Rubens Barrichello admits that racing on ovals will be a totally new experience for him - and that he can't wait, now that he's won his wife over to the idea.
When Rubens Barrichello's name was first linked with a switch to IndyCar racing after his exit from Williams F1, the biggest problem appeared to be the prospect of racing on ovals. He'd never done it before, and it was widely reported that he'd promised his wife that he would never even consider it.
"What happened was that one day we were watching an oval race, and there was a crash, and she looked at me and said, 'You're never going to do this, are you?'" said Rubens about his wife Silvana's concerns over the issue.
"I said: 'Well, I don't plan to, because I hope that I'll be racing F1 forever, like 25 years, and then I'll probably stop,'" Rubens told reporters after Thursday's announcement that he was moving to the land of the big round ovals after all in 2012.
So how did he get around the tricky issue and get his wife's blessing for his new American adventure with KV Racing Technology?
"My kids helped big time," admitted Barrichello. "I briefed the boys, and then we went to mom, and Eduardo asked her if it was true that she didn't want me to race on oval. And she said, well, I would rather have him racing on just normal circuits. Then we had like a quorum that we said - all three of us at the same time - 'Luckily mom doesn't tell us what to do!' It was kind of funny.
"But she was fine," insisted Barrichello. "She knows I'm so happy. She can see in my eyes how much I'm happy, so she's happy for me."
For his own part, ovals were never so much an obstacle to a switch to IndyCar as they were a big part of the personal appeal to him: "I can't wait to get my car to the ovals and see what it is," he said.
"In the back of my mind, I always wanted to know what is the experience, I mean, what goes through the mind of the driver at such a speed," he admitted. "More and more drivers are going to US instead of going into Europe because they want to do ovals and racing at IndyCar," he pointed out.
He added that he was no stranger to the lure of the Indianapolis 500. "I've been there. '93, my first year in F1, I actually went to see and to watch the Indy 500," he said. "I had the possibility to race F1 in Indianapolis, but it was not even close to what it is for the Indy 500. 60,000 people when we had F1, and 600,000 people when the IndyCars are going around."
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