4 March 2012
Rubens compares F1 and IndyCar experience
"Just after the test, they took me to this stand where they put up questions, and I thought it was fantastic because that's what makes a good series," he continued. "You go there and you have your driver and you can wear his cap, and then you have a time to be with him."
Not that anyone could describe Barrichello as ever having been standoff-ish in his life, as his social media activity alone demonstrates.
"I have a great relationship to the fans," he agreed. "I have been very close to my fans all over the world. You can see from my Twitter, I'm so happy that I have almost 1.5 million followers. Obviously most of them are Brazilian, but I hope that America becomes quite big."
One thing that Barrichello wouldn't be drawn on was direct comparisons between IndyCar and F1 teams, however. "I have no intention of comparing teams and F1 to Indy. I think it would be unfair to. There are so many positives on both of them."
Barrichello has spoken before about his disappointment with the rather perfunctory way he was told by Sir Frank Williams that his F1 team was letting him go in favour of compatriot Bruno Senna just hours before Senna's signing was publicly announced. So it's hard not to read some comparison subtext into his praise he lavished on KV Racing for the way they'd welcomed him to the IndyCar paddock.
"The thing that I found about the team is that within one minute I felt at home," he said. "It was a big family. They work really well together. Good bunch of engineers and mechanics, all willing to help."
Probably the most significant difference for Rubens in IndyCar compared with the situation he's leaving behind him in F1 is that for the first time in several years he'll have genuinely competitive equipment at his disposal: potentially championship-winning calibre hardware, indeed.
"The last time I had a competitive car was with Brawn in '09 where I won races, and I'm really happy that I'm going to have a competitive car right now," he said. "Jimmy has already promised me a really good car, Kevin, as well, so I'm going to push with that good car," he added, referring to KV Racing's co-owners Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven.
He contrasted that to the uncertain situation in F1: "At first, everybody knew that I was fighting for a position at Williams, and we didn't know if the car was going to be good or not, but it was just the fact that I wanted to be racing. When I heard the news that I wasn't going to be there, of course I was disappointed with everything.
"All of a sudden I had the message that you want to do what you love," he continued, saying that all the changes in the series for 2012 will dramatically level the playing field to an extent unthinkable in F1. "The IndyCar, you have chances with the rules, you have the chances from cars being very much the same, and the driver can make a difference ... I think that's a good chance for myself after such a long time."
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