FEBRUARY 1, 2011
Barrichello unconcerned by Williams opening day
Williams ran its FW33 for the first time in Valencia today, losing much of the morning session to a KERS problem but satisfied with the day overall, with times considered meaningless.
"We learned a lot," said Rubens Barrichello who, incredibly, heads into his 19th season of F1. "It's a different car and needs a different set-up and a lot of understanding. Today, basically, they just sent me out to make mileage and the balance of the car wasn't good. It's going to be difficult to have a car that feels good on the amount of fuel we were running. Basically there's more than three seconds from empty tanks to what we ran. I don't think we can compare ourselves to the fastest times because, just like last year, you can be a hero or a zero really easily.
"Having said that, I just have to work on my balance and see what it brings. The only real negative was that we couldn't just concentrate on driving -- there's just too many buttons, too many things to do! It's just not enjoyable - pressing buttons, changing gear, pressing and holding."
Barrichello admitted that, initially, it was hard for him to talk himself into trusting the moveable rear wing.
"It was definitely a concern at the beginning..." he smiled. "Sam Michael (Williams technical director) took me over to the video camera and showed me how quick it was. And I saw a video on the internet from Sauber. It does appear to be coming off okay. At one point you just have to let go and believe everything is fine!"
Barrichello, F1's most experienced driver of course, appeared to have some concerns about F1's new control Pirellis but, as Pirelli competitions boss Paul Hembery explained, temperatures at Valencia were much cooler than typical at a grand prix.
"I ran most of the time on the medium tyre today," Rubens explained. "We need to speak to Pirelli but for me it looks like the tyre is far too stiff for here, far too hard, just the same as Abu Dhabi. I was sliding too much. The soft tyre seems to be fine."
Despite first day trials and tribulations, Barrichello is convinced that Williams is much better positioned than it was this time last year.
"The structure is a hell of a lot better and they've done a good job," he states. "The back end of the car is beautiful, fantastically done. Right now, if you just look at the times you say wow, this is too bad, but I'm not concerned. Williams has done a better job than last year, are better prepared and like any team at the first test it's always hectic. You don't have the problems of the previous year but new ones always appear!"