MARCH 20, 2002
Barrichello tries the F2002
TWO races into the 2002 season and Rubens Barrichello of Ferrari had not tried the new car. On Tuesday in Barcelona the Brazilian finally had his first chance to run the F2002. The development of the new machine has been delayed by technical problems and fears that the machine would not be sufficiently reliable to be raced. The team is expected to continue to use the F2001 until the start of the European season in three weeks from now and may go on using the F2001 as long it remains competitive. In Malaysia the Michelin-tired Williams team was the dominant force and there was not much that the Ferrari team could do to stop victory for Ralf Schumacher. Admittedly, Michael Schumacher was seriously delayed as a result of his clash with Juan Pablo Montoya at the start but at the same time Montoya was not able to give his best as a result so we have yet to see the two men going head-to-head. For the moment at least the balance of power seems to be decided upon whether or not the tires are working well or not: Bridgestone dominated in Australia, Michelin in Malaysia. A year ago Michelin was the dominant force in Brazil and so if that trend is repeated this year Ferrari could get back to Europe trailing Williams considerably in the Constructors' title. At the moment the score is 22 points to Williams and 14 to Ferrari, with McLaren trailing badly with only four points to date. In the Drivers' title Michael Schumacher remains ahead as he has scored all 14 of Ferrari's points while Barrichello has retired from both races. Montoya has collected 12 points for BMW Williams and Ralf Schumacher picked up the other 10 with his victory at Sepang. If Williams were to repeat the performance in Brazil it would come to Europe with 38 points and Ferrari would have a maximum of 21.
Thus it is fair to say that the pressure in beginning to build on Ferrari to get the F2002 sorted out as quickly as possible.