IZOD IndyCar Series: GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
Topics: GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
August 26, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with our interview with Rubens Barrichello, our fourth-place finisher today. Today's fourth-place finish is a career best in IndyCar. His previous best finish was seventh at Iowa.
Tell us about your day.
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: It was a good day. Obviously we had a car that was solid. I don't think we had the quickest car out there. We could see that on the restart with Dario and the two Penskes, because they opened up quite a big gap on us.
But it was solid. It was one day that the strategy didn't mean a lot. I was able to play basically the numbers that the team were telling me to play, consistently fast. I think that we deserved to be probably, in terms of speed, sixth or seventh. But I was lucky I got away on the first crash and overtook a few people.
My first top four in a track. I kept on saying I've been struggling with some of the tracks this year just because I haven't got the knowledge. When you go there, there are some red flags, so you don't have the flow.
I have tested here, although not last week. It was a good track. I think I could use a little bit more of my knowledge of the car to improve it. So it's a good result for a well-played day.
THE MODERATOR: What were your thoughts of the racing conditions out on the track today?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: It was a pretty fast race. With a fast race it meant that we were pulling some marbles on the track. I think the pace was getting better and better. The tires were holding up very, very well.
But as soon as you went offline a little bit, the cars were a bit shaky. Honestly, the only problem I had was in the middle of the race that I thought Ed Carpenter saw me coming, but he didn't. When he closed the door, we touched. Luckily my car was okay and I was able to continue. Apart from that it was trouble-free.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How much would you attribute your result today to the track familiarity you spoke of versus you getting the car closer to the setup you wanted?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: I think that it's more to the fact that it's more familiar with the track more than the car itself. I mean, on an Indy weekend, the car evolves a lot, the track evolves a lot, it changes a lot. When you start the race, at least this year, I didn't know if we made the good choices or not. By the end of the day, the track grips up, sometimes it doesn't. So it moves a lot.
But I still haven't got the balance that I wish to have. I think I had a good car today, solid, but there was a little bit of understeer. I was able to just push, push, push. But I think it's more to do with the fact that I knew the track a bit more.
Q. You're saying the familiarity helped you here. Does that make you look forward to next year?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: Yeah, I think you're quite right. I thought that I would get familiar quite easily with things. But it's quite a lot different, just the driving. Some of the tracks are very, very different from Europe.
If we had eight races, I said that before, on new tracks, then eight races again on those tracks, I think I would have done much better.
It's the way forward to come back next year. I think it can be just a better year just for the fact that you have (indiscernible) on it. I take my notes, my memory and everything.
Just the fact that you know where you're going to brake, take Baltimore, for example, I watched the race a couple times already, but it's the first time I go there. I don't know if it's slippery. I don't know how it is. So it's difficult.
Q. One of the things that was interesting was we had a significant wind change. When we started, it was going south. When you finished, it had totally changed. Did that change at all the way the car handled for you?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: I could feel that because I was hitting the limiter at the beginning of the race, but not at the end. The wind changed and I could see the effect of it.
I saw pretty much with the dust, because you have some dust here. You see where the wind is blowing. The wind changing helps some corners and it doesn't on some others. You just have to play with it.
But it was okay. It was okay finally.
Q. You've talked about looking forward to next year. You've talked about getting familiar with tracks this year. Assess a little bit more your season this year. Has it been what you expected? Are you a little frustrated? Are you about where you want to be?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: I didn't think I was going to come here and just all of a sudden win. I think there are plenty of really good drivers on a series that is very well competitive. It's amazing.
I thought we would have been a bit more competitive. Just looking for last year, what T.K. was able to do in terms of results, I thought it was okay.
I'm pretty satisfied with what I achieved in the ovals. That's first time. Every time I start on an oval, I can see the last 20 laps as a completely different race. So I'm pretty satisfied with that.
But I wasn't on the street courses, for example, in terms of results. In Europe, Monaco, for example, has been one of my strengths. It was good. It was so tough on me, Detroit. We had problems adapting the car. But not to be able to qualify, the car was sideways on the bumps.
I think the fact there is not a lot of tests on those tracks is tough on a rookie. You have to call me an 'old rookie' because it's just the way it goes. You just don't have the practice.
If you take the young kid which is very fast and bright, like Newgarden, he has done so many laps on Indy, so he has some knowledge of what to expect.
For me, it's been quite tough. I'm happy. I'm looking myself, when I go back and review, I gave my very best. But the results were quite poor.
Q. It seems like things are starting to come together a little bit more for you as far as your communication with the team. You said they had a good race call. You were more familiar with this track because you had done some testing. Are you more comfortable with the team, the communication? Is everything still kind of improving for you?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: Yes. This year, it was going to be like that. This strategy thing, this weekend for example, we spent more time on it. We talked more about it. I called for a change on all the strategy meetings. There was one for T.K. one for E.J., one for myself. We got everybody in the room and talked lively about it. There were more ideas. It's a different altogether series. Strategy plays a big, big thing on how the end result will be.
It's getting more familiar. But every time, you know, you change the track, you know, you get new numbers, it's a totally new thing. But I'm getting there.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much.
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: Thank you.
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