Thursday May 31st, 2001
Rubens Barrichello is as fast as his Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher, but the three times world champion gets the best out of his car in difficult conditions, according to the Brazilian driver.
Barrichello, in his second season alongside Schumacher at the Italian team, firmly believes he can match the German driver in speed terms, and he hopes he can prove it now that he has extended his contract with the Maranello-based outfit until the end of 2002.
"I have no problem saying that Michael is better, but only when the car is difficult to drive," Barrichello told Motorsport News. "Then he knows how to get the best out of it. But I'll never do what Irvine did and say he's too strong. I'm convinced I'm no slower than Michael and I'm here to show that."
Following the Austrian Grand Prix, where Barrichello was ordered to let Schumacher take second place, the Brazilian was clearly unhappy with the team's decision, but now he has admitted he will respect the orders in the future.
"I will respect team orders," he added. "I've understood that Ferrari is still behind Michael for the championship, but I'm still motivated to show that I'm here too."
Barrichello is currently third in the Championship, 28 points behind Schumacher after the first seven Grands Prix of the season.