Rubens Barrichello believes his Williams FW32 is a dark horse for success in 2010.
Talking to reporters after today’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya he said:
The main topic of the first three tests, at Valencia and Jerez, was to absolutely nail reliability. And we have done that very, very well.
We knew we would have a different car here, the bits are not fully on the car just yet, so there’ll be bits coming for Bahrain just like normal. But I’m quite happy with the progress we have made.
We have improved a good second from Valencia. I think Williams-Cosworth can be one of the teams to surprise this year.
But he also cautioned against reading too much into testing times:
Nico’s time yesterday was the very first time we tried low fuel in the car and for the very first time we surprised a few people. So all of a sudden Williams is being talked about in the paddock.
But like I said this winter it is very easy to become the hero of the test. If I took fuel out every test I would have been first in every test. At Bahrain we’ll talk again but it’s really hard to know where people are.
I have no prediction for who’s going to win in Bahrain because I just don’t have an idea. You see Ferrari is going fast but everyone is very, very close. So I think it’s going to be nice because nobody can say “yes, I have a competitive car.”
Along with Michael Schumacher, Barrichello is one of only two drivers to have raced in F1 before refuelling was made legal in 1994. But he doesn’t expect that will give him an advantage this year:
I don’t think so. I think that cars were very different [in 1993].
Even though we consider this year that we hve to look after the tyres, in Formula 1 nowadays conserving the tyres is out of the question, you want to go flat out. Testing has been quite intense to try to go flat out all the way though. In ’93 we were looking after tyres, it was different. I think although it’s only February it’s intense – we’ve been doing 500km, 600km, 700km per day which is not normal.
So I would say it’s different times, the young kids have learned very fast what they need, they’ve been doing starts on high fuel, so I won’t have an advantage at the first race.
He also praised the work done by Cosworth on the new CA2010 engine Williams will use this year:
The Cosworth is working very well. You can see we have put lots of miles on engines this winter and we congratulate them for what they have done so far because we’ve done a lot of exercises with the engine, they cured one of the problems we had at the very first test in Valencia so we were happy in Jerez with the power.
Obviously it’s a new engine so drive-ability and some small issues need to be recovered and that’s what we’re testing. But I’m quite confident that we as Williams-Cosworth are bonding and I think we can have a good championship.