IndyCar - Barrichello/Kanaan Press Conference
Indianapolis, Mar. 2, 2012: Congratulations on today's announcement. What attracted you to the IZOD IndyCar Series and KV Racing Technology?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: Well, first of all, I just want to say that I'm over the moon. It's been a few ‑‑ we can say a month, actually, where I went in to test at Sebring, we had no expectations. It was just a test. I was invited by my brother Tony, and I got to the track and I got a fantastic reception. I felt really at home, and I started testing the car, felt good, as well, put good times, and from there on, I got the invitation from Jimmy and Kevin to be racing, to be part of the team.
And you know, I felt that I wanted to do it straightaway, but what it really invited me to do is ‑‑ I love what I do. I love the sport, and I love the speed, so myself behind the steering wheel, I just feel at home. And to be able to compete with Tony Kanaan, which is my brother from a long time, on a team that he already put it up to a different level last year, and with me coming and obviously with EJ as our teammate, I think we're going to be able to put the team to a different level again.
So I love the challenge, and I hope that that's what's going to happen.
Q. Tony. First, congratulations on returning to KV Racing Technology. Talk a little bit about returning to the team, and how difficult was it to convince your brother Rubens to join you at KV Racing?
TONY KANAAN: I'm extremely happy. I feel bad it looks like I left, but I would not let Kevin and Jimmy let me leave anyway, so I was living in the shop for the past month to make sure that they wouldn't let me go. It's a pleasure. I think we had an eventful year last year. I can't thanks those guys enough for nearly rescuing me five days before the first race. If it wasn't for Kevin and Jimmy and Mark and everybody's effort on their part to make me ‑‑ find me before the first race last year, this would never have happened.
We had a great year. I understand that it's probably not the year that we wanted to have, but it was a lot better than the way we started it. And to be honest, that leads to the next thing, which is now Rubens is here. We definitely got great results last year. We got a huge responsibility on our plate now, not just with me and with the results that we had last year; now Rubens has joined it, and EJ just renewed. EJ has been quite fast in testing. So I would say nowadays it's a big responsibility.
And my part on Rubens's deal, I think Kevin was talking to me, and Rubens, but I think I set them up pretty bad. You know, when Rubens ‑‑ I was with Rubens when they kind of gave him the phone call that his deal was not going to happen at Formula 1, and I said, hey, why don't you test my car to help me out. It's a new car. With your experience, I think it's going to be great to have your feet back, and I go to Kevin and Jimmy, and I said, Hey, he wants to race. He has a full sponsorship. He's ready to go. He just wants to give a couple laps in the car, and he'll make his decision.
So obviously we didn't have any cars, so we had my car, and I said, I'll step out of my car, no problem, which I regretted until today because it was supposed to be one day and it became four and a half. And then after the test, obviously Jimmy, with what I told him, and Kevin, as well, they go talk to Rubens. They said, Did you like it? Rubens says, yeah, I enjoyed it a lot.
KEVIN KALKHOVEN: Actually we want to thank to Rubens' kids.
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, exactly, with Fernando and Dudu. They said, oh, great. So now they're expecting Rubens to make his decision, and then Rubens says, yeah, yeah, let me think about it. Rubens asked, do you guys have a sponsorship. I said, no, I thought you had it. Then Jimmy kind of gave me a dirty look, and they realized it was a setup, but I think it was a good one. At the end of the day, we're all happy now.
Q. Jimmy, Kevin, Tony mentioned kind of setting him up. Did you guys know that ‑‑ did you feel like you got set up? Did you know it was coming when it became apparent Rubens wasn't going to go back to F1?
KEVIN KALKHOVEN: Actually it was funny, about five minutes ago Mark Johnson and I were just talking and saying before the first test, we said it's a 10 percent chance that Rubens would ever dream of driving this car.
After the first test, it became obvious that he was really interested, and that's when we went to work on his wife and kids. You know, we realize who the real decision makers in the family are. So we're delighted it's all worked out.
Q. Jimmy, just talk a little bit about adding Rubens to the lineup that had TK and EJ from last year.
JIMMY VASSER: It's awesome, absolutely awesome. The growth the team has had over the last few years, and culminating with this moment we're having here today, which is also a launch pad for our future and 2012 season, it's a great feeling. You know, it really puts more pressure on the team. Not that there isn't already enough built‑in pressure in motorsport, but to have a driver of Rubens' caliber, a solid team with EJ and Tony, and some new engineers that we have on board with fantastic ‑‑ in Eric Cowdin with fantastic history coming from Penske and race wins, really, it's the kind of added pressure you want to have in motorsport, and if you don't feel that naturally, then you're probably not a real racer.
While this is a great, great moment for us, and then the beginning of a great future, there is a lot of hard work to be done, and we're going to begin that next week, spring training, Sebring.
Q. And finally for Mark, the team is back to running three full‑time cars for 2012 after looking like having maybe fewer than three. Does this affect the team's preparation and next week's test at Sebring?
MARK JOHNSON: No, absolutely not. We've planned all along to run three cars for the season, and I'm reminded of it constantly with my buddy sitting to the right of me, Mr. Vasser, who I think his statement was we'll run three cars, come hell or high water. I didn't really know where he was figuring that out at, but he knew something I didn't apparently. I think he had an inside scoop on Rubens way before we did.
In the end, no, we've gone through the winter. We've prepared as we were going to run three cars, and we staffed as if we were going to run three cars, so frankly, we're right on our stride right now, and we'll have all three cars at Sebring next week ready to go.
Q. I know you haven't been in these cars, but you should have an advantage in car development. What you think you can bring to this team in that regard given the new DW 12?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: Well, I mean, I think it's the right time for me to come in, a new car, carbon brakes, which I've been using for my past 19 years, so I think everybody is going to be learning there with the new car all through the season, so it's a good time.
Obviously I think I don't start from the 00 because I have a lot of experience, and I think I can help the team, as was the first plan. When we went to Sebring, that was the first plan, and I think after 20 laps I was able to do competitive times, and we moved on, and I could help the team to evaluate bits, and we just carried on, and I think the team got better from that and that experience.
I think I can help, obviously. I mean, that's ‑‑ I love what I do. That's the most important thing. When you love what you do, you want to search for new things, you have an open mind, and you can do good things. So I look forward to working with the team, on a very intense level, and hopefully my experience will help everybody conquer better, and we can move to a different level.
Q. When Nigel Mansell came over here after winning the Formula 1 championship he was 40 years old, never been on an oval, crashed in a big test at Phoenix and went on to win five oval races in the next two years. Can you kind of set the record straight on there's all this talk about you promised your wife you wouldn't run an oval and, blah blah, blah. Can you tell us what really happened and what you've told her about ‑‑ what lies you've told her about how easy ovals are, please?
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: Well, to be very honest to you, what happened was that one day we were watching an oval race, and there was a crash, and she looked at me and said, "You're never going to do this, are you?" I said, "Well, I don't plan to, because I hope that I'll be racing Formula 1 forever, like 25 years, and then I'll probably stop."
But whenever we were talking about Indy, in the back of my mind, I always wanted to know what is the experience, I mean, what goes through the mind of the driver at such a speed.
With all my experience, I have no idea how to set up a car on an oval. But I had on Tony ‑‑ Tony always told me what is this, what is that, and how did I actually went through my wife's thing is that my kids helped big time. They went to see daddy racing on the oval, and we had fun together the one day when ‑‑ it was a setup. I briefed the boys, and then we went to mom and said, Eduardo asked her if it was true that she didn't want me to race on oval, and she said, well, I would rather have him racing on just normal circuits, and then we had ‑‑ like a quorum that we said all three of us at the same time, "Luckily mom doesn't tell us what to do." It was kind of funny.
But she was fine. She knows I'm so happy. She can see in my eyes how much I'm happy, so she's happy for me.