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Despite having finished second at Sepang twice, Rubens Barrichello's concern going into the 2007 race is whether he can even make it to the finish, far less the points.
The Japanese team is having a torrid time in Malaysia, with Barrichello, in particular, suffering the ill effects of the RA107.
It is a fact of life that as he approaches his thirty-fifth birthday, the Brazilian is approaching the end of his F1 career. And while his days as a championship contender are over, he would surely hate to think that after nine Grands Prix wins his remaining time in F1 is to be spent struggling to get his car into the second phase of qualifying.
The RA107 is a bitch of a car, and Honda's season is already falling apart at the seams. The reasons are manifold, and our very own 'Helios' was the first to point out that the much-publicized Sepang upgrade wasn't going to be enough, not by a long way.
However, as the media, and F1 insiders, speculate as to what is going to happen next, and how the powers that be back in Japan will react, Barrichello has called for calm
"Everyone needs to calm down," he told reporters today, having qualified nineteenth, his lowest grid placing since Canada 2005. "We need to go back to Europe, sit down and check things out. We have tried a lot of things but not one thing seems to be working."
"The qualifying was not right," he admitted, a masterpiece of understatement. "We need to use the human side to sort things out. The car is bad, we can't do anything about that. In qualifying in Melbourne, the car was hitting the ground like never before and here in Sepang it was not set up for me. What can I do? I'm just like a passenger."
Much of the media attention, especially in the UK, is focussed on the trials and tribulations of Jenson Button, the driver who went to law to race for this team. However, one cannot help but feel that Rubens deserves better than this.
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