Rubens Barrichello has refused to weigh in on the discussion about whether Carlos Sainz is his modern-day successor as Ferrari’s ‘number 2’ driver.
The Brazilian was one of the sport’s longest-serving veterans with 11 career victories, but he is best remembered as the clear secondary driver during Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher era.
He thinks Charles Leclerc and Ferrari now stand a chance of dominating once again – even though Red Bull and Max Verstappen appear to be clearly in the lead at present.
“I would say yes,” Barrichello, 50, told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The team still has everything in its own hands. A few races ago they were still at the top of the championship, so I don’t see why that can’t happen again.
“You only have to blink a few times and the situation is reversed and there are still many races to go.”
He agrees that one of Ferrari’s biggest problems at present is engine reliability.
“Reliability will be the most important factors,” said Barrichello. “The past has already proven that.
“The key for the teams will be to do their homework and improve the car well. Red Bull looks really fast and they seem to have reliability too, and you need both to win the title.”
As for the debate about whether Spaniard Sainz is a real or merely de-facto ‘number 2’ in a role that echoes his own past, Barrichello would not be drawn.
“I’ll just be targeted in Brazil because of what I say,” he insisted.
“All I can say about it is that Ferrari has two great drivers. The rest has to do with politics and I don’t care about that.”