Rubens Barrichello has revealed that Mark Webber and Jenson Button gave him some playful advice before his S5000 drive, which attracted interest in his home country.
Barrichello gave the fledgling open wheeler category a mainstream lure and even appeared on an AFL Finals Series telecast that weekend.
However, it also drew the attention of his former team-mates and rivals in Formula 1.
“I spoke to Webber, I spoke to Button, they all knew that I was coming here and it was funny,” Barrichello told Speedcafe.com.
When asked if they had any ‘cheeky’ advice for him, the 11-time grand prix winner said, “They always do, but I give it to them as well, so it’s nice.”
Barrichello last raced in F1 in 2011 before a year in the IndyCar Series and while the latter is a popular home for Brazilians, the former has been bereft of any of his compatriots since Felipe Massa departed Williams at the end of 2017.
The 47-year-old believes that was a factor in a significant number of viewers logging on to watch S5000 from his home country.
“There is a good feeling around, I think people are watching,” he added.
“It’s amazing that I think it was 2000 people watching the race on the internet in Brazil at 2:00 am, so it’s got to be appealing for some of…
“It’s also the fact that we don’t have a Brazilian Formula 1 driver at the moment, so I think people are just in search for Brazilians and racing in a good series.”
Barrichello himself also found the outing a thrill despite being far from the profile of racing in which he used to compete on the world stage.
“I have the feeling of racing for such a long time. I heard people saying when it was my last year in F1, ‘Rubens, you don’t need to be here anymore because you’ve already proven yourself in it,’” he recounted.
“And I did answer, I said, ‘Look, I’m not here to prove myself. I’m here to have fun and to enjoy the fact that I love driving.’
“And this is just an example, in a different country, in a different series.
“I’m not younger anymore and I’m still enjoying so much. I love this.”
Barrichello has twin setbacks in the two S5000 qualifying heats at Sandown before finishing second in a shortened Feature Race.
The series returns at The Bend Motorsport Park on November 15-17.