Peter Windsor has suggested that currently out-of-work grand prix veteran Rubens Barrichello could be a 'very useful' asset to USF1 in its first year of competition in 2010 – but claimed the Brazilian's ex-Honda team-mate Jenson Button would be 'difficult' to work with in a new team environment.
Though he has previously hinted that the nascent, North Carolina-based operation is ideally looking for two American drivers to fill its seats [see separate story – click here
], former Williams and Ferrari team manager Windsor has also admitted that he is also considering a line-up comprised of a home-grown talent together with an experienced F1 ace.
Such an approach would undoubtedly help in terms of getting the team into the pace more rapidly and progressing up the grid – and Barrichello, Windsor contends, could be just the candidate. With 267 starts under his belt, the 36-year-old is the most seasoned competitor in the official history of the Formula 1 World Championship.
“In year one, certainly there is an argument for having an experienced F1 driver in the car,” the Australian-raised Englishman is quoted as having said by Auto Evolution
. “We're going to need to get all the information we can as quickly as possible, particularly in an era when they're cutting right back on the amount of testing you can do. There's definitely an argument for that, and then maybe having a young American in the other car.
“In Rubens Barrichello's case, he would be good, because he's known two bad years at Honda and that would be a very useful baseline for our operation – but he's almost unique of the drivers out there who would potentially fill the role of the experienced driver.”
Windsor was less complimentary, however, about the ability or willingness of countryman Button to help an outfit such as USF1, arguing that the former Hungarian Grand Prix winner would be uninterested in giving his all when his personal reward is likely to fall significantly short of points finishes – a situation the Frome-born star has been familiar with for the majority of the past two seasons.
“You can't imagine Jenson Button in a start-up team,” the 56-year-old contended, “driving at 100 per cent knowing that the best he's going to qualify is 14th – which would be good for us – and finishing maybe tenth on a good day. Jenson would want more than that, and it would be very difficult working with somebody like that.”
Barrichello is expected to be retained alongside Button at the soon-to-be re-named Honda concern in F1 in 2009, in preference to young compatriot and GP2 Series graduate Bruno Senna.