Rubens Barrichello has been awarded $500,000 in damages by internet giant Google, after fake online profiles of the soon-to-be Williams F1 star were hosted on its social networking site Orkut.

According to APF, a civil case was heard in the 15th district court of S?o Paulo earlier this week into the fact that more than 300 fake profiles were posted on Orkut under Barrichello's name. Google was found to be at fault due to responsibility falling upon the service provider as the site's manager and rule-maker.

Google-owned Orkut is said to be extremely popular in Barrichello's homeland, and the complaint was lodged by the 37-year-old more than three years ago. That being the case, it is understood that the damages - already the greatest ever awarded in Brazil for the crimes of false web profiles and online libel - could yet climb as high as $700,000, and that a $590 daily penalty will apply until all the offending pages have been removed.

US-based Google has declined to comment on the verdict.