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Prolongation of Barrichello contract 'a formality', says Williams

Williams star Rubens Barrichello will reach a landmark of 300 grand prix starts later this season, but all the signs suggest the most experienced driver in F1 history will not be hanging up his helmet anytime soon...
It is little more than 'a formality' that the most experienced driver in F1 history – Rubens Barrichello – will remain on-board at Williams into an incredible 19th season of top flight competition in 2011, it has been revealed.

All being well, Barrichello will make his 300th grand prix start at Suzuka in Japan in October – having set out on his F1 adventure with Jordan all the way back in 1993 and achieved eleven career victories along the way.

The evergreen Brazilian recently confessed that whilst he does not yet have a deal in-place for next year, to leave Williams 'would be exactly the wrong thing' and as such he is not in any discussions with rival teams, despite the rich recent vein of form that saw the 38-year-old finish a superb fourth in Valencia and fifth at Silverstone – performances that have clearly been appreciated by his paymasters.

“Assume that Rubens is staying with us,” team co-founder Sir Frank Williams told German publication Auto Motor und Sport, whilst the Grove-based outfit's softly-spoken technical director Sam Michael added: “The extension should be as much a formality for Rubens as is his daily breakfast – he has demonstrated the importance in this business of experience.”

Indeed, it is Barrichello who has tallied 29 of Williams' 31 points to-date in F1 2010, leaving young rookie team-mate Nico Hülkenberg well-and-truly in the shade – with a seven-three qualifying advantage in the Paulista's favour to-boot – but both drivers look set to be retained for a second campaign alongside one another, and 'Rubinho' has only praise for the man dubbed in the paddock 'The Hulk'.

“Ninety per cent of the time we feel the same thing about the car,” he explained, “and the other ten per cent I can learn something from Nico.”

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