Rubens Barrichello has hit back at accusations that he has publicly criticised his employer Williams in recent weeks, insisting that he has 'never spoken ill of the team' and telling his detractors that 'my presence in the team in 2012 will be beneficial to everyone'.
Barrichello's future at Williams has been the topic of fevered speculation inside the F1 paddock for some time, and not only due to his age – he will turn 40 next May – nor even the fact that 2012 would mark his 20th consecutive campaign of top flight competition.
The Brazilian veteran has endured a torrid time of things this season, failing to make it through to the Q3 phase of qualifying at all in the opening eleven races and finding himself outpaced of late by young rookie team-mate Pastor Maldonado, as he himself has volunteered to test and evaluate new developments for the underperforming FW33 that more often than not have failed to result in any discernible progress.
Only last week, Barrichello asserted that he 'never wanted to be a test-driver' and that 'we are confused, the team is shrouded in uncertainty and it's an incredible situation' – going on to add that 'I don't know if I will continue next year in these conditions' [see separate story – click here
]. There have been, moreover, rumours that his seat could be under threat from either Adrian Sutil or former team-mate Nico Hülkenberg.
However, 'Rubinho' has now sought to clarify the reports, reflecting that whilst he is frustrated at the lack of improvements this year, he is eager to re-sign for the Grove-based outfit for next year – and that all he is waiting for is for Frank Williams to ask him, light-heartedly likening the scenario to a marriage proposal.
“I have never spoken ill of the team,” he stressed in an interview with Brazilian publication Globo Esporte
. “This has stemmed from the opinion of a German journalist who was mistranslated by the Italian press and then it's credited to me. My interest is just the opposite – to continue the work we have been doing.
“If Frank Williams wants to call my father to ask for my hand, he will give him the time, you can be sure. I believe that my presence in the team in 2012 will be beneficial to everyone. The team is in a phase of restructuring, and my experience can help in this process a lot.”