Mark Webber has called Rubens Barrichello 'one of the great heroes of Brazilian motorsport' ahead of a race weekend that could mark his swansong in Formula 1.
Although keen to extend his career into the 2012 season, Barrichello finds himself at risk of losing his drive with Williams, with the team having been widely linked with Kimi Raikkonen in recent months and the likes of Adrian Sutil also being mentioned as possibilities for the Grove-based outfit for the new season.
Writing in his column for the BBC
, Red Bull ace Webber admitted that Barrichello's career had been nothing short of amazing and insisted that he deserved a huge send-off if the Brazilian GP did prove to be his last,
“One of the great heroes of Brazilian motorsport is Rubens Barrichello,” he said. “He holds the record for competing in more grands prix than any driver in history, and he has done so much for our sport on and off the track. He has had an amazing career.
“Rubens went though a lot at Ferrari as Michael Schumacher's team-mate for six years and has seen so many rule changes, while amassing a wealth of experience. It takes a special guy to be able to compete at that level for that length of time. To have a career of that duration is impressive in anyone's book. He's nearly always got a smile on his face, too, which is great.
“Unfortunately, he is in a bit of a bizarre situation heading into this weekend, in that it could be his last race in F1 but no-one actually knows whether it will be. He says he's not treating it as a farewell. I'm hoping he's right because he's so well-liked that, if it is going to be his swansong, the fans - as well as all his competitors and friends - will want to be able to give him the great send-off he deserves.”