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Barrichello closer to Williams return?

Rubens Barrichello may have taken a significant step closer to retaining his Williams seat in 2012, according to reports.
Rubens Barrichello's dreams of a 20th season in motorsport's top flight may become a reality after the Brazilian's tenure at Williams appeared to improve with the dawn of the new year.

The veteran, who made his F1 debut with Jordan back in 1993, looked set to be overlooked by the Grove team as a number of well-heeled alternatives became available in the final six weeks of 2011, but is reported to have strengthened his bargaining position after finding backers willing to support his candidature for the seat alongside Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan was confirmed before the end of the 2011 campaign, thanks in no small part to funding from the national oil concern, but the second seat remains one of only two apparent vacancies, along with the slot alongside Pedro de la Rosa at HRT, for 2012.

Force India outcast Adrian Sutil and Barrichello's fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna, as well as former Toro Rosso pilots Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi and Vitantonio Liuzzi, have been mentioned in connection with the Williams opening, with both Sutil and Senna thought to be able to bring backing to the team. Both are reported to have made visits to the Grove factory, with Senna allegedly undergoing physical tests amid a tour of the facility, but Barrichello's determination to prolong his record-breaking career may yet force both to the sidelines.

According to the BBC, Barrichello believes that his experience would be a key asset to a team undergoing major technical upheaval over the winter, with former technical chief Patrick Head confirming his complete exit from the F1 operation in the past couple of days [see story here]. Mike Coughlan has already taken over from outgoing technical director Sam Michael, while there are also other new faces in the design and aero offices. On top of that, Williams reunites with former engine partner Renault after two seasons with Cosworth.

Barrichello's experience and development ability kept him onboard in 2011 when others were rumoured to be in line to partner Maldonado, although the year proved to be a frustrating one for all concerned as Williams slumped to ninth in the constructors' championship, just ahead of the three youngest outfits on the grid - Team Lotus, HRT and Marussia Virgin.

"With all the changes for next year on the engine side and engineers," he said at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, "it would be clever from the team to keep the drivers and keep on going. I'm not pushing them, I'm just trying to show them that is the way to do it."

Ironically, Head's exit from the F1 operation may smooth the way for Barrichello to return, as the Briton was allegedly growing weary of the driver's reaction to the team's struggle for competitiveness, but it appears likely that no decision will be taken until the outcome of Williams' talks with potential sponsors in Qatar, which could influence - or free up - the choice.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
26.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA), HRT Formula One Team
24.11.2011- Jaime Alguersuari (SPA), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
24.11.2011- SŽbastien Buemi (SUI), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
25.11.2011- Friday Practice 1, Bruno Senna (BRA), Lotus Renault GP R31
12.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM04
Saturday Practice, Patrick Head(GBR) Williams and Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams, FW32
26.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33
26.11.2011- Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33 and his new helmet
26.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33
24.11.2011- Press conference, Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33 and Bruno Senna (BRA), Lotus Renault GP R31
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 with Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38

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Phil - Unregistered

January 03, 2012 9:53 AM

As long as they have Maldonado seating in one of those cars Williams have a problem. I would rather have Sutil or Senna in one of those seats bringing 1/3 of what Chavez pays them and Barrichello for the other seat and keep my dignity and willing to win again than showing to the world I need money from Venezuela to survive.



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