Rubens Barrichello is on record in the past as saying that he didn't see himself ever moving over to IndyCar and that he had promised his wife Silvana that he would never, ever race on ovals. But on Tuesday, the loudest sound in the paddock seemed to be Rubens hitting reverse gear on such previous statements.
"I did say that. It came out of my mouth," he admitted. "I never thought I could come over to this side because I thought I would race 25 years in F1 and I should be over and couldn't come this way."
As for the ovals: "There are so many different situations that I could run. I could run on the road tracks; I could run Indy," he added. "There are so many options available, and I'm thankful for the choices at age 39 and still going fast in the car."
But there's not going to be a quick decision either way, he stressed.
"We're going to go back to Brazil, the kids are going to go back to school, and I'm sure we'll be talking about it," he said. "I'm not putting pressure on it; I have to think it through."
Barrichello won't be able to delay the decision for too long, however: KV Racing are believed to be in advanced discussions with both their 2011 driver EJ Viso and also with Firestone Indy Lights' runner-up Esteban Guerrieri to race alongside Tony Kanaan in 2012. Team boss Jimmy Vasser has insisted that sponsorship for Barrichello is definitely available, which possibly signals the option for the team to extend to a four-car line-up if Rubens decides to sign on.
One person who dearly wants to see such a deal happen is IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. Not the sort of man who would normally be found attending a routine off-season testing session, he was in Florida bright and early on Monday specifically to meet Barrichello.
"That kind of credibility is exactly what calibre and level IndyCar needs to attract," Bernard told reporters. "I'm here just to support and make sure if Rubens has any questions for me," he continued, stressing: "I need to make sure I do what I can to help. That's all I am here for."
IndyCar is still getting over the loss of its former star driver Danica Patrick, who defected to NASCAR over the winter. But getting Barrichello on board would more than compensate for that: just going from social media statistics alone, Danica's 450k Twitter followers are a fraction of the 1.4m that Rubens enjoys.
Whether it happens or not, there was no disguising the enjoyment Barrichello was having at Sebring with his 'brother,' Tony Kanaan. "I woke up a few times before the alarm and wondered if I was on time, because I was excited to get behind the wheel!"