The final pieces of the puzzle surrounding Rubens Barrichello's move to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series seem to have been falling into place over the last 48 hours, with the latest news being a report in the Brazilian press about Barrichello's likely financial backers for the switch.

According to one of the country's biggest newspapers, the Estado de S. Paulo, Barrichello will be sponsored at KV Racing Technology by heavy construction equipment rental company Brasil Maquinas to a reported amount of nearly $3m.

The company is said to have previously been negotiating with the Williams F1 team over the winter and had been willing to pay an even greater amount to keep Barrichello in his Grand Prix seat, until the team finally decided to go with Bruno Senna instead. Brasil Maquinas already sponsor a local stock car team.

If the reports are correct, then lining up the sponsorship backing is the last major obstacle that needed to be overcome in the process of formally signing Barrichello to a year in US open wheel racing.

This would appear to be supported by the announcement on Monday that the team had finally re-signed driver EJ Viso to return to the team in 2012. Viso has already been working with the team at test sessions developing their new DW12 Dallara-Chevrolet, so the signing was entirely expected.

However the final confirmation of Viso's contract was believed to be being held up to give KV Racing flexibility while it organised the rest of its sponsorship for the year. KV had to determine whether it could find the money for a three-car line-up that would allow them to retain Viso, or whether a two-car team putting Barrichello alongside just Tony Kanaan was the most viable option.

Monday's press release confirming Viso appears to answer that question, and meanwhile KV Racing also revealed via Twitter that it had cancelled a previously-planned test session at Barber Motorsports Park for later this week. Multiple reports suggest that this is to allow key team management and personnel to travel to Brazil for a press conference being planned on Thursday, March 1.

While there is no official word as to what any such press conference would be about, it's hardly credible that KV Racing is interrupting its valuable pre-season track time merely to give another 'wait and see' treading-water statement. Equally KV is unlikely to be jetting everyone down to Brazil to give an anti-climactic announcement that Barrichello has after all decided against a move to IndyCar, after 19 years in F1 competition that includes 322 starts and 11 Grand Prix victories. So what else could an announcement be about?

In the meantime, KV Racing team co-owner Jimmy Vasser is said to be currently unavailable to return phone calls, and Tony Kanaan was also not responding to texts from the media.

While several established stars of Indy and Champ Car competition in the US such as Juan Pablo Montoya, Sebastien Bourdais and Jacques Villeneuve have gone on to make their names in F1 in later years, Barrichello's likely imminent move in the other direction is probably the biggest driver signing for IndyCar since Nigel Mansell headed to the series in 1993. It should prove a vital fillip to the series which had such a traumatic end to the 2011 season.

The existing IndyCar field is certainly looking forward to the opportunity to compete against Barrichello if it all falls into place. "I think it would be great to have Rubens in the series," said Team Penske's Will Power, who finished as runner-up in the 2011 championship. "I think all of the drivers feel the same."

"Rubens coming into the series would be all positive," was reigning champion Dario Franchitti's view, who has known Barrichello since they competed together in junior world karting in 1987. "He'd be great for the series. He brings that international recognition as well ... He ups the level of competition in the field yet again."

Helio Castroneves has known Barrichello almost as long as Franchitti has. "I only raced with him once in karts in 1988," he said. "His passion is what stood out to me then, even when he didn't have the best equipment in F1."

Obviously Tony Kanaan is the man most in favour of Barrichello switching to IndyCar, having lured his close friend over to the States in the first place with the offer of a taste of the new DW12 car the minute the news broke that Barrichello had lost his F1 seat. That first outing just under a month ago turned into an instant addiction, and Kanaan couldn't be happier.

"I think he would help me to step things up and take things to the next level," he said, quite apart from the personal side of wanting his best friend alongside him in the team. "It would be nice to get new feedback, new impressions and what can be done better."

Of course, as happy as Power, Franchitti, Castroneves and even Kanaan are at the prospect of Rubens Barrichello joining the IndyCar Series, they don't want him to be so good right out of the box that they all end up staring at his rear wing for large stretches of 2012.


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