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.