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Barrichello set to confirm Indy exit

12 December 2012

Former F1 driver Rubens Barrichello is said to be on the verge of confirming that he will not be returning to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2013 for a second season of competition.

Multiple media sources say that he has all-but signed a deal to compete full time in the Brazilian Stock Cars championship next year, after a successful limited outing in the series since the end of the IndyCar season.

Barrichello himself initially refuted Brazilian media stories that he had actually signed a full-season deal with the Medley Full Time Sports Peugeot team, and has subsequently declined to comment on stories regarding his future plans.

"I'm torn between Indy and stock car," he said at the weekend. "I'd like to put into practice what I've learned [in my rookie season]," he added. The 19-season F1 veteran's best result to date in IndyCar was a fourth-place finish at Sonoma.

Barrichello had posted a video clip showing a young boy - presumed to be his son Eduardo - sitting in the race seat of a Brazilian stock car, which Barrichello captioned with: "I guess someone is happy for me to stay racing here in Brazil."

"It may be nearing the time to go home, for my children," Barrichello told the media at the weekend. "Anyway, I'm in a good situation, because I am able to choose as far as how I work," he said.

Barrichello is believed to have wanted to stay in IndyCar for a sophomore season after a rookie year alongside his best friend Tony Kanaan at KV Racing Technology, but he had been thwarted by being unable to find sponsorship backing to make it happen.

Barrichello's name had been connected with race seats at Rahal Letterman Lanigan and Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports. But with RLL confirming that they had signed Graham Rahal for 2013, and Schmidt-Hamilton set to test Firestone Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier this week at Sebring International Raceway, it seems that the options are closing fast for the F1 veteran.

“For two months I've been talking to people and trying very hard," Barrichello told SPEED.com last week. "But it hasn't moved much since the last race in Fontana. The world is going through a financial crisis and it isn't happening, quite honestly. I'm not sure what else to do. I've offered so much, but I still have to find money to race in IndyCar."

"Right now people aren't giving him many options,” lamented Tony Kanaan of Barrichello's prospects of staying in IndyCar. "They're asking him for money to keep racing in IndyCar, and he doesn't have all the sponsors. I know his heart is still in IndyCar, but he's not going to sit and wait.

"It's a shame, but it's the reality of racing right now. It's really sad. He has to look out for his own interest," Kanaan conceded.

If Barrichello does sign up for a full season in Brazilian Stock Cars he could still theoretically do a one-off guest appearance in IndyCar at next May's race on the streets of Sao Paulo, but a second Indianapolis 500 outing would be ruled out by a conflict with the fourth round of the stock car season.

Barrichello is said to be on the verge of revealing his plans in the next few days. "I think we will make an announcement soon," he told the Brazilian media at the weekend.


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