Barrichello's name had been connected with race seats at Rahal Letterman Lanigan and Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports. But after RLL confirmed that they had signed Graham Rahal for 2013, and Schmidt-Hamilton turning to Firestone Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier for a test at Sebring International Raceway as a candidate for a possible second car alongside that of 2012 rookie of the year Simon Pagenaud, it was apparent that Barrichello's options for staying in the US series were closing fast.
Barrichello moved to the IndyCar
Series after being ousted from his seat at Williams F1 at the end of 2011 following 19 seasons in Grand Prix racing, which included 11 race victories with Ferrari and Brawn GP.
Early speculation of a possible switch to IndyCar
had been dismissed as being unlikely and far-fetched, especially as Barrichello had reportedly promised his wife Silvana that he would never risk high-speed racing on oval circuits. But the news was soon confirmed and he signed up to race with the KV Racing Technology team alongside Kanaan and third driver EJ Viso for the 2012 season.
Ironically the oval circuits ended up suiting Barrichello's driving style almost more than the tricky street and road courses on the IndyCar
calendar, and he chalked up 11th place in his first Indianapolis
500 outing and added a tenth and a seventh at Milwaukee and Iowa respectively. However his rest result of the year came at the permanent race track at Sonoma Raceway in Sears Point, California where he clinched fourth place, and followed it up with fifth at the next event Baltimore.
Overall it seemed that Barrichello was getting the hang of the IndyCar
Series, even though he only managed 12th place in his first year in the championship with KV Racing Technology. But a lack of sponsorship, and also his own and his family's desire to return home to their native Sao Paulo, means that he won't be able to take the lessons from that first season and put them to work in 2013.
Since the end of the IndyCar
season in September, Barrichello has been a guest driver in the Brazilian Stock Car V8 series. He initially drove to raise funds for the children's charity that he and Tony Kanaan run in Brazil, but his successful outings generated sufficient interest among fans and potential sponsors to enable a proper full-season campaign in 2013, and with no comparable deals shaping up to keep him in IndyCar
he's finally made the call to switch.
The Brazilian Stock Car championship usually starts in March with a round at Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo, and concludes with a return to the same venue in December. Other drivers in the series include former F1 stars Ricardo Zonta and Antonio Pizzonia, and former IndyCar
stalwart Vitor Meira.
A conflict with the fourth round of the stock car season would prevent Barrichello from competing in the 2013 Indianapolis
500 even if he wished to do so, but there's still a possibility that be could be a guest driver at the IndyCar
round held in Sao Paulo at the start of May should a sponsor and team step forward to facilitate it.