Rubens Barrichello is not yet writing off his F1 career. However the veteran Brazilian, who has lost his Williams race seat on the eve of his 20th consecutive season, has admitted he might emerge on the 2012 Indycar grid.
Regarding F1, he told Brazil’s Jornal Nacional: “If it happens, it will be a great thing. If not, I had the feeling for nineteen years. If you’re asking ‘Do I want it to happen” then I do! Because it was always my life.
“So Formula One is still open.”
More likely is a switch to America’s premier open wheel series Indycar, with his countryman Tony Kanaan lining up a test this week at Sebring.
“I have no contract with anybody so there’s nothing stopping me doing it,” Barrichello, 39, told the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper. “I’m doing it with my mind wide open. If I can get the passion with that car that I have always had when I am driving, then why not? I love racing.”
He revealed that the owners of the KV team will be at the Sebring test, “which is not normal”. But is he forgetting his promise to his wife Silvana, that he will not race on America’s dangerous ovals?
“It’s true and it’s an important issue to be resolved,” said Barrichello. “But before I think about it, first I have to know the car. There is always the possibility of running the season but not the ones on the ovals.”
If it was up to his young sons, Barrichello said he would sign an Indycar contract straight away.
“They are jumping for joy at the idea of seeing their father keep racing,” he smiled. “If it was just about them then I would be there.”
At the same time, it is obvious F1 remains Barrichello’s first choice.
“The dream of competing in my twentieth season is still very much alive. You never know,” he insisted. “Sometimes things change for all sorts of reasons and someone calls up your speed and experience. Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher came back, so there’s no reason I could not as well.
“The reason I am not staying with Williams is not about the driving. Frank called me personally and began by saying they had decided to sign another driver.
“It is known that Williams is having difficulties with their budget and they had to choose an option more in line with their needs. That’s understandable.
“Bruno called me and he was almost upset so I told him to stop it, we’re friends. I wished him all the best. I said that my dispute was with Williams, not with him.
“Let’s see how they (Senna and Pastor Maldonado) go with the problem of being inexperienced and developing the car, but in his favour the engineers have told me they will have a better car than I had last year. If they have the money, Williams can develop.”