In his quest to hang on to his unprecedentedly-long F1 career, Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he is waiting for calls on five mobile phones this weekend at Interlagos.
There is a sense of sadness at the 2011 season finale that it could be the last for the 39-year-old Brazilian, whose long career spans an astonishing 37 per cent of F1’s entire world championship history since 1950. In what was potentially his last ever qualifying effort in an uncompetitive Williams, Barrichello was just two tenths shy of scraping into the top ten, while his teammate Pastor Maldonado failed to make it out of Q1.
“I have shown that I still have the speed, the experience and the motivation,” Auto Motor und Sport quotes him as saying. “I think that with Williams changing a lot for next season – new people, a new engine – at least the drivers should be consistent.”
As he juggles multiple mobile phones amid his firebombing of potential sponsors for 2011, it sounded like a sad plea, but Barrichello insists he is coping better than at the end of 2008, when Honda pulled out suddenly.
“This time it won’t be so long (to wait) because I’m been through it before; in the next few weeks I’ll be relaxed,” the Paulista insisted.
“I’ll just take my five phones everywhere and wait for the call. Everyone who is interested in me can reach me at any time.”
Earlier this week, his countryman Felipe Massa called on Barrichello to quit now, arguing the dishonour of a former grand prix winner having to become a ‘pay-driver’ in order to stay in F1.
“I know Felipe means well,” said Barrichello, “but I see nothing dishonourable in trying to find the money, and actually nobody has asked if I bring money or not. I don’t think it is the decisive factor.”