Rubens Barrichello has revealed he is working overtime to extend his F1 career into a twentieth consecutive season in 2012. Williams is considering replacing the 39-year-old veteran after his home race at Interlagos on Sunday, with a well-heeled quartet featuring Kimi Raikkonen, Adrian Sutil, Valtteri Bottas and Giedo van der Garde reportedly all in the running.
So, ahead of what could be his 322nd and last race this weekend, Barrichello has told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper that he has been working hard behind the scenes to compete with the sponsor money on offer.
“My desire to continue in Formula One is such that in the last two months I visited more companies than I did in 1990, when I was looking for sponsors to race overseas,” he said. “We are offering an unique form of participation (for a sponsor); not just brand exposure but something personalised – ‘tailor-made’ as the English would say.”
He acknowledged that it is tempting for his bosses Sir Frank Williams and Adam Parr to sign someone else because they can offer more money.
“But they know that they can count on me for the speed and for the experience,” insisted the former Ferrari driver.
Barrichello said he is not new to uncertainty, revealing that early in 2009 he risked losing his Brawn seat because the former Honda team was struggling for money.
“Ross Brawn said that I needed money to finish the championship. So if after the fourth race someone else came with sponsorship then I would have to give up,” he said.
Two years on, he is now relying on more than just his own efforts to realise his dream of extending his already longest-ever F1 career even further.
“I have a tattoo on my arm with the initials of my children, F for Fernando and E for Eduardo,” Barrichello explained. “The guy who gave it to me suggested putting an accent on so it becomes faith (fe), which I loved because I am a man of faith.”
But what if, despite his faith, Barrichello is left without a seat for 2012?
“Then I am a happy person and, yes, I have to be prepared for anything. I have to stop one day. And if this is god’s will then I will follow that path and perhaps it will be even better for my children as they grow up,” he answered.