Rumours have linked GP2 driver Jules Bianchi with the Williams seat currently occupied by Rubens Barrichello for the 2012 season.
Brazilian Barrichello, the most experienced driver in F1 history, is waiting to have his contract renewed by the famous British team, and there are rumours circulating over whether Barrichello will still be racing in 2012 or not.
But his countryman Livio Oricchio, who writes for the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, has said this week that the 39-year-old’s seat is in doubt because “Frank Williams needs money”. Barrichello is currently paid by Williams however there are plenty of young drivers who would be able to bring extra sponsorhip money to the team, effectively paying Williams for their drive.
He said Williams’ main revenue streams are Pastor Maldonado’s sponsor PDVSA, F1 television income, and minor backers like Randstad, Reuters, ATT and Oris.
Altogether, struggling Williams’ budget is about $100 million, with Barrichello costing the team about $5m.
“And there are young drivers on the market with a similar amount of money ($5m) to spend to make their Formula One debut, like the Monegasque Stefano Coletti, Italian Davide Valsecchi, Briton Sam Bird and Frenchman Jules Bianchi”, said Oricchio.
“Bianchi is in the Ferrari school but he needs to show what he can do before he can dream to compete for the Maranello team. Williams would be a good entry point,” he added.
Bianchi, 22 and handled by Felipe Massa’s manager Nicholas Todt, has had a difficult GP2 season but is still highly regarded by Ferrari.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Speed Week reports that Force India driver Adrian Sutil’s key sponsor Medion has suffered a sharp decline in revenue in the first half of 2011.