World champion Sebastian Vettel has revealed he hopes Rubens Barrichello can extend his longest-ever Formula One career into 2012.
At the age of 39, the Brazilian veteran of well over 300 grands prix has amassed a reported $5 million in personal sponsorship in the hope of clinging onto his Williams race seat for another season. And Italy’s Autosprint claims Barrichello has halved his $2 million salary demand.
“I hope Barrichello stays at Williams,” the Swiss newspaper Blick quotes Red Bull driver Vettel as saying. “He is a great guy.”
As for the other officially vacant seat at HRT, and the one currently occupied by Jarno Trulli at Caterham, Vettel predicted they will ultimately be filled by drivers “with money”.
Barrichello insists it would be “clever” for Williams to avoid the same temptation.
“I’m not pushing them, I’m just trying to show them that is the way to do it,” he is quoted by The Sun.
At HRT, occasional 2011 team driver Narain Karthikeyan is a reported possibility for next year, with both Autosprint and Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claiming his Indian sponsors are willing to pay $7 million.
“With the holiday season now behind us we should be able to go ahead with our discussions as nothing has been finalised yet,” Karthikeyan is quoted by the Press Trust of India. “Personally, I have seen a lot of positive responses after the (inaugural Indian) GP as corporate houses and people in general are more aware of what it (F1) brings to the table.
“We have to be patient though — India is in its motor sport infancy and you just can’t expect it to skip tens of years in progression because we hosted an F1 race.”