Barrichello: My chances of returning to F1 are almost zero

Rubens Barrichello has all but ruled out a return to F1 in 2013.

Until now, F1’s longest-serving veteran has refused to call time on his grand prix career, despite switching to Indycar for 2012 after losing his Williams race seat. The Brazilian, 40, made his first visit to a F1 paddock since retiring last weekend in Austin, sparking rumours he was chasing the cockpit vacancy at Force India.

But he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport: “I don’t know whether I’ll be driving Indycar next year. Certainly not with my old KV team.

“Everybody wants money. In Formula One my chances (of returning) are practically zero.”


Barrichello refusing to rule out F1 return

Rubens Barrichello is refusing to give up on his F1 career.

After 19 consecutive seasons on the grid, the Brazilian veteran finally bowed out at the end of last year, when Williams signed countryman Bruno Senna to replace him. 40-year-old Barrichello rescued his open-wheeler career in the US-based Indycar series, but he has told Brazil’s Arena Sportv this week that he considers F1’s door to be still open.

“I had 19 years of great excitement and pure adrenaline,” he said. “For me, I would have been there (in 2012). You can never say never. Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen went back.

“I think in life you have to have the dream of wanting to improve every day, so I cannot say no. When I saw Raikkonen come back I thought he would have the same difficulties as Schumacher, but he had a sensational year. He is third in the championship. He has not fought for wins but he got six podiums.

“I say this because I didn’t stop and go to a completely different category; I’ve been more active. Physically and mentally, I would be prepared (for F1),” added Barrichello.


Barrichello: F1 ended too early for me

Rubens Barrichello has once again refused to rule out returning to F1.

The Brazilian, who with almost 330 grand prix weekends in his pocket is the sport’s longest serving driver of all time, told a German magazine last week he can still imagine “a way back” to the grid. Barrichello, who at 40 is three years younger than Michael Schumacher, switched to the US-based Indycar series for 2012.

“My problems have been with the tracks than are much bumpier than the ones in Europe,” he is quoted as saying in Taubate, Brazil, where he gave a motivational speech. “I am not criticising, but saying that the problem is just part of my adaption. The car is also totally different to the 19 that I drove in my life in Formula One.”

Barrichello said racing remains his chosen method of “expression”.

“Formula One ended too early for me. I am the driver with the most experience, but I thought that it would last longer. Some people have tried to bury me, but actually it’s not my time yet,” he insisted.

For Barrichello, the excitement and competitiveness of F1’s 2012 season has made his forced retirement even tougher.

“My whole life has been an open book,” he revealed. “As much as I am focused on Indy, if there is an invitation from Formula One, I will think about it. You have got to take your offers, select the best three and make a decision,” said Barrichello.

Finally, Barrichello moved to settle the argument about who is the greatest F1 driver of all time.

“I have no doubts about that: Ayrton Senna,” he said, before smiling: “Or maybe you were hoping I would say Schumacher?”


Barrichello: F1 ‘would not allow’ Indycar tracks

Rubens Barrichello has admitted that driving an Indycar after an almost two-decade Formula One career was a rude awakening – and not just because of the speed difference.

Asked by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport if his new mount felt slow even after Williams’ uncompetitive 2011 car, the Brazilian said: “Yes, at first. But when you come to Indianapolis, you think differently about the speed.”

The biggest difference, he explained, is the driving style he now needs to deploy.

“I am driving a car that is 200 kilograms heavier, so my precise and smooth style that I had over 19 years in formula one is not needed here,” said the 40-year-old. “I have to be aggressive, against my instinct,” said Barrichello.

Another major difference, said the winner of 11 grands prix, are the circuits.

“As the former president of the GPDA, I have to say that we would not allow these circuits in F1. No formula one drivers would go there,” said Barrichello. “They are very bumpy, there is no run-off. You have to get used to it after being spoiled in Formula One.

“If we would take the Indycar to the European tracks, I would look better,” he insisted.

Barrichello said that it is for that reason that – perhaps strangely – he is performing better this year on the ovals compared to the bumpy road and street circuits.

“I’ll tell you why,” he explained. “It’s because a precise and smooth driving style works best on the ovals. I can drive there (on ovals) according to my instincts.”

Another rude awakening, said Barrichello, has been the technology shift.

“In Formula One of course, there are many electronic toys that do not exist here. Even in the car setup of the Indycar there are not too many adjustments you can make; just the classical dampers, springs, anti-roll bars.

“There is nothing wrong with that, there is simply less money available. Here, you can put together a car for five million dollars. In Formula One you need more like 50 million,” said Barrichello.


Barrichello: Williams would be better with me

With the longest ever grand prix career now behind him, and half a season into his new foray, Rubens Barrichello is still not willing to say he is done with F1 quite yet.

“I think there is still a way back,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

Just shy of two consecutive decades on the grid, the 40-year-old Brazilian lost his Williams race drive and for 2012 had to cross the Atlantic to join his non-blood ‘brother’ Tony Kanaan in Indycar. He still studies F1 from afar. Asked if he still watches the races, Barrichello admitted: “Every single detail.

“From Friday onwards, every practice session. I study each sector time. At five o’clock in the morning I am getting from my friends the latest information about the tyres and the setups. My wife thinks I’m completely crazy,” he laughed.

Barrichello would so dearly love to still be there. He described the loss of his race seat to Bruno Senna – ironically the nephew of his late mentor Ayrton – as “unexpected”.

“The engineers and mechanics all assumed that I would be driving (in 2012),” he said. “Of course there were rumours that Williams needed money, but I had put together some money from my sponsor BMC.

“I have no idea what Bruno brought in the end. Probably Adam Parr didn’t want me anymore. I lost my cockpit and it was too late for alternatives.”

Barrichello insisted he is not bitter, especially about Senna taking his seat. Indeed, he thinks the young Brazilian could have learned so much from him.

“I was really happy for him with his seventh in Hungary. He did a great race,” he said. “As I said, if I was his teammate, he could get more out of himself. He lacks experience and he could have got it from me. He still needs someone to solve all the little problems.”

Barrichello is upset he never got to drive Williams’ Barcelona-winning 2012 car, after struggling throughout his last F1 campaign with a sub-standard machine. Asked if he knew this year would be better for the famous British team, he answered: “Yes, because we understood the problems we had last year.

“And because the new people are right. The move to Renault has made a big difference — the big plus of that engine is the driveability.”

He described the 2012 season overall as “sensational”.

“My heart bleeds that I cannot be there,” said Barrichello. “It’s so close. Don’t get me wrong; I am happy that I can drive here, and I don’t see myself as a victim.

“I think it’s just a shame for Williams, because I think I would have had a really great season this year. Not just for me, for the team. Williams would benefit from me.

“I would have been a good teammate as a teacher for Senna, Bottas and Maldonado — next to me that would have gone much better than they do now.

“Look at Maldonado — he had fewer accidents last year than this one. Pastor is super fast but with me on his side he races in a more controlled way.”


Barrichello earns $330k as Indy 500 ‘rookie’

Rubens Barrichello earned more than US $330,000 in Sunday’s Indy 500. At the age of 40 and with an unprecedented 326 grands prix behind him, the famous Brazilian was the highest placed newcomer in the fabled American oval race. It means he was crowned the official ‘rookie of the year’ title for his eleventh place finish, earning him $331,080 in prize money.

“My first oval experience, it was very different than anything I’ve done,” said Barrichello. “It’s a pity that we didn’t finish top ten but I can be proud of that for my first time out.”

Winner Dario Franchitti’s earnings were almost $2.5 million.

Barrichello’s fellow grand prix winner Jean Alesi, however, went home empty handed, having been disqualified for lapping too slowly in his Lotus-powered Indycar.

“It was frustrating but the (105pc) regulation is fair and I leave with a lot of respect for the Indy 500,” said the 47-year-old Frenchman. “I hope to return next year. I will start to prepare now.”


F1’s Sato almost wins Indy 500

Former F1 driver Takuma Sato almost won Sunday’s running of the fabled Indy 500. Instead, the Japanese 35-year-old, the former Jordan, Honda and Super Aguri driver until 2008, crashed into the wall after an audacious last-lap attempt to pass Dario Franchitti, who went on to win under yellow flags.

The Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz said the move was “brave; it was stupid. It was courageous; it was irresponsible. If it had worked … it would have become the stuff of legend”.

Former Toyota test driver Ryan Briscoe, the polesitter, finished fifth, while ex Minardi and Jaguar racer Justin Wilson was seventh. Rubens Barrichello finished his first Indy 500 11th, while former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Bourdais was 20th. Jean Alesi, with his heavily underpowered Lotus engine, was disqualified for running slower than the allowed 105 per cent.


Barrichello reveals Ferrari ‘threat’ of 2002

Rubens Barrichello has alleged that Ferrari made a threat that might have ended his motor racing career during the infamous 2002 Austrian grand prix.

Ten years ago, the Brazilian led the race at the A1-Ring but eventually, at the very last corner, succumbed to team orders that allowed number one teammate Michael Schumacher to pass him. Subsequent video footage has depicted then Ferrari team boss Jean Todt asking Barrichello on the radio to simply “let Michael pass for the championship, please”.

But Barrichello, having left F1 at the end of 2011 for a seat in Indycar, says it was not quite as simple as that.

“It was eight laps of war,” he is quoted by Brazil’s Globo. “It’s very rare that I lose my temper, but I was screaming on the radio. I kept going right to the end, saying I would not let him pass. That’s when they said something about something much broader. It was not about the contract.

“I cannot tell you what they said, but it was a form of threat that made me think about re-thinking my life, because the great joy for me was driving,” said the 39-year-old.


Barrichello: Oval driving very different to Formula One

Nineteen years of F1 did not prepare Rubens Barrichello for his first taste of driving an Indycar on a high speed oval. The former Ferrari driver, who switched categories for the 2012 season after losing his Williams race seat, tested at the Texas Motor Speedway on Monday.

“It was bloody fast,” he is quoted by the Associated Press, “and very, very much different than anything I have ever tried. “I’ve had places that in Formula One that they say ‘Oh, it’s almost flat and it’s a big corner and it’s a big challenge’. But the walls were never so close,” the 39-year-old Brazilian enthused.

Barrichello’s teammate Tony Kanaan admitted it was “fun” and a rare sight to see his close friend “nervous” prior to getting into a racing car.

“It was quite exciting to see how excited he got, and how happy he got out of the car saying how awesome it is,” he said.


Barrichello still clinging to F1 dream

Rubens Barrichello is still refusing to give up on his F1 career.

After a record-setting 19 consecutive seasons on the grid, the 39-year-old Brazilian lost his Williams race seat for 2012 and switched to the premier American open-wheeler series, Indycar.

“I’m enjoying it,” insisted Barrichello to O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper. “I have been welcomed and the feeling is a much more open one.

“But the fact that I keep active and am competing is, for me, still a way to be seen and to attract the eye of Formula One.

“For all that I did in F1, I would be able to go back there,” added the former Ferrari and Honda driver.