Rubens Barrichello is so far refusing to comment after losing his Williams race seat this week to countryman Bruno Senna. The news looks set to end F1’s longest-ever driver career, with the only other vacant seat for 2012 – at HRT – expected to go to the highest bidder.
O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper contacted 39-year-old Barrichello on Tuesday but found the veteran Brazilian unwilling to talk for now.
“I will speak later, firstly with friendly journalists,” promised Barrichello, who since 1993 has contested 326 grands prix for six teams over 19 consecutive seasons.
On Tuesday, he told his 1.4 million Twitter followers that the future “is wide open”. Earlier, amid the uncertainty of his situation, he admitted he will take stock of his situation should he be left without a F1 seat for 2012.
“I think at first I won’t look for anything.,” Barrichello said. “Perhaps I’ll just enjoy my family for a year. After that I believe my passion for speed will not allow me to stand still.
“For sure I will not race on the American ovals I have promised that to my wife and I will honour that.”
For the moment, an era appears over.
“I’m not sure how many more seasons Rubens could have expected to carry on in Formula One,” said 1996 world champion Damon Hill, “although I think he did a pretty good job.”
A few years ago, when Honda folded and became Brawn, Senna was considered for Barrichello’s 2009 race seat. Now, the shoe is on the other foot.
“I haven’t talked to him,” Senna told reporters on Tuesday. “We are good friends and that’s the way motor sport is. There is nothing personal, and Rubens is a pro. He will understand.”
He is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo: “Rubens knows even better than I do that sometimes it’s part of the sport that someone comes in and someone has to go. We have a great relationship and I’m sure it will stay that way.”