As soon as Honda pulled the plug on their Formula One operation, Jenson Button flew back from his vacation to visit the team’s headquarters and factory in Brackley. The move went down well with the media and the fighting spirit showed by the Briton is said to have raised morale among the men and women who work for the squad. However, until now Rubens Barrichello has been shy to speak, instead choosing to spend time in his native Brazil.
I came to show my face here in England, to show I appreciate everything that happens to the team, and to tell them to keep working hard and putting every effort in possible. Rubens Barrichello.
Barrichello returned to England today though, and visited the beleaguered team in Oxfordshire. Rubens spoke with Ross Brawn and it is believed he is fighting for his position – Barrichello wants to continue competing in Formula One. This is despite leaving the world wondering why he has not been seen visiting the factory before, prompting rumours that Honda had already ended his contract, leaving Barrichello with no further obligations towards the organisation.
I told Ross, right now I am into the situation where I am not old and I can still use this as a learning emotion. I am so fired up.
I told him again that it could be a good time for me to say goodbye and start shouting bad against people for what they have done bad to me, but no. I am ready to race. I have lost half the weight of what I need to lose, and am eager to keep going.
I don’t think it is coincidence that I won the two kart races back in Brazil. Of course, it is at a level of competition that is much lower than F1, but it shows that I am up to it. I think I can use my mentality, plus my speed and my focus on the right stuff right now to really help the team carry on.
And I don’t want to sign just for one year. I want to sign for two or three years. I also started my career on slicks and I definitely want to finish my career on slicks. Rubens Barrichello.
Barrichello clearly had a lot to say, and it is now unquestionable that the Brazilian race winner was in contact with the team during the past two weeks. However, while Rubens states he isn’t old – and to be fair, he isn’t – when compared to many of the younger drivers coming into the sport, Barrichello is certainly of the more experienced on the grid. Rubens this year broke the record for the number of races competed, and even managed a podium at the saturated British Grand Prix. But for him to get a two or three year contract looks to be very unlikely. Already 36, I don’t think many teams would want to hire a driver who is nearing his forties.
Also, it should be noted that Rubens has indeed shouted bad since the end of the season, taking an opportune moment to speak about his time at Ferrari and the pressures he was put under to ensure then-team mate Michael Schumacher won.
It seems a little strange that Rubens would wait until now before speaking about his future prospects, just at a time when nearly everybody presumed he had quietly retired. Perhaps Barrichello is just making his case heard for any future company that buys the squad from the Japanese manufacturer, or maybe this is just one final attempt at extending his already long career.
When I heard DC [David Coulthard] telling me he was going to stop – he was feeling he had done enough, he wanted to go home. I just cannot see myself going back to Brazil yet – because I still have the speed. Yes, I can see when I am done going back to my country, which I have always loved. But I still want to race.
I haven’t driven the car for a while and I went to the simulator today and spent two hours there – before they told me to stop because I had to do something else. Rubens Barrichello.
Which just leaves me with one question… If Honda were to be saved, would the new owners want to retain the former race winner? Is Rubens Barrichello that appealing?