Formula 1: Rubens Barrichello set for new Williams deal
Rubens Barrichello looks set to sign a new deal with Williams to keep him in Formula 1 for a record-breaking 19th season.
Barrichello will reach a landmark 300th grand prix later this month in Belgium, and despite being out of contract at the end of the season, the likeable Brazilian is confident of an extension.
“We have been working together on the 2011 car,” said Barrichello. “So I think the renewal is a natural process.”
Williams are currently seventh in the constructors’ championship – far from where the British team wants to be. But recent results, including strong points scoring finishes in the last three races, indicate the team is finally heading in the right direction as they battle with Mercedes, Renault, Force India to be best of the middle order.
Barrichello added: “The team has used me in the best possible way. With Williams we have 100 per cent confidence in talking about the car now. From the moment we have chosen this way, especially in the wind tunnel, everything has improved.
“It is hard to say when Williams will win again, but the trend this year has been very noticeable. The greatest pride is that my information has not only served me, but my teammate as well. We are on the right track.”
At 38, Barrichello is the second oldest driver on the grid behind former team-mate Michael Schumacher, and continues to show a youthful passion for motor racing that belies his age.
It is this enthusiasm which has allowed Barrichello to reach 300 races and look forward to a 19th season in the sport developing the Williams car and their German rookie Nico HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg.
His pride at setting the fastest lap by an F1 driver on the Top Gear test track as their Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car, lapping 0.1 second quicker than The Stig, further highlights the fact that Barrichello is still one of the best drivers in the sport, despite a flood of young drivers in recent years.
To celebrate his 300th race, Barrichello has commissioned a commemorative t-shirt. It is not clear at present how many of these have been produced, or whether they are for general sale, but he has indicated there will be some kind of draw. Follow @rubarrichello on Twitter for further details.