End of the line for Barrichello?
Rio de Janeiro - Veteran driver Rubens Barrichello saw his chances of staying in Formula 1 reduced to zero.
Williams announced their decision to sign Bruno Senna to partner with Pastor Maldonado. This means that Barrichello is out of the picture.
Barrichello posted on Twitter,"I won't be driving the Williams car this year. I wish my friend Senna all the best...the future is wide open."
Williams' decision was the second recent blow to the man known as Rubinho. In November 2011, Renault-Lotus thwarted his dream of driving for them by choosing former World champion Kimi Raikkonen instead.
Raikkonen is to make a comeback to Formula 1 in 2012, two years after retiring from the top category in motorsport.
Now, the only chance for Barrichello to stay in Formula 1 lies with HRT, the only one that has yet to choose one of its two drivers for the upcoming season.
Rubinho is already the man with the longest Formula 1 career in history. Since 1992, when he made his debut in the South African Grand Prix, he has competed in 322 races, managing 14 pole positions and 11 wins. In 2002 and 2004 he was runner-up in the drivers' World Championship, behind Michael Schumacher.
Beyond Williams and Ferrari, the Brazilian has driven cars for Jordan, Stewart, Honda and Brawn GP. Barrichello wants to drive a Formula 1 car for at least one more season, so he can reach the round, unprecedented number of 20 years in the category.
'HE SHOULD RETIRE'
Barrichello said: "I'm not ready to quit now. Many fast drivers came and went because they were not happy in Formula 1. I however love it. I don't need a great contract, just a competitive car."
Many Brazilians, however, think that joining a weak team would be the worst way to end an impressive career.
Brazilian sports commentator Reginaldo Leme said on the news website G1: "I hope he is not thinking of signing with a minor team. The history of Rubinho in Formula 1 cannot be stained by that. If he announces that he is leaving Formula 1 he will see paths open up for him in every other category."
Barrichello got similar advice from fellow-Brazilian Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa, who recommended retirement in November.
Massa said: "I told him: 'Retire, make the most of your last race'. When I told him that it didn't mean, 'you're old, stop racing'. I just thought about what's happening in Formula 1. Nowadays we have 12 teams, and five or six ask drivers for money. This, in my view, is absurd.
"I don't want to see Rubinho, with the great career he has made, with everything he has won, looking for sponsors to race," he said.