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'Don't go Rubens - we love you'

2011-11-27 08:02

BACK WITH THE OLD CROWD:: Brazilian F1 driver Rubens Barrichello (right) with (from left) Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa after Massa was presented with part of a Ferrari cockpit for 10 years and 100 Grands Prix.

Tales Azzoni

BUENOS AIRES, Brazil - If driver support counted, Rubens Barrichello wouldn't have a problem finding a racing seat for the 2012 F1 GP season.

Much speculation is flying about will he/won’t he race next season; does he want to, does any team want him to? The veteran Brazilian has yet to secure a seat but it turns out he has plenty of backing from fellow drivers who don't want him to retire yet.


Sebastian Vettel, 2011 World champion, said: "It would be a real shame to lose Rubens - he belongs here. He’s been here for a long time. Pretty crazy to imagine yourself to be around that long."

Barrichello, 39, had his F1 debut with Jordan in 1993. Today could be his last race because his team, Williams, has yet to announce its drivers for 2012. There have been rumours of Kimi Raikkonen’s return from the world of rallying.

"It's great that he still wants to race," McLaren's Jenson Button said. "I really hope he gets a drive in 2012. I hope he's racing next year. His hunger is obviously still there."

If he does get a drive it will be for his 20th year in F1, a racing formula in which he has made more friends than enemies; he’s one of the most-liked drivers on the circuit.

Long-time friend Felipe Massa, however, said Barrichello would be better off retiring: “It would be in his best interests.”

Why? To avoid him having to beg for a drive or pay a smaller team to let him drive.

Barrichello, however, said he was not losing much sleep over next year. He’d had “19 lovely seasons" in F1 and would not feel like a failure if he didn’t find a drive. He did want to come back, though, and felt confident he will get a deal.


Barrichello finished 12th on Saturday in front of his home fans in what could have been his last F1 qualifying session – a result, he said, that was better than he’d expected.

Team mate Pastor Maldonado will start 18th.

"It was like a victory to me," he said, “and I hope it's not the last time I can do something like this."

Barrichello has competed in more F1 races than any other driver. He was second in the Drivers' standings in 2002 and 2004 for Ferrari behind seven-time World champion Michael Schumacher.

He was third for Brawn GP in 2009 after being outpaced by team mate and eventual champion Jenson Button.

Stay with Wheels24 for the F1 weekend.


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