SEPTEMBER 1, 2011
Barrichello to be forced out?
Rubens Barrichello, the most experienced driver in the history of the sport with 319 F1 races under his belt, looks likely to be pushed out at Williams F1 due to financial considerations.
The Brazilian driver has made it clear that he wishes to continue racing in Formula One next year, but at this late time in the season if Williams does not re-sign him there are few options left open for next year.
Williams F1 has been struggling in recent years to find sponsorship, and after losing RBS, Philips, Air Asia, Allianz and Accenture at the end of the 2010 season, the team took on Pastor Maldonado, who comes with considerable Venezuelan backing, which helped to fill the hole in the budget.
Williams has had lackluster results this season, and after finishing 6th in the championship last season currently lie ninth in the standings - another potential loss of around 5m Euros in prize money.
With other current sponsors rumored to be considering their future with Williams, team boss Adam Parr is said to be looking for a second pay driver to bring in to partner Maldonado with a supposed asking price of 5m Euros. There is no shortage of current GP2 drivers who are capable of raising this sort of sponsorship, and among the names mentioned are Giedo van der Garde, Jules Bianchi and Charles Pic.
It is thought that the team would prefer a driver with F1 experience to partner Maldonado, as the FW33 marks a different direction for the team with it's new technical leadership. The only driver that seems to fit the bill is Adrian Sutil - if Force India decides to drop him in favour of Nico Hulkenberg next season - as he comes with good backing from Medion, Capri-Sun, Enzo Hotels and Techart.
If this happens, it could mark the end to Barrichello's career in F1. The Brazilian driver is thought not to be interested in running ovals, so is not expected to look for opportunities in Indycar racing, but a move to Sportscars could be an option.