Grand Prix veteran Rubens Barrichello has indicated he has no intention of slowing down despite seemingly being in the twilight of his lengthy Formula 1 career.
The 39-year-old Brazilian has told reporters that he would like to stay on with the Williams team into the 2012 season and beyond to help the multiple-championship-winning team recover from the worst form slump in its history.
Yet another uncompetitive package has prompted the team’s technical director Sam Michael to call time on his role at the Grove squad, prompting a wave of changes in the make-up of the team’s technical team, which has seen the appointment of several senior figures that include new chief engineer Mike Coughlan.
Barrichello – who made his F1 debut in 1993 at the tender age of 20 – joined Williams in 2010 after enjoying a rebirth (of sorts) when he challenged for the championship title in 2009 with the Brawn GP team. Last year, the Brazilian notched up 300 Grand Prix starts, having eclipsed Riccardo Patrese’s old record of 256 Grands Prix in 2009.
“I’ve entered Williams because I believed in the project and I believed that with the kind of structure that they have, the great facilities and so on… [they can be successful],” he said.
“So there’s no ‘no’s’ in there; there’s lots of ‘yes’ and there’s lots of room for improvement. It’s very sad that we had a car that is not competitive this year because we had an okay car last year but we had to build it on [this year] which we did not do.
“Next year it’s got to be a big improvement, it’s got to be a big thing, and I want to be part of it as I have been for the last two years and that’s why I want to be present to make sure that we are actually making the step up.”
Williams’ worst start to a championship season in its history had prompted much speculation that the squad had completely lost its way, to the point that Barrichello would call time on his record-breaking career. Not so, says Rubens, who has every intention of staying on with Williams and being part of its climb back up the grid.
“Why am I racing? It’s just because I love [it] too much, I have too much passion for this speed. It’s not the fact of going round [a circuit] – at the beginning [of the season] we were almost [just] going around,” he added.
“So we need to find the motivation and want to keep on fighting and hopefully the team will be able to strike for podiums and wins in the future.”
[Image via The Cahier Archive]