Williams team officials have confirmed that it has ever desire to extend Rubens Barrichello’s contract with the team into the 2011 season.

Rubens BarrichelloThe veteran Brazilian will notch up an unbelievable 300th Grand Prix start later this year, and a contract extension will see the likeable driver – a winner of 11 Grands Prix – extend his F1 career to a nineteenth season.

Team boss Sir Frank Williams told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport: “Assume that Rubens is staying with us.”

Nico HulkenbergThis was supported by the team’s Technical Director, Sam Michael, who added: “The extension should be as much a formality for Rubens as is his daily breakfast. He has demonstrated the importance in this business of experience."

There is no word as yet on the future of Barrichello’s rookie team-mate, Nico Hülkenberg, who has largely been overshadowed by his more experienced team-mate. The reigning GP2 champion has picked up just two of the team’s 31 championship points to-date, but the team has given little indication that it would consider dispensing with his services.

The team’s test and reserve driver, Valtteri Bottas, also looks set to remain with the Grove squad for another season.

The 20-year-old Finn, currently a frontrunner in the F3 Euroseries, has conducted Valtteri Bottassome straightline tests for the team and is hopeful of a proper test outing at the end-of-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

As for his career ambitions, he told Turun Sanomat: “The next step would be GP2. Williams will probably be involved in the decision about the team when the time comes.”

Bottas is currently managed by former double World Champion Mika Hakkinen.

[Original images via AUTOSPORT and Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.