A surprise rumours has emerged overnight, which claims that Rubens Barrichello’s record-breaking career may come to a close at the end of the 2010 season, with the Williams team refusing to confirm its intentions over its driver line-up for the following season.
Barrichello’s team-mate Nico Hülkenberg is dogged by similar rumours, and much paddock speculation points to him being replaced by the heavily-financed and newly-crowned GP2 champion, Pastor Maldonado, next season.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that the Didcot-based outfit actually doesn’t intend to confirm any of its drivers until the winter off-season, with the magazine claiming that its current sponsorship situation – with the squad facing the loss of several major sponsors – playing heavily on its decision-making.
Maldonado reportedly comes armed with about $15 million in backing from the Venezuelan government-owned PDVSA petroleum group, and the German magazine’s rumour mill claims that Williams hasn’t decided which of its current drivers will have to make way for the 25-year-old South American. The Venezuelan driver is also scheduled to test for Williams at the season-ending young drivers’ test session in Abu Dhabi.
The rumour seems to have been sparked by Williams co-founder Patrick Head giving conflicting statements to the media that Hülkenberg had “done enough, both before he entered F1 and since being in F1” to continue his journey at motorsport’s top category, while also adding that “economic factors” would also be a determining factor in the team’s driver line-up in 2011.
However, Barrichello had claimed in September that his position at Williams was secure for 2011, which begs the question of just who we are to believe?
[Original images via AUTOSPORT]