Track owners win 17-year F1 contract to end uncertainty over future of British race.
|Barrichello will be inspired by the memory of former Williams driver Ayrton Senna [GALLO/GETTY]|
Formula One veteran Rubens Barrichello says he is fulfilling a lifelong dream by driving for Williams next season – and will be inspired by having the great Ayrton Senna’s name stencilled under his car’s nose.
Fellow Brazilian Senna, who was killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola in 1994, was a mentor and friend to the young Barrichello, who left Brawn GP in October after finishing third in the 2009 drivers championship.
“It means a lot to me that I’m driving for Williams with his name under my car nose,” Barrichello said at Losail International Circuit in Qatar on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old could become the first driver to race in 300 Grand Prix at the Belgian GP in August next year, and has not ruled out a maiden world title after twice finishing runner-up in his Ferrari days.
“It is a dream to drive for Williams, although I had to do it rationally and not emotionally because emotionally I would have signed anything to drive for them,” Barrichello said.
“It comes from the past, from when I was a kid.
“It means a lot to me that I’m driving for Williams with Ayrton Senna’s name under my car nose”
Brazilian F1 driver Rubens Barrichello
“I’ve always dreamed to drive for them, but I’ve done it rationally because the engine looks good, the chassis looks good, the people around the car are very much in the ball game and I’m very much thinking I can be winning races and maybe chasing for titles with Williams.”
Senna had just moved to Williams when he was killed, and Barrichello said he was pleased Senna’s nephew, Bruno, would be competing for the new Campos Meta team next season.
“Well, life goes on. It’s such a nice thing that it’s a cycle – it’s amazing that Bruno Senna already grew up that much for him to be driving Formula One,” he said.
“I got to know him as a kid back in Brazil and I’m excited; I think Formula One is excited to have the Senna name back again and I wish him all the best.”
Williams were at the MotoGP track outside Doha to shoot promotional material on their FW31 car and continue their partnership with Qatar, having invested in science and technology projects in the Arabian Gulf state.
They were also showing off their new second driver Nico Hulkenberg, who has stepped up from a winning maiden season in GP2.
“He seems to be really fast, I’ve watched him on GP2 series and he seems to be superb behind the wheel,” said Barrichello of the 22-year-old German.
|Hulkenberg is expected to benefit from Barrichello’s experience [GALLO/GETTY]|
“Of course he needs experience and he’ll get that from me and from his year in F1, so I hope we can push each other and it will make our year even better.”
Speaking a day after the owners of the Silverstone circuit secured the right to host the British GP, the Brazilian said he was relieved at the deal – but that newer tracks that lacked the same atmosphere would soon catch up.
“I’m one of the biggest supporters of Silverstone – I love the circuit and I love the atmosphere there,” he said.
“It wouldn’t be Formula One if Silverstone wasn’t there. It’s one of the best races in the calendar.
“I think in 10 years we will be saying the same thing about Abu Dhabi and Bahrain and all the other tracks.
“The new ones are pretty good and safer than the old circuits, but the old circuits have that magic touch from the past.”