x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Barrichello's future turns cloudy

Rumours of Kimi Raikkonen's return to Formula One keep growing, meaning Rubens Barrichello may be out of a ride at Williams.

Rumours are growing stronger that the Williams team is trying to lure former-F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen out of retirement. With Pastor Maldonado bringing in much needed sponsorship to the team, it could mean that Rubens Barrichello, above, may be making his final turns for Williams at the Etihad Airlines Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi and at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
Rumours are growing stronger that the Williams team is trying to lure former-F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen out of retirement. With Pastor Maldonado bringing in much needed sponsorship to the team, it could mean that Rubens Barrichello, above, may be making his final turns for Williams at the Etihad Airlines Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi and at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Rubens Barrichello's Formula One future looks increasingly uncertain after a major Williams shareholder said the team were talking to Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, about a possible comeback.

Christian "Toto" Wolff told the Kronen Zeitung that the Finn, who won his title with Ferrari, was one of several names on their list of possible drivers for next season.

"We are in conversation with Raikkonen," the Austrian said. "But he is only one of several options."

Williams are enduring their worst season in F1 with five points from 17 races, but asked at the recent Indian Grand Prix whether Raikkonen might return to race for Williams next year, Adam Parr, the team chairman, refused to be drawn.

"Our race drivers are Pastor Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello and if, and when, that changes, we will make an appropriate announcement," Parr said.

Raikkonen, 32, who left F1 for rallying at the end of 2009, told the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine that anything was possible but nothing had been decided.

"There are many different options and, of course, a lot of speculation," he said. "Until something is certain, there is no point in speculating because it could go any way. To be honest, I don't know myself yet."

Barrichello, who has started more races than any driver in the history of F1, has said he wants to keep racing and is expecting a decision on his future before the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, his home race, on November 27.

The penultimate race, the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, is this Sunday.

"Williams told me they would like to make a decision before Brazil, so I hope at least that is a positive," the 39 year old told reporters last month.

Maldonado brings substantial sponsorship to the team from PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, and is sure to stay.

Adrian Sutil could be another option for Williams if the experienced German is not retained by Force India.

Vijay Mally, the Force India team principal, said that he hoped to announce his 2012 line-up before Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but he is still undecided.