Robert Kubica will miss the start of the 2012 F1 season; Rubens Barrichello and Bruno Senna also face uncertain futures; Jenson Button still loves Interlagos even with the memory of last year's armed robbery attack at the track.
Formula One: Kubica will miss start of 2012 season
Robert Kubica will miss the start of the 2012 Formula One season after the Polish driver conceded Wednesday that he would not be fully recovered from a near-fatal rally accident in February.
Kubica crashed in the Ronde di Andora rally in Italy on February 6. He sustained massive injuries to his right side – a forearm that was almost severed and leg and shoulder fractures. Lotus-Renault says he can walk and has regained movement in his elbow and hand, but needs more rehabilitation.
Renault had been hoping Kubica would be its No 1 driver from the start of season. The team said Wednesday it will talk to a few drivers for next season.
Barrichello and Senna on shaky ground
Barrichello, who has started more F1 races (321) than any other driver, may be out of a ride at Williams next season.
The 39-year-old yearns to continue for a 20th season but Williams have been talking to possible replacements for 2012 and there are few, if any, vacancies that do not require funding as part of a deal.
Compatriot Felipe Massa, who celebrates his 100th start for Ferrari on Sunday with his own future uncertain beyond next year, has already advised Barrichello to go out with his head held high even if his friend is reluctant to give up hope.
"I gave him some advice: to stop," Massa told Brazilian website www.totalrace.com.br of a man who will be starting his 323rd race in a career that started in 1993 and brought him 11 wins with Ferrari and Brawn.
"It wasn't in the sense of 'you're old, stop racing'. I was thinking about what's going on in F1," said the Ferrari driver. "Today you have 12 teams in F1 and five or six are asking for money from the drivers to race. This is an absurdity, in my opinion.
"What I told him is that I would not want to see 'Rubinho', after the career he has had and all he has achieved, chasing sponsors to be able to race.
"I told him 'Stop, use this last race, make it a proper ending'. Of course he is going to do what is best for him."
With Williams enduring their worst season, and having started the previous Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with both cars on the back row, Barrichello cannot hope for more than to challenge for a point or two at his home circuit.
Massa, twice a winner at Interlagos for Ferrari, will be looking for more and he needs to end the year strongly after receiving a thinly veiled warning from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo that he needs to raise his game next year to have a hope of staying at the team.
Senna, a mid-season replacement at Renault, may lose his seat to the Frenchman Romain Grosjean.
Button still holds Interlagos high
The memory of last year's armed attack outside Interlagos has not dimmed Jenson Button's love of the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Briton, who is fighting for second in the championship with teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, simply said he expects more security this weekend at Interlagos.
"I think every driver you see will have a police escort this year in Brazil, and they should do," Button said.
"But you also have to spare a thought for everyone else in Formula One because they don't have police escorts."