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Barrichello in frame at Sauber for 2014
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Oct 2013   |  3:24 pm GMT  |  78 comments

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn says that Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello – Formula 1’s most experienced driver – is in contention for a seat at the Swiss team next season.

Barrichello, who has started a record 322 races, finished as championship runner up to then Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher in 2002 and 2004.

He left the sport at the end of the 2011 season, with 11 wins and 14 pole positions to his name, after Williams decided not to retain him.

The 41-year-old has since raced in American single-seater series IndyCar and Brazilian stock cars as well as attending several Formula 1 races a TV analyst for Brazilian TV.

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is keen to have a Brazilian driver in the sport next season and is understood to have been pushing to secure Felipe Massa – the only Brazilian currently on the grid – a seat for next year after the 32-year-old’s Ferrari contract was not extended.

Sauber have yet to confirm their driver line-up for next season, although Formula Renault 3.5 driver Sergey Sirotkin, 18, is expected to take one seat as part of a deal with Russian investors.

That leaves current drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez in contention for the other seat, along with Barrichello and Massa, who made his F1 debut with the Swiss team in 2002.

“There are a couple of options out there,” said Kaltenborn. “We know what he [Barrichello] has – his experience, we know that he’d like to come back. So let’s see.”

Kaltenborn did however rule out Barrichello making a one-off appearance in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. She said: “I don’t see any possibility there because we have no reason to change our two drivers for that race.”

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ok not to related , but is there any news on Robert Kubica returning ?

will he ever return ? is it to late ? maybe nto to this team , but others ?

see hes doing well in rallying


I know this question is off topic, but does anyone know how much Schumacher weighed during his comeback?


What’s the matter, did Monisha lose Emerson Fittipaldi’s phone number?


F1 cars and tracks are getting easier to drive these days so why not put Rubens in for another year. He’s still quick and 41 is not too old to be competitive in motor racing, Look at Schumacher for example and also Emerson Fittipaldi in the 90’s in Indycar, which was then a much harder and renowned series than it has unfortunately become today.

It will also help secure Sauber’s financial situation also. While the entry of Russian money is welcome in the sport, with the little history they have in Formula One we don’t know if they will remain or fade away if success is not forthcoming.

Daniel Aquilina

Seriously?? Massa is going to be forced out of F1 because of his ‘friend’. Rubens has had his career, Massa still has a bit to go, give Massa the drive.


Ecclestone has got to quit stirring up driver movements, that is the most pathetic aspect here for me. If Sauber or any other team can value any driver enough to put him in the car then so be it. Both Massa and Barrichello regardless of their nationality will have some value to any team and I would be eager to see either one of them on the grid.


James, any chance of the Hulk returning to Force India?


Hey, isn’t this the guy who openly advised Massa there is life beyond F1 ?


Ignoring the very poorly informed comments above and looking at the man – here’s a guy who eats sleeps and breathes motor racing. For all his detractors, the fact remains that in his prime he was one of the very best F1 drivers of his era, and extraordinarily talented in the rain. The fact of his career’s longevity and the response of the whole pitlane when he won in Valencia in 2009 is testament to his popularity – and in F1 you don’t get recognition like that unless you’re really good. I don’t agree that drivers should be shunted out just because they’re old or had a couple of seasons under their belt, and in this case, the return of Rubens would just add to the extraordinary legend that is his career. I hope and pray this comes to pass.

Acelera Rubinho!


This is the problem with F1. They hang on to ‘Experienced drivers’ who are well past it. give the up and comers a go, a rookie. You never know what you mite find. look at MOTOGP, straight away young guys into top teams. Makes it exciting


Come on for goodness sake, give a new young driver a chance. Rubens, stop blocking progress.

Lachlan Mackinnon

Good luck to both Sirotkin and Barrichello I say! If I had the opportunity to drive in F1 or add another season to a long career, then it is a no brainer.

But as a long term supporter of F1 I do worry about the bigger picture and the decisions teams are having to make. I have been lucky to watch the likes of Senna, Prost, Piquet, Mansell, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel……you get the picture.

Pay drivers have been around for a long time but it seems more prevelant than ever at the moment. What super talents are being denied an opportunity? Rubens has had his time and I can’t see Sirotkin lasting more than 5 minutes (I do hope I am wrong here but unlikely).

The key point – F1 must find a way to keep putting the best drivers on the grid. If the playing field doesn’t allow this then people will move on and switch to another category! I for one hope this doesn’t happen. My fingers are crossed……


As likeable as Rubens is, F1 needs young drivers. He has had his innings and very respectable one at that. If F1 needs a Brazilian as the Conductor deems, then let it be Felipe.


C’Mon this is a joke… what experience, he was two years away from F1 and things change quickly… Even Schumacher found it difficult to come back.. not to mention that he was not successful in Indycar… so leave him where he is , he had his chances, there are many younger drivers who deserve a shot much more


He’s got loads of experience of making up the numbers, just what Sauber need as this is all they exist to do as well. It’s a perfect match.


Just watched the Izod Indycar 2012 season. It wasnt a great season for Rubens. Well i didnt expect big things from him on the ovals but even on street circuits he wasnt doing too well. Best finish was a 4 th in Sonoma where almost half of the field crashed out. I really wanted to see him at least get a podium. Well considering what Mansell did there i hoped for more.

All the best for him in the future but please let F1 go


It is an interesting situation. One has to wonder what sort of sponsorship package Massa has, and more importantly, which Massa turns up each week to race. He can really blow hot & cold on certain days. As for Barrichello, he is noted as a good development driver, with strong feed back to engineers.

Given the rule changes, and that Sauber will have Ferrari power next year, Ferrari need to make sure that Sauber don’t damage the “Brand” – Ferrari, and if one does look at the proposed Ferrari line up for 2014, none of these two drivers are noted for their development work with the engineers.

I think Ferrari will be working in the background to bring in one of these two or maybe both of them, to speed up and help with the problem solving of the engine power plant package which might have. I would put the Russian in as a Friday driver to gain experience & mileage.

One could say that Massa has had one too many chances to prove himself in F1, and Barrichello is maybe too old, but what you can’t argue about is the experience both of these people have and the link back to Ferrari, plus Bernie appears to want a Brazilian on the grid in 2014. (What Bernie asks for, he normally gets)

Ferrari does look to have “placed” Jules Bianchi for another year, and they will also have Ferrari power. That is another year of experience, ready for the works team, if all goes well for him.


One thing of interest was the subject of driver’s weight & height.

I knew that F1 drivers had to be super fit, but until I read the weight and height of the current crop of drivers and the problems they are having in keeping down there weight. Well that did surprise me. But it really shouldn’t have because James has talked enough on radio and TV in the past about how much fuel weighs in the car and once the fuel load goes down we see the car working better.

But now the drivers are openly talking about asking the FIA to raise the car’s limit so that bigger – taller – heavier drivers have a chance in F1. They talked about one German driver losing out, because he maybe too tall and heavy yet seems extremely capable and talented, yet has trouble in getting a drive in a top line team, maybe due to his weight & height.

Of course Lewis has to pipe up and say he wants to put on more weight – more muscle, and his team haven’t told him to lose weight.

So this driver merry go round – with Massa or Barrichello in a Sauber, or both could actually come down to the weight & height of the driver. Looking in the past, Sauber have had smaller drivers.


There are enough young talent in F1 at the moment. Rubens had his time in F1 and is well past his sell by date. The only reason Sauber wants him back is he is bringing several million dollars. What is happening to F1, honestly?


Oh come on, this is silly. He is being considered, that is all that is being said, apparently because he brings in some cash. But is this news? It would definately be the wrong choice: he is too old, has been 2 years out (look at the hard time Schumacher had, and Rubens was never as good as him). As others have written as well, he has had his fair chance, he was a good driver, but his last years in the difficult Williams were lacklustre, if you look at his performance against his teammates.

I hope to see Massa given a year or two, just to see what he could do in another team, as a team leader. He is a hard worker, and I hope to see him flourish once more.


Surely not…

If it’s a Brazilian, then Massa, the 2008 champ in all but name.

Presumably they could carry the same funding.

Sauber suddenly have the feel of Williams (recently) about them, making odd largely financed based decisions.


Desperate times require desperate measures. If MS couldn’t succeed in his 2nd F1 career it would be interesting to learn how RB fairs. Wrong move ?


Alain Prost is free next year.


I’m free next year if they want me, too.

I’m more than happy to become a Brazilian citizen if I that’s the criteria.

I’m not prepared to have one of those other Brazilians though…


But he only wants to race in a competitive car!


It would be great to see Rubens back, but surely Massa would be the better bet?

I can’t see the motivation for Rubens either: Why would he come back to F1 just to end up tooling around in the midfield?


Why oh why oh why are they not looking at Emerson Fittipaldi if they want a Brazilian? He’s only 66 for crying out loud. In fact why not bring back Prost, Mansell, and Jackie Stewart? They could call it GP Masters, why hasn’t anyone thought of that before?


Er…someone has – It was in one of the comments someone put up a while back.

Still a good idea though, love to see it happen 🙂


Yes it’s called sarcasm. I was there Silverstone rained for 3 days Mansell did 2 laps, whole thing went bust after that – lesson for Sauber perhaps.

Good to see that one went sailing over your head.


Not my fault you can’t aim 😉


I enjoyed all the times Rubinho raced in F1. When he had a competitive seat the guy was awesome. Outside of the car he has the kindest and most fun, approachable personality.

But, is he right for F1 now? Sorry, I don’t think so. He can ‘race’ and is still ‘quick’ but the best times are behind him. It could be another MSC midfield, occasional points return that somewhat dulls an otherwise great career. Best left and remembered with fondness.

Maybe a drive in Formula E – there is where his talents could really show, if he got plugged in and charged up. That would be great.

Or join WEB in a competitive sportscar team. I would gladly watch him excel in either.


Reuben’s was always a better driver than he got credit for and if he has the hunger still he’ll probably destroy Sirotkin but if it’s a choice of Brazilians Massa is nearly a decade younger and still has several years of quality left – I think most agree he’ll do better away from the pressure of Ferrari and the mental flattening of Alonso. If Sauber build even a half decent car I wouldn’t doubt Massa doing better in that than most of his recent Ferrari performances.

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