Rubens Barrichello confirmed at ‘Honda’

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Rubens Barrichello will extend his record for most F1 starts
Rubens Barrichello will extend his record for most F1 starts

Rubens Barrichello will partner Jenson Button at ‘The Team Formerly Known as Honda’, but full details of how the team is to be rescued are yet to be announced.

Barrichello will extend his record as the F1 driver to have started the most races. The development is a blow to Bruno Senna, who had been linked to the second seat at the team. Rumours are placing him in a DTM seat for 2009.

The team, which has been tipped to re-launch as Brawn Racing, was expected to resume testing at Silverstone on Thursday this week but those plans have been put on hold.

This development means every F1 team except the two Red Bull outfits will go into 2009 with the same drivers they used in 2008.

Barrichello will also be one of just three drivers on the 2009 grid to have driven in F1 with slick tyres before this year. He, Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella raced on slicks in 1997. Barrichello made his F1 debut in 1993.

Read more about Rubens Barrichello: Rubens Barrichello biography

41 comments on “Rubens Barrichello confirmed at ‘Honda’”

  1. it will be nice to See Rubino back in a car :)

  2. Surely Senna would benefit far more from a second season in GP2, possibly, you know, winning it, maybe, rather than heading to Germany for the year.

    Great news for Rubens though.

    1. Trouble is, if Senna didn’t win the GP2 championship, it could damage his reputation. Better for him to spend a year in DTM driving a Mercedes before stepping into an F1 team next year – possibly one with strong links to both Mercedes and the Senna name…??

      Good to see Rubens back for another year, and if we are to taken Peter Windsor’s comments seriously, possibly he’ll be around for while yet…

      Now, if only “Honda” would announce the new team name and livery etc… (rumours over on RHF1 suggest the transporters are getting resprayed tomorrow in a Blue and White colourscheme…)

    2. It would have been Senna’s third season in GP2. I’d rather see him in that than the DTM, because the DTM calendar is pretty small and the stupid pit stop rules ruin the racing. Plus, with Grosjean, di Grassi and Hülkenberg in top seats GP2 looks like being a corker this year.

    3. Trouble is with DTM, is it seems to be where F1 drivers head once their F1 career is over (Ralf, Mika, Jean). Wannabe F1 drivers who head to F1 (Paffett, Di Resta (so far)) don’t then tend to make it to where they want to be.

      Surely for Senna, sticking with the best single seater option available would be far better for him than tin tops. Last season was a stepping stone between being brand new to the series, and a third season where he could mount a serious championship challenge. I don’t think last year he was quite up to it (every race I watched, he always seemed to be perpetually stuck in 5th place).

  3. On first sight, DTM is too much of a side step for Bruno Senna. However, a 3rd season in GP2 is a bit much, too. There remain few other options, though, with a sideward step to Formula 2 out of the question, since that grid is now complete. Opting for IndyCar or the Le Mans Series would probably have team bosses lose sight of Senna.

    So, perhaps DTM is the least bad route, and Senna could benefit from a test and reserve driver contract with one of the F1 teams, and a year worth of racing experience in DTM. Perhaps with some outings in GP2, should one of the regulars fail to start, or the occasional sportscar race.

    1. Good for Rubens, though. I see him reach 300 GPs, now. ;)

  4. I’m happy if Rubens is there.
    Senna will be there in a few years.

  5. Nice one Rubens – When (if?) he finishes with F1, he deserves a decent send-off like they gave David Coulthard.

    Wherever Senna ends up, he’ll raise the profile of that series. Jonathan Palmer should do everything he can to get him in a Formula 2 car – there’d be no better way to get a new series established.

    I’d say GP2 is the best bet, in front of all the F1 bosses. There may be a chance if, say, Piquet has another stinker at Renault. And he needs races – I agree with ajokay’s “stuck in 5th” observation, apart from that wet Monaco win. Senna failed to beat a good-but-not-great field last year.

    Are there any good drives left in GP2? Does anyone know where I can find an entry list?

    1. Tom – here’s the major entries so far: Promising GP2 line-up taking shape for 2009

    2. Another season in GP2 cannot be bad for Senna, especially if Piquet has another stinker, as you say.

    3. There’s no great GP2 seats left. iSport wait for Senna for a long time (actually Diego Nunes, the brazilian driver they end up signing, told the brazilian press they only closed the deal after Senna give them an ok). Lokking at GP2 entry list the title is likely be between Di Grassi, Grosjean and Hulkenberg and Senna probably thinks the only good seat left (Arden) ain’t enough to challange them.

  6. Yeah its a catch 22 for senna, going to DTM doesn’t help his single seat f1 career, but a 3rd year in GP2 isn’t great – especially if he doesn’t win it – but at least it’s still wheel to wheel style racing and close to f1 (tracks & events etc).

    It doesn’t take much for a good driver to look really bad, some bad tires, under performing car and a couple of other things and all of a sudden a driver that can be top 3 is stuck low down or crashing out, and those stats don’t look good come contract time.

  7. Honda will leave Thursday for the Barcelona track to join the tests next week according to GPUpdate

  8. I’m happy that Rubens is back, he’s a real nice guy, good character and a great driver, would be awesome if nick fry has been axed and it’s a ross brawn team.

  9. This doesn’t surprise me. Honda need some stability at this point and having somebody who knows the car and has been involved with the team means one less thing for the team to sort out. They have enough to worry about without trying to incorporate a new driver.

  10. Does this leave the 2008-2009 transition as the two years with least driver changes ever?

    1. I took note that last season was the first for some time when there were no in-season driver changes, and there is minimal movement this season. It’s a good thing for the sport in my opinion, but we obviously need more teams to get more drivers into the sport.

  11. Very good news to hear Barrichello has a racing seat for this season, he wouldn’t of had a proper send off. I hope senna uses this year wisely and chooses GP2, for a final preparartion if he gets into f1. He needs to focus on single seater racing anyway and DTM is usually the route to take when f1 drivers usually retire. IRL and Le mans team bosses will lose him on the radar and senna might lose interest into going into f1.

  12. Quote Adrian: “(rumours over on RHF1 suggest the transporters are getting resprayed tomorrow in a Blue and White colourscheme…)”

    Great, another Blue and White colour scheme is just what we need!!! How original!!

    I guess if these rumours are correct, that would rule out any Virgin sponsorhip.

  13. I guess they’re going with a good set of developmental hand in Rubens. I wonder how Rubens feels about this especially as he used to be at the top of the grid and now lounges firmly at the bottom. Furthermore I wonder how much sponsorship he is bringing with him to the new team. And as for Bruno, why is he not in a GP2 car close to the action…

    1. Rubens has no sponsorship money. I don’t think it matters for him to be in the last rows, he loves driving and really wants to get to the 300 starts, so he is ok with any seat he can get.

  14. I think you guys already know…. Merc is supplying engines for Honda for this year.

  15. I always liked Barrichello, so its nice to see him back for another year.

    I would like to see Senna in F1 too but I didn’t like some of his interviews with autosport. He was talking about the amount of testing he would get before Australia and slamming the Torro Rosso team. Bad idea before ink gets on the contract.

  16. Ross Brawn is a clever and cold Guy. He tough: What could be worthiest? A young and inexperienced driver with some sponsorship in the pocket, but who could crash at some races, or a guy who could develop a car and bring some money from the constructors championship?

    James Allen has said that Bruno could bring around US$ 14 million, but with some points achieved in the championship the team can easily get this money.

    So, Poor Bruno… I wish him a better luck next time!

  17. James Brickles
    3rd March 2009, 17:50

    Definitely the right decision.

  18. On one hand it’s nice to see Rubens continue on in F1 on the other hand, it’s pointless. He’s not going to be world champion, and except he’s driving for free or ridiculously low wage, it makes no sense to continue on with him.
    As for Button, he has wasted opportunities and potentials. In my opinion he has lost his fighting spirit. He should just give F1 2 more years and retire. He is a classic case of high wage and low return on investment.

  19. Well, it looks like Honda didn’t think Senna was ready to make the jump despite his reportedly excellent test times. There’s got to be something psychologically amiss, perhaps a lack of maturity on Senna’s part.

    Good for Rubens. He’s a true class act.

    1. Or they just wanted a safe pair of hands, which Barrichello definitely is. I think Senna has potential (what an odd phrase to write!) but there’s always a risk attached with picking a rookie – even though the publicity and marketing benefits of choosing him would be enormous.

  20. Nobody’s commenting on the slick tyres yet. Would we see the old-timers and the fresh-out-of-GP2 drivers doing better than the rest of the field? It might be the only way Honda and Force India can hope to score points too.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Didn’t Rubens’ promise start to fade after grooved tyres were introduced? Obviously joining Ferrari didn’t flatter him, but he was in the best car for 5 seasons, hence his race wins. He could come out flying in whatever Brackley (it’s not Honda anymore – let’s not give them any more free press) gives him, and along with the need to re-prove himself, it could well be Jenson signing with USF1 next year!

      These older guys should shine this season – watch Trulli for even more unlikely poles.

      As for the Brackley colour scheme, I’m more interested in what stickers are going to be on it rather than the colours themselves.

  21. Come to thinks of it, Trulli and Fisi are well placed for some shockers on slicks, don’t know bout old Rubinho though, depends how good his car is. I’m sure these guys will adapt to it quicker. Having said that, Fernando Alonso was mentioning that slicks suit his driving style better, so I presume that quite a few of the rest would mind the change either.

    On Senna not getting the drive, I think Ross Brawn made the right desicion. Senna was impressive in GP2 last year, but not consistent at all. Out of 20 (Feat & Sprnt) races, he only managed 2 wins and 6 podiums. Then again, Giorgio Pantano only managed 4 wins and 3 podiums. He should race in GP2 again, dominate the championship in the manner of Rosberg and Hamilton and that will re-inforce his credentials. Not much of drive left though. I disagree that he should go to F2, the driver on the roster are a joke of a competition of Bruno, he should be competing against higher calibre.

  22. I am disappointed that it appears Bruno Senna has been overlooked for a 2009 drive, yet upbeat that Rubens
    Barrichello has been given another chance.
    Surely this is a good indication that Ross Brawn his commanding some serious clout within the former Honda team, and it is conveniant, as both Brawn and Barrichello obviously get along due to their years
    together at Ferrari.
    If I were Brawn though, I would put Bruno Senna on the
    sidelines as a test driver for a year to give the guy
    experience and road miles in an F1 car. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both spent a year off apiece testing for their teams during their careers, and it both moulded them into better, more mature drivers.
    What goes against Senna his is extremely short racing career of only five years in top competition. However, going to DTM would be a huge mistake, possibly for both parties.
    As others have stressed in the months since Senna has been linked with F1, letting Bruno slip only risks
    encouraging a rival team to aquire him, and the name alone is a big incentive.
    In the real world however, you have to win the GP2
    championship to be considered for F1, as proven in the cases of Rosberg and Hamilton, which were both
    no brainer decisions. I really hope Senna makes it, my fingers are crossed for you mate!

    1. Trouble is though, with the testing ban this year, I doubt he’d get any F1 miles under his belt. Although I guess he could be employed as a ‘reserve driver’. At least his name would then be on the books. Better than the kick in the teeth, as they say.

  23. Lets hope that we see Bruno in F1 in the near dfuture

  24. It’s obviously good for Rubens, and good for the team- he’s got the experience and won’t be dejected if the team spends more time at the back of the grid than they would like.

  25. While I feel bad for Senna, it’s great to see Rubinho in F1 for at least one more year. :D

  26. Pete Walker
    4th March 2009, 9:46

    ‘The Chain’ returning and Rubens staying on for another record breaking season. Two of the best bits of news so far this year. :D

  27. I’m really glad to see Rubens back, maybe. Only 3 weeks until Melbourne and boy oh boy are Brawnracing or whatever they calling themselves cutting it fine to actually be on the grid regardless of who they announce as drivers.

    Rubens deserves a far better send off that the one he was given at the end of last year. I hate to see a man forced out before he is ready to hang up his helmet, especially when he still feels like he has something left to give. Of course this is not good news for Senna, and I do feel for him. But I think there will be other opportunities for Bruno, whereas this may well be the last one for Rubens.

    Of course, if Prodrive were competing this year like they were supposed to, there might be room on the grid for both of them …

  28. Odd how longevity and lack of talent seem to go hand in hand in F1. You know, Jack Laffite, Ricardo Patrese, David Coultard, Barrichelo, Trulli, Fisi….They must have a couple of thousands of GPs among them.

  29. I didn’t like this situation. I wanted Ruebens to stay and Senna to be in F1.

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