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Barrichello Ponders Future After IndyCar Test

Rubens Barrichello Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT PhotographicToday veteran F1 driver Rubens Barrichello completed a two-day test of the new DW12 chassis with IZOD IndyCar Series team KV Racing Technology- which employs good friend and fellow Brazilian racer Tony Kanaan- at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. Below is an account of the test courtesy of Dave Lewandowski at indycar.com - Ed.

There will be quite the conversation in Portuguese between Rubens Barrichello and his wife Silvana on the flight from Orlando, Fla., to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Formula One veteran left Sebring International Raceway, following two days of testing the new Dallara DW12 chassis powered by Chevrolet’s 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, with a sense of accomplishment in providing feedback for longtime friend Tony Kanaan and the KV Racing Technology team. He left with positive thoughts about the car, the atmosphere of the IZOD IndyCar Series and his abilities after a four-month layoff.

He left with an invitation to compete in the series in 2012, and with options. Racing on ovals (there presently are four on the schedule, with the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 the first after four road/street course events) isn’t a deal-breaker. A statement to that effect was made without consideration of ever competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

“I never thought I could come over to this side because I thought I would race 25 years in Formula One and I should be over and couldn’t come this way,” said Barrichello, who has made 332 F1 starts.  “I did say that. It came out of my mouth. It is a not a big issue. It is not a problem. There are so many different situations that I could run. I could run on the road tracks; I could run Indy. There are so many options available, and I’m thankful for the choices at age 39 and still going fast in the car. That’s all I could pray for when I was a kid.

“We’re going to go back to Brazil, the kids are going to go back to school, and I’m sure we’ll be talking about it. I’m not putting pressure on it; I have to think it through. If you go purely from joy, it wouldn’t be a problem. I still have so much passion for the speed and I’m quite young in my mind and I’m not up to my top level of fitness. I’m just getting better and better.

Rubens Barrichello got the KV Racing Technology Chevrolet-powered DW12 up to speed quickly at Sebring. Photo by Phil Abbott/LAT Photographic“I’m just a kid enjoying myself. I woke up a few times before the alarm and wondered if I was on time because I was excited to get behind the wheel.”

Another option for Barrichello, of course, would be a return to Formula One with another team. He said the move to replace him in the second seat at Williams F1 was precipitated by team economics and not his driving.

“I have an open mind,” said Barrichello, who broke into F1 with the Jordan team. “I’ve been living there for 19 years and have been a fan of the Indy series for a long period as well. I’ve been to Indy, Milwaukee, Sao Paulo and many tracks. I like what I saw always; it’s a great atmosphere with great racing.”

Barrichello recorded about 150 miles in the car the first day and a few more miles the second. Team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven said “his feedback is amazing.”

“Whatever happens for the future, all I said is I want Kevin, (co-owner) Jimmy (Vasser) and Tony to remember the day that I was here and say that Rubens tried it, made us go faster and let’s try that at different circuits,” Barrichello said. “I’m truly happy with the times I set and like what I saw.”

Kanaan won't necessarily lobby his compatriot.

"Knowing Rubens, his timeline will be pretty short," Kanaan said. "You can tell by his face he's having a lot of fun."

Oriol Servia (in the Lotus development car), Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport), JR Hildebrand (National Guard Panther Racing), and the Team Penske trio of Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves and Will Power also were on the track Jan. 30.

Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing), who co-drove the winning entry in the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 29, Mike Conway (A.J. Foyt Racing), Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Graham Rahal (Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing) and Charlie Kimball (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing) joined them Jan. 31. This group of Honda-powered cars also will test Feb. 1.

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