There’s been a lot of talk recently about the prospect of Rubens Barrichello leaving the Williams F1 team at the end of this season.I can understand why Rubens would have the itch to leave the once dominant team. It can’t be much fun trudging around in the midfield and he probably thought that he would never be in that position again after the 2009 season when he showed in the second half of the season just what he was capable of by out performing team mate and eventual World Champion, Jenson Button. But Williams would surely not want to lose such an experienced driver, especially one that is considered to be one of the best at developing and setting up a race car.
Williams are undergoing some big changes at the moment with Sam Michael and several others making way for new blood and Renault taking over from Cosworth in the supply of engines. With all of this going on the last thing they should do is replace Barrichello, not least – in my view – because there isn’t really anyone else of his calibre available!
The Force India drivers have been mentioned but Sutil hasn’t been great in recent years and this season has been overshadowed by di Resta’s performance. I think that Mercedes would want to leave di Resta in a car powered by their engine ready for a move to the factory team when Schumacher finally calls it a day and I’m not sure that Hulkenberg would want to return to the team that dumped him after his impressive debut season (although on a personal level I would love to see him back in a Williams).
I suppose with Mike Coughlan joining the team a call could go to Pedro de la Rosa, but you’d hope that Williams would have learnt the lesson about employing a long term test driver of mature years after giving Wurz a drive a couple of years ago. Before he’d completed one season he had realised he was past it and quit with a couple of races to go, also de la Rosa was not at all impressive in the Sauber last season.
Any other suggestions? We’d need them to be experienced, fast and a good team leader because let’s face it Maldonado is no team leader!
Due to recent speculation of a return to Formula 1 by Kimi Raikkonen after he paid a visit to the Williams factory, I have decided to update this post with my (somewhat well documented) feelings on the prospect of the Iceman at Williams.
In my view Kimi has always been a bit of a car breaker, and even if Williams do get extra sponsor money from him driving for them will it be enough to replace all the bits he will destroy with off track excursions?
Then there’s the age old question of his motivation, or rather the lack thereof. His last season for Ferrari was the epitome of his attitude if things weren’t going his way, he just doesn’t bother. Take his current season in the World Rally Championship, he was placed well within the top ten of the driver’s title chase and one of his two nominated long haul rallies is next on the calendar (all driver’s must compete in at least two rallies outside of Europe to be in contention of the world title). Kimi doesn’t feel like going all the way to Australia and as there are no other long haul rallies in 2011 he is excluded from the championship, and yet he seems fine with that.
So what happens next season if he is piloting the Williams-Renault and suddenly realises that he is rarely going to finish in the points, let alone fight for a championship?
My final point is going to concern the sponsors, how are they going to take it when the driver they have given Williams extra money specifically to sign, decides that he doesn’t feel like making the personal appearances they expect him to?
Too many questions that I fear we all know the answers too and so my feeling is still one of keeping Rubens on board, yes he speaks out occasionally but he is a consistent driver who will be able to tell the team if they are better off compared to previous years and will fight for every position, points paying or not.