Rubens Barrichello became the most experienced F1 driver of all time earlier this year.
But that, his nine Grand Prix wins and a well-deserved podium in the rain at Silverstone this year may not be enough to earn him a place on the 2009 grid.
Should Honda keep Barrichello?
Rubens Barrichello is his third year with Honda. But the season in which he’s compared most favourably with team mate Jenson Button has also been the one where the team has performed most poorly.
The RA108 started the year as a slow car. Months of limited development as the team prioritise the RA109, built to the radically different 2009 regulations, have not made things better.
Last year if a Honda was doing conspicuously well it was usually Button’s. But Barrichello shone in the rain at Silverstone to score an excellent third place – the team’s only podium since 2006. And he was set to capitalise on the safety car deployment at Singapore when he suffered an untimely retirement.
Alonso’s prospects of joining the team were reported in some quarters as being a done deal earlier in this year. But having won the last two Grands Prix on the trot – something which seemed unthinkable even two months ago – Alonso might now be leaning towards staying.
Senna would be a far riskier choice: the GP2 runner-up has looked quick but short on experience.
Should either of these drivers get the nod from Honda many expect Barrichello is the one who’ll be moved aside. He had some critical words for how long the team has taken to reach its decision this weekend:
There is a lot of silence at Honda right now, and I think this is tiresome. I’ve never been in a situation like this, without a contract for next year this late in the season. I’ve made it clear that if someone offers me a good contract for the next three years, I’ll sign it. I see my future in a F1 car, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world.
Do you think F1’s most experienced driver should get another year in 2009? Is he aiming too high by asking for a three-year deal this late in his career?
Read more about the 2009 F1 season