Rubens Barrichello confirms move to IndyCar


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Rubens Barrichello has confirmed his switch to IndyCar for 2012

Rubens Barrichello will race in the IndyCar championship this year, he announced in a press conference in Sao Paulo today.

The former Williams driver has joined KV Racing who he has tested for in recent weeks. His team mates in the three-car outfit will be Tony Kanaan and EJ Viso.

Barrichello said: “I am thrilled, it is something very new to me. I need to thank everyone involved, especially Tony because he has been involved for a long time.

“I would also like to thank my sponsors, BMC, Embrase and Locaweb for their help. This is a new experience, but I am very very happy. With all my experience I will start as a rookie, but I think I will get better as the year progresses.

“My main thing is to be an addition to KV Racing Technology. They have been doing very well and Tony brought the team to a different level last year, so I hope with my contribution we can build on this and take the team to another level. I am extremely happy and have a big smile on my face.”

He will join fellow former F1 drivers Takuma Sato, Sebastien Bourdais and Justin Wilson in the championship this year.

Barrichello will contest all 16 rounds on the 2012 IndyCar calendar which includes seven races on street tracks, five on ovals and four at road courses.

Barrichello revealed his children had persuaded his wife to let him contest the oval races, after he’d previously said he wouldn’t race on ovals.

Barrichello will drive for IndyCar team KV Racing

KV Racing Technology co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven said: “I was at Sebring when Rubens first got into an IndyCar. The smile when he got out of the car was a great moment and lasted for three days.

“Rubens ended up the fastest at the end of the test, showing the speed he is capable of and his experience setting up a car. Teamed with his "brother" Tony Kanaan this is going to be an exciting and successful season for the drivers, the team and the fans.”

Barrichello, who holds the record for most F1 starts with 322, will make his IndyCar debut as a rookie on March 25th in the season-opening race on the St Petersburg street circuit in Florida. The fourth race of the season will be his home event at another street track in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

His first oval race will be the Indianapolis 500 on May 27th. Former F1 driver Jean Alesi has said he will compete in this year’s race as a one-off.

Barrichello will race the Dallara DW12 IndyCar which is being introduced this year.

The new design features rear wheel surrounds designed to limit the chance of cars getting airborne when contact is made, as happened in the crash which claimed Dan Wheldon’s life last October.

Here’s video of Barrichello testing for KV Racing, who will use Chevrolet engines this year:

See the full list of 2012 IndyCar teams and drivers.


Browse all 2012 F1 season articles

Images © Williams/LAT, KV Racing

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Rubens Barrichello confirms move to IndyCar”

  1. It’s so wonderful to see Rubens make a new start of it. It is a perfect time to join Indycar, with the new engines and cars the field is leveled and the excitement, the potential of the series has gone up dramatically. Here’s to hoping Barrichello can find something in Indycar that he never would have found in that awful Williams, the podium.

    1. @adam-tate Agreed – I think this is the best possible move for Barrichello with no places left in F1 this year. And it’s a massive fillip for IndyCar.

      Really looking forward to the new season now. We’ll run F1 Fanatic Live for the first race and we’ll certainly do some more during the season including the Indianapolis 500.

      1. Awesome, thankyou @Keith-Collantine !

      2. Yeah, he’s the perfect guy to get more ppl watching!
        People in Europe will watch for him as an ex-F1 driver. And being a Brazilian there will be much attention in the whole American continent.
        Let’s hope he can do ‘ a Nige’ :)

      3. @keithcollantine Brilliant! I couldn’t have picked a better season to start enjoying IndyCar.

  2. He’ll stay there for 20 years or so.

    1. @kobayashi 24 Nah, he’ll stay for 19 and then not be able to get a seat for a 20th.
      During that time he will drive for midfield, dominant, midfield, back-of-grid, dominant, and back-of-grid teams (in that order).

  3. I was hoping Rubens would hang up his helmet, spend time with his family and maybe do a bit for the BBC or Sky. Hope he stays safe out there.

    1. He’s extremely passionate about racing and it’s great to see he’ll continue racing at a high level. And it should give him some more time with his family, given that the races are closer to his home.

  4. Good for RB and I think a great add of Indycar. I will no doubt pay more attention to the series this year. I think RB will have a blast.

    1. Meant to say ‘great add FOR Indycar’…

    2. I’ll be keeping an eye on it as well! :D

  5. The sound on that on-board is quite simply amazing <3 Really glad he's found somewhere though!

  6. I sure hope he make an impression. His experience from all those years and reported skill in car setup should come quite handy. Looking forward to seeing him crowned “rookie of the year” when the season ends!

    1. @bascb Poor Josef Newgarden has got rather stronger competition than he bargained for!

      1. Indeed, I think Rubens really has a lot going for him. And he is clearly as enthusiastic as when he first joined Ferrari.

    2. Yeah I think that is extremely possible…there are some drivers in Indycar with a ton of experience in the series…winning experience at that…but there are also a lot of drivers who RB should be able to trounce given his racing experience in F1, and I could easily see him knocking on the experienced drivers’ doors before too long.

    3. I’d put my money on Simon Pagenaud taking home that gong.

      1. I’m not sure Simon qualifies for that gong any longer as he raced 3 (or 4?) times last year as a substitute for various people.

      2. P.S. The aforementioned people (Pagenaud, Newgarden and Barrichello) will be all competing for the Rookie of the Year honours at the 500 though. :)

  7. By the way the press conference is still being streamed live, occasionally in English, if you want to watch:

    1. I had it on for a while (listening, the view was not that interesting), some nice things being talked about, although my portuguese is not good enough to understand much of it.

  8. Great news, for Barrichello and Indycar. He might well be there for another 10-15 years, considering Emmo went on until he was 49 years and his big crash at the Michigan 500 which ended his career and Mario Andretti was 54 years when he finally quit. A great addition for Indycar, with a new car, new engines and a new driver that is able of winning races.

    1. My thoughts also went to Emmo and his long and illustrious Indy Car career. Here’s hoping Ruby can do much of the same *crosses fingers*

      1. Let’s hope Rubens will be a worthy successor to Emmo. *crosses fingers as well*

  9. SO. EXCITED. Even though I know it’s highly unlikely, I really hope he pulls a Mansell and takes the championship right out of the gate. There’d be some sweet justice in that.

    I also wonder if he’ll be running that fluorescent green scheme or if that’s only for Tony’s car. Kinda hope he has something a little less… garish…

    1. @joey-poey I think they had a different-coloured car on a projection screen during the press conference:

      1. @keithcollantine, @joey-poey, KV racing now posted a picture of Rubens in front of that screen. Looks like a really nice livery, a bit what some people hoped the Telmex sponsored Sauber would look like

        1. I dig it :D

  10. Obviously thrilled for Rubens. I was very much looking forward to this year’s championship anyway with Canadian James Hinchcliffe due to make a big step forward. This is just icing on the cake.
    However, I can’t ignore the aching in the pit of my stomach. His first oval race will be the Indy 500? That’s scary. Even if he’s up to scratch, there are always a few out there who aren’t.

    1. Mansell’s first attempt at an oval was Phoenix and he crashed in practice… but as for his first race on an oval, it was the ’93 Indy 500. And he could have won but for messing up a restart and getting passed by Emmo and Arie Luyendyk.

  11. Fantastic news for a series I don’t usually follow. Now I’ll be cheering for Rubens.

    IndyCar makes a step foward with this announcement too.

    1. +1, breathe of fresh air for Ruby, sadly we won’t be seeing him raise the no.1 finger/fist after pulling one over Schumi anymore (Hungary 2010, Monaco last year). Wish him all the best, hopefully Indycar will be the ideal catergory where he can fully demonstrate his raw speed.

  12. Bittersweet, isn’t it? On the one hand, I’m happy for him and that he’s found something, but on the other hand, that basically confirms he’s out of F1 for good. I can’t see him coming back next season even if he’s offered a drive. The fact he didn’t get a proper send-off with a massive party and lots of tributes is a travesty. I’m so disappointed that one of the best personalities to have ever driven an F1 car has been kicked out the back door without anyone noticing. He deserved so much more than this. Plus it would have been nice to see him cry on TV one more time! :P

    1. Ah, well just think that if he makes an impression he will probably drop by at the Austin GP or the Brazil GP so they can give him a nice party for old times sake. And who knows @damonsmedley, maybe he will be hailed as a champion!

  13. I thought some time ago it wouldn’t happen as he had said he wouldn’t race on ovals, but now it makes sense to race all season. I really wish the best for Rubens and I hope he can be as successful in IndyCar as he was in F1 (maybe a bit more :P ).

  14. Fred Schechter
    1st March 2012, 16:30

    It was so great to see him out there Saturday (clearly the video is from Sunday, there were a bucketload of humans Saturday, Sunday was a private test). He obviously was going even faster Sunday. They were going faster than last year’s quali speeds. Since I’ve still never been to an F1 race, this was my first time watching him live. Such a delight. Definitely more use of the car and the team looked very comfortable with him on Saturday (it was his 2nd test with them). So excited he’s here!! He’ll be fine on the ovals people, relax, remember 326 races, 322 starts, 11 wins, and 2nd in the championship twice, and third another 2 times. Rubens will be just fine. I’ll be putting my money down with the punters for a championship like when Nigel was here. Go Rubens!!!!!!!

    1. It was really nice in the press conference hearing the team owners talk about it. I think it was Vasser who said that he didn’t even know why Rubens got into Kanaan’s car at the first test. And bang he got the fastest lap of all runners out of it!

      1. Fred Schechter
        1st March 2012, 19:41

        Yep, so very very excited!!!

  15. Great news! I was contemplating if I should make the short trip to Birmingham, but now it’s a sure thing!

    Anyone else going to that race….April 1??

    I’ve heard they have a cool car museum there too

    1. How far is the track from you? I’ve heard great things about it! However, all the way up in Connecticut, it is a loooonnng trip…

      1. I’m in Atlanta, so its about 130 miles?…2 & 1/2 hours. Too close not to go.

        You might be better off going to Milwaukee/Baltimore/Toronto, but Birmingham in April would be a nice warm vacation for you!

  16. Good luck! :)

  17. F1’s loss is Indycar’s gain

    Will miss Rubens but a fresh challenge will good for him

    I wish him luck :)

  18. I guess I have a reason to start watching IndyCar then :)

  19. Legomanshair
    1st March 2012, 21:48

    He should do well out there ex f1 drivers usually do…I hope he wins the title. I hope he is safe though. Would love to see Schumacher go out there with a Mercedes indycar team built around him next year that would be awesome and these 2 stalwarts could renew their lifelong rivalry in a new arena

  20. I hope he wins the championship :)

  21. Slackbladder
    2nd March 2012, 7:56

    So many positive comments for such an accomplished driver, show ’em how it’s done Rubens!

  22. Ben (@dirtyscarab)
    2nd March 2012, 18:19

    Really good news.
    I’ll certainly go out to watch him @ the Baltimore Grand Prix this year as it’s just on my doorstep. Can’t wait to see how he fairs in the road course championship (For those who didn’t know, they have a separate ‘mini championship’ of road courses + ovals).

    Providing he gets to grips with the car quickly he may up with Will Power on the road courses this year. Ovals though may be a bit of a stumbling block for him I fear…

    The series recently took a massive blow what with Dan’s death and the every popular (but slow) Danica Patrick leaving for NASCAR so to have someone like Rubens behind the wheel should pique quite a bit of interest and bring new fans in.

  23. Absolutely brilliant outcome for Rubens, arguably better than another season at Williams. A fresh start for him and a great boost for the sport. I’ll be tuning in and I can’t wait. I’ll be new to IndyCar too!

    Best of luck Rubens but I’m sure you’ll be fine.

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