Motorsports Mondial

Photo: 3i3r

The Party in Brazil has begun! Is it goodbye for Rubinho?

Sebastian Vettel takes his 15th pole for the final race of 2011

(AP) SAO PAULO – Yet to secure a drive in Formula One for next season, veteran Brazilian Rubens Barrichello insists he is not losing too much sleep about the possible end of his 18-year career.

Despite the chance that Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix will be his last ever F1 race, the 39-year-old Barrichello said he will not feel he has failed if he can’t find a team for next year.

“I think it would be sad to be worried about the future,” he said Thursday. “I had 19 lovely seasons … I’ve been doing this for such a long time, I’ve been wanted for such a long time here, so I feel good.”

Barrichello has struggled in his second season with Williams because of the car’s lack of competitiveness, leaving him only 17th in the standings heading into the season finale. The team is yet to announce a new deal with the Brazilian for next year, and there have been rumours that Kimi Raikkonen may return to F1 to replace him in 2012.

“I feel that I still have a lot of youth on me, and it’s not something that I’m asking ‘Please, give me the drive,'” he said. “If somebody wants me to drive on a competitive basis it’s because they believe I can do a very good job. That’s why I’m here.”

Countryman Felipe Massa of Ferrari earlier in the week said he advised Barrichello to retire to avoid having to beg for a drive next season. Massa said Barrichello, one of his idols as well as a friend, shouldn’t be in a position where he has to pay smaller teams to let him drive for another year.

Barrichello has competed in more F1 races than any other driver. Another season in F1 would mark his 20th consecutive year in the sport.

He finished second in the drivers’ standings in 2002 and 2004, both times with Ferrari behind seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. He was third with Brawn GP in 2009 after being outpaced by teammate and eventual champion Jenson Button.

If Barrichello loses his drive at Williams, the Brazilian would be left with only a few options at top teams next season, one of them being Renault.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m11.918s
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m12.099s   + 0.181
 3.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m12.283s   + 0.365
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m12.480s   + 0.562
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m12.591s   + 0.673
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m13.050s   + 1.132
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m13.068s   + 1.150
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m13.298s   + 1.380
 9.  Bruno Senna           Renault              1m13.761s   + 1.843
10.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes
Q2 cut-off time: 1m13.571s Gap **
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m13.584s   + 1.138
12.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m13.801s   + 1.355
13.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m13.804s   + 1.358
14.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m13.919s   + 1.473
15.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m14.053s   + 1.607
16.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m14.129s   + 1.683
17.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m14.182s   + 1.736
Q1 cut-off time: 1m14.571s Gap *
18.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m14.625s   + 1.344
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m15.068s   + 1.787
20.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m15.358s   + 2.077
21.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m16.631s   + 3.350
22.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth         1m16.890s   + 3.609
23.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m17.019s   + 3.738
24.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m17.060s   + 3.779