Rubens Barrichello will join the Williams Formula 1 team in 2010 according to a report in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. Barrichello, who reportedly is driving for Brawn GP this year at a salary of $2 million, will apparently join Williams at a salary of $8 million.
Both Barrichello and team mate Jenson Button agreed to salary cuts at the beginning of this season when fledgling team Brawn GP was trying to get its financial house in order, in the wake of a last minute buy-out from Honda. Presumably, they are both currently driving for rates well below their true market value. According to reports, there has been an understanding between the drivers and team boss Ross Brawn that once the team attained more solid financial footing the drivers’ compensation would be brought back to previous levels. There have been rumors, however, that Brawn has been slow to agree to new contracts at old salary levels. In particular, it has been suggested that Brawn’s foot-dragging in this respect is behind the delay in the announcement of Button’s plans for next year.
It is thought that Barrichello’s new deal at Williams is for one year, with a mutual option on a second year. This is a cautious time line, but it’s understandable, considering that Barrichello is the oldest driver on the grid, at age 37. He is also the most experienced Formula 1 driver of all time, with 286 races under his belt, and likely his seasoning will be considered an asset if, as predicted by many, he is joined by rookie (and Willi Weber protege) Nico Hulkenberg next year.
Last year, when he became the new record-holder for total number of Grands Prix contested, Barrichello announced to the world that he expected to reach the magic number of 300 races. Assuming he completes at least one year with Williams, his prediction will come true.
Image by Ben Novakovic, licensed through Creative Commons.