Brawn Driver Rubens Barrichello now says that he has yet to sign a deal for 2010 and beyond. It had been reported previously in the Brazilian press that Barrichello had already inked a deal with Williams for $8 million per year, a four-fold increase over his current salary at Brawn. But this report might have been premamture.
According to a report in The Guardian, Barrichello said yesterday, “I haven’t signed with anybody yet. But it’s true that I’m talking with Williams and Brawn.”
Should Barrichello opt to stay at Brawn, this might or might not affect Nico Rosberg’s future plans. Rosberg, currently a Williams pilot, has most recently been linked with a switch to Brawn. This move would at least partly be contingent upon a 70% buyout of the Brawn team by Mercedes. The German manufacturer has long been keen to have a German driver on their roster. This ambition had led more than a few paddock pundits to predict that Rosberg would soon be seen in the silver-grey Mercedes livery at Team McLaren. However, with a Mercedes-Brawn buyout in play, this opens up Rosberg’s options. It’s very possible that Mercedes see Rosberg having a better chance to shine when partnered with Jenson Button at Brawn rather than Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.
Should Barrichello stay at Brawn, this wouldn’t necessarily preclude a move by Rosberg to the Brackley team. Jenson Button notably has yet to sign a contract for next year, and it has been rumored that he and Brawn have been held up by a salary stalemate. Should they fail to resolve this, it could be that Button relocates to his former team at Grove. Likely, Mercedes would be happy with either outcome.
Parallel to this has been the rumor that Kimi Raikkonen, recently outsted from the Ferrari lineup for next year, would partner Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2010. Certainly the Kimi option would make sense for McLaren. He’s a former world champ, a proven race-winner, and an known entity. He raced for McLaren from 2002 through 2006, so the Woking team are thoroughly familiar with his habits and abilities. While Nico Rosberg is clearly a rising young star, McLaren might view Rosberg as more of a gamble. So Rosberg’s move to Brawn might be a winning arrangement for everyone involved.
Image by Ben Novakovic, licensed through Creative Commons.