According to a report in The Guardian today, Ross Brawn has offered Reubens Barrichello little assurance of a seat at the team table next year. While Brawn conceded that both of his current drivers, Barrichello and Jenson Button, were doing “a fantastic job,” he went on to say, regarding the 2010 driver lineup, “It’s still to be decided. We’re working on it. We’ve other things we have to sort out, and then the drivers will come after that.”
It has been rumored that Mercedes is negotiating a 75% buyout of Brawn GP, and Brawn’s remark certainly lends credence to that possibility. Mercedes sporting director Norbert Haug has made no secret of the fact that he would love to have a German driver in the Mercedes F1 stable. Williams pilot Nico Rosberg has often been mentioned in this connection, although until recently it was thought he would take Heikki Kovalainen’s place at McLaren. With the emergence of the Brawn buyout story, however, it now appears that Rosberg might be shuffled to Brawn instead.
If the latter scenario should come to pass, that would leave Barrichello as odd man out in the next round of musical chairs. The irony, of course, is that during the latter half of this season Barrichello has consistently outperformed his team mate, and current championship leader, Jenson Button.
With a 14 point gap separating the two Brawn drivers, and four races left on the calendar, Barrichello still has a decent mathematical chance of overtaking Button for the title. This duel might not be resolved until the final race of the season, a scenario that has been the norm since the retirement of Michael Schumacher. This playbook would be doubly ironic if Brawn had already decided to replace the man (Barrichello) who ultimately took the title.
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