4 Mar 2009

Barrichello expects to race this F1 season

6:35 am on 4 March 2009

The Brazilian motor racing driver Rubens Barrichello expects to be thrown a Formula One lifeline once Honda confirm the survival of their team.

Barrichello says his faith says that next week he'll be driving a competitive car in the tests in Barcelona despite not having any written assurances.

Barrichello is Formula One's most experienced driver but his career appeared to be over at the end of last season when Bruno Senna, nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton, was handed a Honda test.

However, Honda's decision in December to pull out of the sport and sell the British-based team has revived the former Ferrari driver's hopes of adding to his record number of starts.

With the most significant rule changes in decades and no testing allowed during the season under new cost-cutting measures, Barrichello's experience has made him a more attractive option than the rookie Senna.

If confirmed, Barrichello looks sure to partner Britain's Jenson Button in an unchanged lineup.

Honda have yet to confirm the sale of the team but, with the season starting in Australia in just over 3 weeks, a management buyout led by team principal Ross Brawn appears imminent.

McLaren's partners Mercedes have agreed to provide the engines and the car could have a private shakedown at Silverstone this weekend.