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Barrichello leaves Ferrari for BAR
Alan Baldwin |
August 16, 2005 13:56 IST
Last Updated: August 16, 2005 15:12 IST
Brazilian Rubens Barrichello has set his sights on becoming Formula One champion with BAR after six years as Michael Schumacher's loyal Ferrari sidekick.
The Honda-powered team confirmed on Tuesday that the 33-year-old would, as expected, be joining them next season on a multi-year contract.
"My target remains winning the drivers' title and to achieve that I felt that I needed a renewed motivation," Barrichello said in a statement.
Champions Ferrari have already signed Barrichello's compatriot Felipe Massa from Sauber as his replacement alongside seven-times world champion Schumacher.
"Signing Rubens represents another exciting milestone in BAR Honda's development and in Rubens' own career," said BAR boss Nick Fry in a statement.
"This is a strong and successful team that is determined to achieve its world championship ambitions and we are confident that these will be realised soon.
"Rubens is not only an excellent driver but he has the experience of building a race and championship winning team and these skills are very important as we work to take BAR Honda to the next level," added Fry.
Barrichello has been at Ferrari since 2000 and, with Schumacher, has helped that team win the constructors' championship every year since his arrival.
He has won nine races with them and finished runner-up to Schumacher in the 2002 and 2004 seasons.
BAR will be Barrichello's fourth team after making his debut with Jordan in 1993 and driving for now-defunct Stewart from 1997 to the end of 1999.
The Brazilian, a loyal number two at Ferrari where Schumacher was the favoured son, has scored 482 points in 209 starts with 61 podium positions.
He thanked everyone at Ferrari for "six fantastic years" but said he is ready for a new challenge.
"I have been watching BAR Honda's progress for some time and have been struck by the spirit and determination of a team that has all the right ingredients to win races and go on to win world championships," he said.
BAR were runners-up to Ferrari last season but have struggled in 2005 after being disqualified from one race and suspended for two more for breaking the weight and fuel regulations.
"We are sure that the proven track record Rubens brings with him will be of great benefit towards achieving our goal of winning the F1 world championship," said Honda Racing development president Yasuhiro Wada.
Barrichello has been a friend since boyhood of Gil de Ferran, the Brazilian CART champion who this year was appointed BAR's sporting director.
BAR have Briton Jenson Button and Japan's Takuma Sato racing for them this year. Button has signed a deal with Williams but now wants to stay where he is.
The team's ideal line-up would be Barrichello alongside Button but the team could have an all new look next year if the Englishman is forced to honour his contract.
Sato's position at the team, despite being a Honda protege, remains in doubt with the Japanese scoring his first point of the season only last month in Hungary.