BIRMINGHAM, USA - Veteran driver Rubens Barrichello has a record 322
Formula 1 starts - among them 11 wins - and 1.5-million Twitter
Despite all that, Barrichello says he will be a rookie during the 2012 IndyCar season.
said piloting a still-unfamiliar car at venues where he's never raced
makes him every bit the neophyte and deserving of the extra practice
session granted to rookies and drivers ranked outside the top 10.
'I'M A ROOKIE'
said: "I'm definitely a rookie. I can see the likes of (Josef)
Newgarden as a rookie. He's done Indy Lights. He knows the track, but
he's a rookie because he's so young. (Simon) Pagenaud is a rookie but he
has done races before.
"People are saying that I have 19 years of experience and I'm not a rookie," he said.
don't want to run for the championship as a rookie. But when I go to
Long Beach - let's say I finish top-10 here - I don't know the track. I
don't know the car very well, and maybe I have only an hour and a half
to try the track. I think this is not right, because I am a rookie. I
need that half-hour to learn the track."
Barrichello, in his
debut season in KV Racing Technology's No.8 car, will compete in his
second IndyCar event, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
spent two days testing at Barber Motorsports Park, even if one was
marred by rain. IndyCar rules merely state that the series decides who
receives rookie status.
Beaux Barfield, president of competition,
said he made the decision on Barrichello based on precedent and level
of experience. IndyCar did not classify Sebastian Bourdais, a winner of
31 open-wheel races, as a rookie in 2011.
In 2012, Katherine
Legge (28 Champ Car starts) and Pagenaud are rookies. Pagenaud competed
in one season of Champ Car in 2007 and ran three IndyCar races in 2011.
Nascar, former Formula 1 star Juan Pablo Montoya was the 2007 Rookie of
the Year. Going back even further, Nigel Mansell was Formula 1 champion
but counted as a Cart rookie in 1993 before winning the points title.
Kanaan, Barrichello's team mate, also argues that Barrichello meets the
definition of a rookie. He said: "I still don't understand how a guy
that never raced in IndyCar cannot be classified as a rookie. I
understand he's got experience, but so had Simon Pagenaud. I still don't
Improving on a rocky debut is of more
immediate concern for Barrichello and his team. He was 17th in St
Petersburg after running out of fuel with a couple of laps left on the
street course. Mechanical difficulties also limited him to eight laps in
the first practice session.
Now he shifts to a road course and Kanaan thinks he could finish up front.
said: "I know he's going to do well. I have no doubt how good he's
going to do so for me there will be no surprises. Hopefully he's
understanding more and more.
"It'll be the first race he comes
back to a track where he's already tested. I think he can win every
race. I definitely have a lot of faith in the guy and I know he's
NOTHING TO PROVE
Barrichello ran 25 laps
before the first qualifying session was stopped by lightning on the
3.8km, 17-turn course. He was fifth-fastest with a lap of 1min11.60.
champion Will Power was fastest (1min11.29), followed by Helio
Castroneves (1min11.50), Takuma Sato (1min11.56) and rookie Josef
Newgarden (1min11.59). A number of drivers didn't bother slogging
through the afternoon practice session under heavy rain, with
Barrichello's nine laps the third most ahead of Saturday's qualifying.
the Brazilian wants a better weekend. He certainly has the seasoning to
deal with setbacks such as St Petersburg and any critics during his
Kanaan said: "We've got to a level in our careers - I
don't think we need to prove anything to anybody. It's for ourselves
and to do good for our team. If people want to bash or criticize him, I
don't think he cares. He knows what he's doing and when the time is
right, he's going to do it."