Barrichello in frame for 2014 Sauber seat (2nd Update) UPDATE #2
This rumor is downgraded to 'false today. Monisha Kaltenborn has backtracked, after earlier hinting Rubens Barrichello is in the running to return to F1 next year with Sauber.
|Rubens Barrichello simply too old for F1 success|
Amid reports the veteran Brazilian is keen to return and has the backing of sponsors, Sauber boss Kaltenborn earlier said "let's see" when asked about the rumors.
But she told reporters on Saturday she only did not categorically rule out the 41-year-old for 2014 out of respect.
"I don't think it is right that I just so abruptly say 'No, we are not going to talk'," said Kaltenborn.
But "I am ruling out that he would drive for us. Maybe it is better if one is that clear about it," she added.
Also hearing bad news on Saturday was Nico Hulkenberg, following rumors he might be in the running to replace Sergio Perez at McLaren next year.
However, reports indicated McLaren is in fact concerned the tall German would tip its 2014 car over the minimum weight limit.
Hulkenberg admitted on Thursday he doesn't think the British team is a "realistic option" for next year.
And team boss Martin Whitmarsh told Sky on Saturday: "I expect things to work out with Sergio. We're not talking to Nico at the moment."
Whitmarsh also told reporters to expect to hear news about high-profile recruitments in the Woking based team's technical department, towards the end of a particularly bad season for McLaren.
"There are some as-yet unannounced (recruitments) that will be headline-grabbing when they get announced," he said.10/03/13 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. Monisha Kaltenborn on Thursday admitted Rubens Barrichello is in the running to return to F1 with Sauber in 2014.
The rumors about the veteran Brazilian's return had even mentioned the possibility he might race for the Swiss team at Interlagos this November, but Kaltenborn ruled that out.
"I don't see any possibility there because we have no reason to change our two drivers for that race," the Sauber team boss told reporters in Korea.
But as for the speculation 41-year-old Barrichello - who has raced in IndyCar and Brazilian touring cars since losing his Williams seat in 2011 - might be Sergey Sirotkin's teammate in 2014, Kaltenborn sounded more open-minded.
"There are a couple of options out there," she said.
"We know what he (Barrichello) has -- his experience, we know that he'd like to come back. So let's see."09/27/13 (GMM) Rubens Barrichello has emerged as a shock contender to drive for Sauber in 2014.
With Nico Hulkenberg expected to move either to Lotus or McLaren next year, Hinwil based Sauber has already said Russian teenager Sergey Sirotkin is set to make his debut in 2014.
But Sirotkin alongside team incumbent Esteban Gutierrez, 22, would constitute a very young and inexperienced lineup.
Barrichello, the 41-year-old Brazilian who lost his Williams seat at the end of 2011, would more than solve those problems.
His return to F1 would also be welcomed by Bernie Ecclestone, who has been working to help Felipe Massa find sponsors so that the grid is not represented by a Brazilian for the first time since 1970.
Former Ferrari and Honda driver Barrichello is also a winner of 11 grands prix, and according to Auto Motor und Sport he has burst back into contention for a 2014 seat with a reported 'two-digit million sum' in personal sponsorship.
Barrichello, who has been travelling to races this year as a pundit for Brazilian television Globo, is quoted as saying: "I would only have to train my neck.
"Then I could race tomorrow," the Paulista, who holds the record for the most grands prix ever contested by a driver, added.