After two victories in 2009 with Brawn GP, Rubens was not part of Mercedes’ plans for the brand’s return to Formula 1.
In the market during 2009 he signed with Williams F1 for 2010, but his fine end of the season also attracted McLaren, who came to court him too late.
“I would have been a team-mate of Lewis Hamilton,” Barrichello recalls. “I signed a contract with Williams around Spa in September 2009. Then McLaren came and asked for my services.”
The Brazilian remained true to his commitment and didn’t cancel his contract: “The deal was good. I could have had more money and I could still cancel. But I didn’t. Williams was counting on me.”
Williams has had a difficult decade since then, and Barrichello feels the team has been lured too much, out of necessity in particular, by well paying drivers: “Unfortunately, the story of the last ten years was all about money.”
“Instead of paying a driver, they got money and survived thinking it was a good idea. And if you see where Williams is today, you might think they made the wrong decisions at that time with that money.”
But shortly after his departure at the end of 2011, the British team claimed a victory that remains its last to date, causing Barrichello to regret: “It was hard not to be in the car, especially when they won the Grand Prix in Barcelona in 2012. Yes, it was hard not to be there.”