The question being asked by many people over the past week is; would Rubens Barrichello joining the IndyCar Series be a positive or a negative? To me, that is a rhetorical question.
The former Brazilian Formula One driver will be testing for KV Racing next week, and the speculation is that the ride could be his if he wants it. While he hasn’t expressed any interest in racing on ovals, everyone can agree that he would be a fierce competitor on the road and street courses.
Barrichello will be at Sebring International Raceway driving a Dallara DW12 for KV Racing as part of a two-day test starting Monday. The fit would seem natural; given his potential teammate would be his long time friend and fellow Brazilian, Tony Kanaan.
Barrichello has spent the last 19 seasons in Formula One, but was replaced in early January at Williams by Bruno Senna. He is an 11-time winner in the series, and recorded 68 podium finishes in his career. He finished runner up in the Championship twice, in 2002 and 2004.
In the past, he has said his wife would not let him race in the IndyCar Series, because of the high-risk speeds on the oval tracks. While understandable given the recent tragedy of Dan Wheldon, there are many reasons why he would be an ideal fit for the IndyCar Series.
The oval thing is being blown way out of proportion. The 2012 IndyCar Series schedule only has four ovals (counting Indianapolis). Why any driver in the world would not want to race at Indianapolis is beyond me. It is the greatest race in the world, and is far more popular globally than the Daytona 500. The event itself is even bigger than Monaco.
Now looking at this from the other angle, you have the majority of the schedule comprised of road and street courses. Obviously the 19 years in Formula One will give him the experience he needs to find his way around the course. Learning the layout of each track will require extra preparation, but it isn’t that big of a deal.
Of course Barrichello has no experience driving this new Dallara DW12, but who in the series does? Honestly, he is in the same boat as all of the other drivers in the series.
Having Barrichello in the IndyCar Series in 2012 would undoubtedly bring more attention to the sport both nationally and globally. KV Racing would definitely benefit from his knowledge and ability to gather information about the car.
Seeing him on the road/street courses battling Dario Franchitti, Will Power, Scott Dixon, and Justin Wilson would be a treat for everyone watching. I can only imagine the frenzy that we would see at the Sao Paulo race in Brazil.
When you look at it big picture, it really would be a win-win for everyone involved.