Although his season-long status won't be changed to a “rookie,” KV Racing Technology's Rubens Barrichello will complete the rest of his first IZOD IndyCar Series season as a driver afforded some additional benefits.
The benefits include more track time on the Friday morning practice sessions and an extra set of tires with which to use. IndyCar announced the change Monday following a “re-evaluation based on team request.”
IndyCar president of competition Beaux Barfield explained what Barrichello will have to look forward to the rest of the season.
“(Barrichello) will be allowed to participate in the first 30 minutes of the first practice session and he also gets an extra set of tires,” Barfield said. “So that's a benefit. Street circuits that can be quirky and difficult to learn he has the benefit of that extra set of tires and the extra 30 minutes of practice to learn the track quickly and get down to business.”
At Long Beach this weekend, Barrichello will join rookies and entrants outside the top 10 of the championship standings in Group A (10-10:30 a.m. local) on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit, and continue in Group B (10:30-11 a.m.).
Barrichello was left off the rookie roster for the start of the season while Simon Pagenaud, Katherine Legge and Josef Newgarden were termed rookies, and only Newgarden of that group was a raw “rookie” in terms of not having a single IndyCar start prior to St. Petersburg. Another raw series rookie, Luca Filippi, will debut later in 2012 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Tracks where Barrichello has already tested or will test later this year, including Sonoma's Infineon Raceway, now twice as of Monday, will not see him afforded that same extra track time.
He'll also test in a different session at Texas Motor Speedway, in May, participating in a rookie oval test May 6 and one day before the series' full open test held May 7.