Rubens Barrichello says his enthusiasm for Formula 1 continues to grow even as he approaches his landmark 300th grand prix start in Belgium this weekend, and that he has not even considered when he might retire.
The Brazilian explained that he had been raring to return to the cockpit during the summer break, a feeling he doubted he would have had earlier in his career.
"The bit that touched me is how competitive I am at 300 [races]," said Barrichello. "I think [Riccardo] Patrese was at 256 and started to drop down. I think he could have raced for longer.
"But I feel powerful. I've been back to Brazil and when I was within five years of Formula 1, I've always felt that the holidays were not big enough, I wanted more time. Right now, I don't know why, it feels different. After one week I wanted to be driving the car again. I think my wife is terrified because she thinks I'm going to be driving the car forever..."
The Williams driver is confident that he is getting better and better with age and experience – and that because of this, he has still not ruled out becoming World Champion before he retires, even though most would see him as being in the twilight of his F1 career.
"I've made steps every year making myself better as a person and as a driver," Barrichello said. I've been honest with myself, always. When you make a mistake, you make a mistake and you say so. I think teams appreciate that. I think that's why I have this longevity.
"I think in life you have to become better all the time. The reason I'm still working in Formula 1 with so much pleasure is because I still aim to be World Champion. People might say I'm crazy. But you would never have said that with a Honda, in 2008, I would have finished on the podium, but I did. We have to dream of the impossible and it becomes reality."
Barrichello acknowledged that deciding when to retire would not be easy, but reckons he is sufficiently self-aware that he will know when the time is right.
"I feel that it's going to be a hard decision to say I'm going to stop," he said. "I've been so honest with myself, that the day I don't feel there's such a big pleasure in taking the corners will be the day I know it's time to shut down."