Rubens Barrichello insists that Formula 1 is not a closed chapter for him, even as he apparently moves closer to securing a deal to race in the IZOD IndyCar Series for 2012.
The Brazilian was dropped by Williams in favor of Bruno Senna earlier this year, but wasted little time in looking at other racing options. After a positive three days of testing for KV Racing at Sebring last month, Barrichello will return to the cockpit of an IndyCar at Infineon Raceway this weekend as efforts are made to sort out a deal.
In an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT, Barrichello admits the possibility of racing on ovals, which was once dismissed by his family for safety fears, represents his biggest challenge assuming a deal gets done to see him in IndyCar full-time.
"I never thought of myself racing on ovals because I've seen accidents and I've lost friends, and my wife never wanted it," he said. "I thought I'd race in F1 for 25 years and then I'd quit. I thought the possibility of IndyCar offering me a chance to race and then not doing the ovals, but that's being too much of a chicken. I love the challenge of going to race on an oval."
Barrichello hasn't hid how much he enjoyed his first IndyCar test and is fully working to make the deal happen for a full season. Even so, and despite the grid being fully occupied in 2012, Barrichello hopes his F1 career has not come to an end. Making reference to the comebacks of Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen, Barrichello said: "I'm leaving my mind very open, I'm leaving my mind probably the same way Schumacher had (when he left), and how Kimi left his mind.
"You never know what might happen. And if I'm not in Formula 1 anymore, I'm going to be around. I want to say goodbye when I'm 60 or something!"
He added: "You never know what Formula 1 is about. People know what I'm capable of and I'm an experienced driver. With so little testing that's obviously high on the list. Last year was hard because all of the contracts were already set."
Barrichello has no hard feelings against Senna for being chosen against him, but has expressed some disappointment about the way Williams handled him not being retained.