Rubens Barrichello will start from 23rd on the grid – the worst grid position of his career – in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after an engine problem sidelined the Williams driver in Q1.
It will also be the modern Williams team's most lowly start to a grand prix since it became a two-car operation in 1978, with both cars occupying the last row of the grid once Pastor Maldonado's ten-place grid penalty is applied.
The team's worst starting position was recorded in the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix, when Jo Vonlanthen qualified 28th for what was then known as Frank Williams Racing Cars. Though cars entered by Sir Frank's earlier operations did post worse qualifying performances.
Barrichello has struggled for track time throughout the Abu Dhabi weekend after missing Friday's opening practice session with an oil pressure problem which called for an engine change. He then suffered another oil leak after a routine engine change on Saturday morning – which meant that through the weekend he only completed 43 practice laps before qualifying.
"This morning we fitted a brand new engine and it was looking great because I had saved one for the end of the season," Barrichello said. "We went out and I had a bit of difficulty with it after two laps and we came back, we tried to review all the situation just before qualifying they told me there was no way so it's even more frustrating. You are so eager to go and you have the mentality to put a very nice lap together and the engine wasn't working.
"It's been a hard weekend in a way because I can't remember myself doing so few laps. I've done P2 and that was it. So I hope that the setup is OK and I hope that I enjoy myself. I try to enjoy myself as much as I can but today is a disappointing day."
Barrichello admitted that 2011 has proved the most challenging of his 19-year F1 career, but said that he still believed Williams can turn its performance around next year.
"Most definitely (it's my toughest season)," he said. "We have been having a tough season. Last year it started tough but the team worked well together and we solved all the problems, this year with all the news of coming and going of people it's been tough to keep the team organised so it is suffering. If they keep it going with a good mentality they will sort it out."
Barrichello's position in the team remains in doubt for next season, with Williams courting Kimi Raikkonen to make a return to the sport, but the Brazilian said that he has far from given up on returning for a 20th season.
"I would love to be sitting in a competitive car next year just like in the past with Honda and Brawn – it's going to be 40 years of age with 20 years of experience so I think it is almost a must for me to be there for next year," he said.
"I'm doing everything I can, I am even looking for sponsors if that's what we need. I'm looking for everything just to show that my passion is behind the steering wheel and I want to be there next year."