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No guarantees for 2009, Fry warns Barrichello

NEWS STORY
13/05/2008

While some (no names) believe that Rubens Barrichello is one of several drivers on the 2008 F1 grid who really shouldn't be there, and should have retired at the end of 2007 (if not sooner), the Brazilian is adamant that he still has what it takes to participate for at least two more seasons.

Having set a new record on Sunday - depending on what statistician you believe, and how those stats were arrived at - contesting his 257th GP, Barrichello is now setting his sights on the magic 300, which would take him up to around three-quarters of the way through the 2010 season.

"I don't know if I will get to 300 and I don't know if I can reach 300," he told reporters in Turkey at the weekend, "but I will try because a friend of mine used to say that racing was in my blood and I really feel that."

However, quick to pour cold water on the idea that Rubens will reach the 300 with Honda was Nick Fry, who made it clear that the Brazilian will have to demonstrate that he is still competitive, certainly as far as the Japanese team is concerned.

"Rubens is very aware of the situation and I don't think he would want it any other way," Fry told Reuters. "When I hired Rubens, in one conversation I made a mistake and complimented him on his experience. He said "I don't want to be experienced, I want to be fast.'

"Rubens wants to be fast and if he is fast, he'll be here next year," said Fry. "And if he's not fast, he won't. It's as simple as that. I see no signs of Rubens wanting to retire whatsoever. He wants to carry on as long as he's enjoying it and as long as he's quick enough and at the moment he is.

"We haven't had any serious conversations with Rubens," admitted Fry, "we've discussed things but it's not a priority at the moment. As we get towards the summer and into the autumn, then we'll start talking in earnest.

"Because we've worked together now for two and half years and have extended his contract once, it can be renewed very easily. It's not going to be the subject of prolonged negotiation. Either we will both want to do it or we both won't. Once we've both decided one way or the other, it's probably about a three day process."

Barrichello's last points-scoring finish was in Brazil in 2006. Jenson Button scored the team's six points in 2007 and is also responsible for the three points scored thus far in 2008. However, Fry insists that the gulf between the two drivers is not as great as the results might suggest.

"In common with most of the teams, we monitor the performance of the drivers on a race-by-race basis in lots of different respects," he said "Over the last 18 months, although we haven't got anything like the results we would have liked to have got, he is nip-and-tuck with Jenson.

"After that many years of grand prix racing, to retain your enthusiasm and still be that quick is extremely impressive," said Fry. "He's a real person, not someone superficial or who tries to skim over things. You get it from the heart."

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