The F1 world is alight with rumours that everone’s favourite iceman, and 2007 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen is set for a return to the grid for next season with Williams. We like that a lot but, given the way the team is right now, Pastor Maldonado’s hefty sponsorship package will likely see him in the other seat. Which begs the question…

“Where will Rubens Barrichello end up in 2012?”

There are several options for the veteran racer, all with both positive and negative connotations for the most experienced man in F1 history. We’re only touching on a few mind you!

Keep on racing?

Formula One is a different animal to what it was five years ago. While teams could hire a young driver to just pound their car into the ground for a few days a week – or let their actual drivers do it, a la Schumacher – it’s now heavily reliant on how a driver can relay information to the teams in the very precious time they are actually sitting in a car. That’s probably why some younger drivers who may have slotted straight into a seat a few seasons ago are now, in essence, held back. Experience is the new raw pace.

More invaluable experience being passed on – Sutton Images

That’s what makes Rubens such a vital component in terms of being part of a team. There just isn’t a driver on the market with the same kind of experience that isn’t retired and/or tied down to a hefty contract (again, a la Schumacher). Rubens still loves the sport, so why not do what Heikki and Timo did and join a team lower down the field? Imagine the possibilities of someone with his knowledge joining Virgin, or – try not to shudder too much – HRT. He’s still got it, so why call it a day?

Drive for Williams

Bear with us as we know this sounds silly, but think about it: Raikkonen is still not 100% confirmed for 2012. That leaves the door still open for Rubinho. Some even believe that Kimi and Williams could end up like Mansell and McLaren in 1995, in that they just don’t fit. In Mansell’s case, it was quite literally.

Stop entirely?

You have to hand it to Barrichello for his longevity, but there will come a time when he’ll want to hang his helmet up and simply relax. If he was to race in 2012, it would be his 20th consecutive season at the pinnacle of motorsport – a feat in it’s own right.

Think of the kids Rubens - Sutton Images

Yet, you also have to feel for his family. This isn’t an easy sport to be a part of – the event of the past few weeks are testament to that – and with two sons and a wife at home the pressure to stop will be slowly affecting any decision on the future. Plus, he’s got a pretty nice nest-egg, a large home in Sao Paulo and a holiday home in Portugal. It’s not like he needs the money!

Become a Sky pundit?

The Sky deal may be a bad thing for fans, but the flipside of it is that a few racing personalities are going to get a hefty pay packet to front the channel’s coverage. Martin Brundle has been tweeting about what he may or may not be up to, but why should Sky poach established talent when there is plenty elsewhere?

Time to move to other side of the microphone? - Sutton Images

Football is a great example of what a sportsman can do after retiring: plenty of ex-pros don a suit a sit in a studio chipping in with some “pearls of wisdom”. Rubens could make some decent money (again, if he needs it) and still be in the F1 community, which would also mean he could be in the F1 world without the inherent danger. A win-win situation for everyone, we think.

The future is still bright for Rubens Barrichello, as we’ve covered above. Whether it be in the cockpit or out of it, there are plenty of options left for the veteran Brazilian. Where do you think he’ll end up?