Mike Stevens | Oct 13, 2009

FORMULA 1 CHAMPIONSHIP contender Rubens Barrichello is on the verge of signing a potential two-year deal with Williams F1 next season, according to reports in his native Brazil.

Newspaper Folha de Sao Paolo said the former Ferrari driver will leave Brawn GP at the end of the current campaign and “has already signed a contract with Williams for the 2010 season with a mutual option to extend for another year”.

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Barrichello’s move to Williams is likely to see Nico Rosberg head in the other direction and join Brawn GP in 2010.

Rosberg had previously been linked with the second seat at McLaren, but following Mercedes-Benz’s increased partnership with Brawn GP, the manufacturer was keen to see a German pilot behind the wheel of one of its machines.

While Barrichello’ switch to the Grove-based team has long been expected, it ensures another crucial piece of the 2010 driver puzzle is now firmly in place and confirms Jenson Button will remain at Brawn next season.

Barrichello is expected to be joined at Williams by Nico Hulkenberg, the team’s German test driver who emerged victorious in this season’s GP2 series, following the path into F1 taken by the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Rosberg.

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Meanwhile, Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi says he expects a tough initiation into Formula 1 as he makes his debut deputising for the injured Timo Glock.

Glock suffered cracked vertebrae following a heavy collision at Suzuka last week, forcing Toyota to replace the German with test driver Kobayashi.

Although the upcoming race will be Kobayashi’s first in F1, he competed in practice at Japan after Glock was forced to rest with an illness, providing him with crucial preparation time in the cockpit.

“I have never driven at Interlagos before but I know the layout from computer games and television so I don't think it will take too long to learn," he said.

"It's going to be a tough weekend but I feel ready for the challenge and I know the team is supporting me 100 percent.”

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