- Barrichello back in the running for Williams seat
- Williams splits with title sponsor
- Bianchi hints at 'important role' for 2012
Barrichello back in the running for Williams seat
Rubens Barrichello is right back in the frame to retain his race seat at Williams, according to reports.
It had been expected the Brazilian veteran would not get the chance to race a 20th consecutive season in F1 next year as the British team eyed a new teammate - perhaps Adrian Sutil - for Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.
But the Gulf Today newspaper quotes sources close to the 39-year-old as saying from England: "(Barrichello) has come back into the frame and now has a reasonable chance of a Williams drive in 2012."
It has been rumoured Barrichello, whose tally well beyond 300 Grands Prix is an outright F1 record, has managed to amass $5 million in personal sponsorship to offer Williams - about the same potentially brought to the team by German Sutil's backer Medion.
The Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary wrote: "Rubens Barrichello is reportedly right back in contention (for the seat) having been almost counted out at the Brazilian GP in November."
Williams splits with title sponsor
Williams appears to have split with its long-time title sponsor AT and T.
After the famous British team scored just 5 points and finished a dismal ninth in the 2011 championship, the logo of its American telecommunications company backer has been removed from official stationary and Williams' website.
Initial reports say the contract expired at the end of December and was not renewed, despite Williams requesting a new three-year deal for $15 million.
Until 2011, AT and T - title sponsor since 2007 - is believed to have paid around $7m per season.
It is rumoured Williams could be sponsored by the part state-owned Qatar National Bank in 2012.
Bianchi hints at 'important role' for 2012
Jules Bianchi has hinted strongly he is set to ramp up his push for an F1 one race-seat during the course of the 2012 season.
The French 22-year-old, managed by Nicolas Todt and a development and reserve driver for Ferrari, has been linked in recent days to the newly vacant test and 'Friday practice' seat at Force India.
In 2011, Nico Hulkenberg used that role with the Silverstone based team to remain in the paddock following his Williams ousting, and then bounce back onto the grid for 2012 with a full race seat.
Bianchi told French radio RCM: "I will try to play an important role in formula one (this year) in order to gather as much information and experience as I can and get a cockpit in 2013.
"The goal is to find a team that allows me the most mileage and (at the same time) I can still stay with Ferrari," he added.
Bianchi has raced the feeder series GP2 for the past two years, disappointing some experts with his single win and third in the standings this year, 36 points behind champion Romain Grosjean.
He said: "I feel ready for F1 already in 2012, but I must stay on the ground. It's a little hard, but that's what Formula One is like.
"I will not give up and will try for a fresh start in 2013," added Bianchi.