There will be no give on track between Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button once the 2006 season kicks off in anger. The BAR driver-pairing is expected to be evenly matched and fiercely competitive.
While Jenson is obviously hoping to give it to Rubens in the coming season, he has made it clear that off-track he will avoid hard feelings. Jenson is reported to have offered his lead entry number in the team to Rubens, in deference to his new team-mate’s lucky number.
BAR’s allocated driver numbers for 2006 are 11 and 12 – a reflection of the team’s position in the 2005 Constructors’ Championship. Jenson and Rubens will have equal status and equipment but, as the incumbent driver in the team, Jenson had number 11 to himself for the coming season.
Jenson, however, found out that Rubens achieved his first race win as the number 11 driver, that all of his karting titles were achieved as #11 and that he won his first race in the Formula Ford Championship wearing his now now his lucky number. Jenson then promtply offered Rubens his entry number and will now compete with driver entry number 12.
Says Button: “I have no particular affinity with any number – other than 1 of course, which I hope to race with enormous pride when I achieve my goal of winning the World Championship. In the meantime, I know how special the number 11 has been to Rubens in his past career and I thought it would be nice to make the gesture. We’ll have plenty to be competing for ‘on’- track next season. We’re good friends already and we’re both looking forward to being team-mates. I just hope number 11 isn’t too lucky for Rubens next year!”
Look forward to an exciting battle between the experienced Barrichello and the highly rated Button in equal steeds next year…
Edu de Jager