It's Macau Grand Prix time, or, in other words, it's 19 years since Rubens Barrichello, after a season in Formula 3000, returned to Formula 3 for a one-off. He'd just been confirmed as a Jordan Formula 1 driver for 1993 and, aged just 20, he was like a little fresh-faced puppy as he looked forward to joining the big time the following season.
Other guys who competed at Macau that year and later made it to F1 - notably David Coulthard and Jacques Villeneuve - have long since moved on. But, nearly two decades after his debut, Barrichello is still competing at the top level of the sport, and for the past few seasons he has gradually been extending his record for the highest number of starts.
Next weekend in Brazil, Barrichello will start his 322nd world championship grand prix. But will his home race also be the last of an illustrious career? It's certainly a strong possibility, given that he currently has no contract for next season.
It's no secret that Williams is talking to Kimi Raikkonen. Even if that deal doesn't come off, other drivers - notably Adrian Sutil - are of interest to the team. But Barrichello is still there and available, should he be required. And the Brazilian, who manages his own business affairs, has also been talking to other teams up and down the pitlane. There may be few obvious vacancies, but he remains convinced that, one way or another, he will still be on the grid in 2012.
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