Grapevine: Burti in Talks to make F1 Return

Brazilian Luciano Burti is looking to return to racing in Formula One next year and may be one of the candidates in the BAR shootout, according to sources close to the team.

Grapevine: Burti in Talks to make F1 Return

Brazilian Luciano Burti is looking to return to racing in Formula One next year and may be one of the candidates in the BAR shootout, according to sources close to the team.

Burti debuted in Formula One with Jaguar in the 2000 season, and moved to Prost during 2001. He was involved in a heavy crash in the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix and has not raced in F1 since. Last year, he was the second test driver for Ferrari.

The Brazilian remained in close ties with the Italian team, recently called in to replace Rubens Barrichello in testing before the Italian Grand Prix. He was also their guest in Monza last weekend, and had the opportunity to discuss options for next year with various teams.

Sources close to BAR told Atlas F1 Burti is one of four drivers who may be invited to participate in a shoot-out for the second seat alongside Jenson Button. The other three drivers are expected to be F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim, BAR's former test driver Darren Manning and BAR's current test driver, Takuma Sato.

Japanese Sato is considered to be with the best chances of landing the seat, with engine supplier Honda strongly behind him. Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve is not expected, according to the sources, to re-sign with the team failing intervention from shareholders BAT at the last minute.

"Burti is a dark horse," the source said, "but his experience at Ferrari in the last couple of years make him an interesting contender. If we decide to do a shoot-out, he will be invited to participate."

Burti himself told Atlas F1 yesterday he is currently talking to three different teams, but he said he could not make further comments on their identity.

Nevertheless, the Brazilian said today he was optimistic about his chances of returning to Formula One next year.

"I have to say now that my perspectives for next year are looking stronger," he said. "It's clear that I have a really good relationship with Ferrari and it will be natural if we work together again in the future.

"The only doubt is regarding the FIA rules for next year because there is a possibility of limiting the amount of testing, which would restrict the teams to having a maximum of only one test driver.

"One more positive point during the [Italian GP] weekend was the confirmation of another excellent opportunity in F1 for next year, but I must wait a bit more to talk about it."

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