This has probably been a difficult week for Rubens Barrichello. As Formula One testing kicked off again in Barcelona, the most experienced driver in the sport's history has been back in Brazil, as he was not asked to be part of Honda's busy programme of preparations for 2009. Instead 'his' car was driven in Spain by countrymen Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi, both of whom are in the frame for a race seat alongside Jenson Button.
Rubens meanwhile remains in a state of limbo. His contract has not been renewed for next season, but neither has he been told definitively that he is not wanted. Officially he remains on the Honda shortlist, alongside the two F1 newcomers and, presumably, the likes of Anthony Davidson. Unofficially, Honda folk imply that the chances of him being retained for a fourth season are slim.
His only other option for next season is at Scuderia Toro Rosso, where it's very apparent that there must be sound commercial reasons behind any driver decision.