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From the Marbles

Rubens Barrichello officially joins KV Racing and IndyCar Series

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

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Rubens Barrichello will be giving the thumbs up to IndyCar Series fans in 2012 (Getty)

KV Racing Technology announced the addition of Formula 1 veteran Rubens Barrichello to the team on Thursday, as Barrichello will team with former Izod IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan.

Barrichello tested with the team over the winter and signed a one-year deal. Kanaan signed a two year deal.

From the AP:

Barrichello will participate in all 16 IndyCar races on the calendar, including the Indy 500 in May and the other four races on ovals.

"I am thrilled, it is something very new to me," he said. "I'm very competitive and I'm not doing this just for fun, but I'll keep my feet on the ground in the beginning because I'll be a rookie despite of all my previous racing experience."

In 322 Formula 1 races from 1993-2011, Barichello notched 11 wins in 322 starts. His best season was in 2002, when he won four times as teammates with Michael Schumacher for Ferrari.

While Barrichello's signing is a positive and helps add a known name in the motorsports world to the IndyCar Series, it remains to be seen how much impact his presence will have on a series that Michael Andretti says could be helped by the departure of Danica Patrick.

For example, he's now one of three Brazilians in the IndyCar Series, along with teammate Kanaan and Helio Castroneves. Sure, Barrichello may be the most popular because of Formula 1's worldwide appeal, but how many Brazilian fans -- let alone motorsports fans from around the world -- are now going to pay attention to the IndyCar Series because of his presence?

And what's a good barometer of success for Barrichello, who has never driven a race on an oval? Is Takuma Sato, another Formula 1 veteran who spent the last two years with KV a good watermark? Sato, who had one podium in 90 Formula 1 races, had a highest finish of fourth at Mid-Ohio and had two poles. One factor in Barrichello's favor may be the new DW12 chassis' introduction, as he'll be learning on the fly about the new car along with the rest of the field.

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