Rubens Barrichello will stay on at Maranello until the end of the 2006 season, by which time the eternally optimistic Brazilian hopes to have won at least one world championship.

Rubens Barrichello will stay on at Maranello until the end of the 2006 season, by which time the eternally optimistic Brazilian hopes to have won at least one world championship.


The new deal means that Ferrari's senior staff will remain unchanged until 2007 and puts paid to the rumour that either Spanish star Fernando Alonso, Brazilian Felipe Massa or Italian Giancarlo Fisichella would replace Barrichello for the 2005 season.


The Brazilian joined Ferrari from the Stewart (now Jaguar) team as a replacement for Eddie Irvine in 2000. Since then, Barrichello has played a significant – and often controversial – part in Michael Schumacher’s four consecutive world titles.


Last year, Michael Schumacher, team boss Jean Todt, technical director Ross Braun, design chief South African Rory Byrne renegotiated their contracts.


A statement from the team said: "Ferrari announces it has extended its agreement with the driver Rubens Barrichello to cover the 2005 and 2006 racing seasons."


"I'm very proud," Barrichello told . "I have done this at the right moment in my career and it is another step forward. Clearly Ferrari’s happy with my work and I am happy here at Maranello.


"There were other contacts that is certain. But my first option was always to stay with Ferrari. In view of the faith I have in Ferrari and Ferrari have in me, we took the path that lead to signing the contract," he added.


The affable Brazilian added that he expected to achieve his dream of winning the world championship before his contract expired at the end of 2006: "I expect to win races and I expect to fulfil my dream which is winning a world championship – at least one. By signing the contract I have at least another three chances of winning the championship."


Barrichello insists that he is still improving as a driver, and has hinted that he would like to stay at Ferrari past 2006, when Schumacher is likely to retire.


"Winning is part of our job," he said. "You never know is the car is going to be good enough or not but I've signed because I think I can do the job and they believe in me just as much as I believe in them.


"I haven't yet arrived at the top of my performance. I'm moving forward. I'll be 34 in 2006 but if I still have the determination and the calmness that I have found then for sure I will want to continue."

Original article from Car