Kanaan: We didn’t do a good job keeping Rubens in IndyCar

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KV Racing Technology’s new lineup of Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro is one of the most popular in the IndyCar paddock. That said, there’s still a feeling of disappointment that Kanaan’s longtime best friend and last year, teammate, Rubens Barrichello isn’t around this year.

Barrichello raised enough money between Brazilian companies and some out of pocket to race in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series after a 19-year career in Formula One.

Although Barrichello has started the most races in F1 history, more than 300, continuing out of pocket in IndyCar for a second season wasn’t realistic. He wanted to come back, according to Kanaan.

“I don’t think he needed any convincing. He wanted to do it,” Kanaan said in a press conference Wednesday. “But coming from Formula One, and he brought a lot to us by doing the switch, we didn’t do a good job getting him to stay. When he put almost $5 million out of his own pocket after 19 years just because he wanted to keep racing, it was remarkable.”

Kanaan cited a number of factors, including the challenging climate of selling sponsorship for IndyCar racing, despite a good on-track product.

“To ask him do it again, I don’t think was fair,” he said. “I’m not blaming anybody. It’s just the situation we all face. He felt he couldn’t find the money, and got an offer in (Brazilian) stock cars and some TV work to do that. It was just consequences of the financial situation right now.”

Citing sponsorship challenges, Kanaan can relate. A number of companies – Hydroxycut, GEICO and Mouser Electronics – have already stepped up to sponsor the No. 11 KVRT-SH Chevrolet entry this year. Reportedly, more races are still available for sale on this car.