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Barrichello ready for Brawn victory in Australia

Barrichello ready for Brawn victory in Australia

The new Brawn team is emerging as the extraordinary pre-race favorite for the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix, with experienced driver Rubens Barrichello confident he can deliver a victory on Sunday.
The Brawn team may be the only new team on the F1 grid this season _ officially only a few weeks old _ and lack the finances of established heavyweights such as Ferrari and McLaren, but it is bearing the fruit of the vast development work done on the car by its previous owner Honda before the Japanese automaker elected to pull out of the sport at the end of 2008.
Brawn outperformed all its rivals in preseason testing in Spain, and is the unlikely favorite in pre-race betting for Sunday's race.
"We have only six days of testing behind us, so every prediction is a gamble," Barrichello said. "We keep our feet on the ground, even though we know we have a quick and reliable car.
"Melbourne could spring a surprise. We are the team that has shone most in testing, and I've come here with great confidence."
Barrichello and his teammate Jenson Button struggled last season because Honda chose to put the majority of its development funds into the 2009 car, preparing it for a raft of rule changes such as new aerodynamics regulations and the introduction of KERS _ an energy-storing technology which can deliver a power burst at driver discretion.
With Honda pulling out of F1 due to the global economic downturn, Brawn is reaping the benefit of that.
"Up until now I've never had a good car to go for it," Barrichello said in Wednesday's edition of the Gazzetta dello Sport. "The Honda from the last two years was almost an insult.
"Now I have a truly competitive car, in a small yet high-quality team. We've spent four months at home to make developments, we knew where to change and what to fix. Now it's the right time to take it to the track and win. I can do it."
Renault's Fernando Alonso was among the rivals expecting a bold showing by Brawn this weekend.
"The times set by the Brawn cars in testing are impressive and suggest they will be racing at the front in Melbourne," Alonso told Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper.
"However, testing is one thing and racing is another, and as with our other competitors there could be some surprises this year."