Brawn not getting carried away

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn has refused to accept that his outfit is clear favourite to win the world championship double again this season - despite a growing perception that even a major overhaul of Formula 1's technical regulations will not be enough to slow the Maranello outfit

Brawn not getting carried away

With Ferrari being the only front-runner that has decided not to introduce its new car for the start of the season, so it can benefit from extra development time, team boss Frank Williams commented recently that he feared Brawn and chief designer Rory Byrne had come up with something extra special.

But speaking exclusively to autosport.com about the team's plans and hopes for 2005, Brawn admitted that he was taking nothing for granted.

"Let's wait and see," said Brawn. "I never feel confident at this time of year. I never have done and I never will do - because you just don't know where you are and where the other people are."

Although the delay in the debut of the new car will hand the team vital extra design and development time, Brawn does concede that it will also have the added value of allowing the team to know very early in the campaign just where its F2005 stands in comparison with its rivals.

"We are going to get a pretty good idea because we will know how much better the new car will be over the old car, so when we start the season, wherever we are, we will have a reference for whether the new car is going to fix that or not.

"But I am never confident because you simply don't know what the others will do."

Brawn's lack of confidence goes against a host of comments from the weekend's Autosport International show where leading motorsport figures believed that 2005 may well see more Ferrari dominance.

Former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine said about Michael Schumacher: "He is still by far the best. The only thing that is going to be beat him is Michelin and if they come up with something better than Bridgestone. Maybe then they can give him a run for his money, otherwise it is going to be business as usual."

And Minardi boss Paul Stoddart was even more fearful that new regulations introduced this year would play even more to Ferrari's hands.

"You ain't seen nothing yet," he declared. "Brawn and Ferrari strategy on fuel is second to none and you are sadly going to see absolute dominance in 2005."

Despite his lack of confidence about making a firm prediction on Ferrari's form in 2005, Brawn is sure about one thing for the year ahead - that the new tyre rules will mix-up the races more than has been the case in recent years.

"This one tyre per race could be very interesting," he explained. "From what I have seen, the tyre companies have done a great job of dealing with it and it won't be anywhere near as horrific as people thought it might be.

"There will still be situations where people will have to look after tyres and manage tyres during races, particularly at tracks like Barcelona where there is heavy wear. I think on those circuits people will be scrabbling around trying to look after their tyres at the end of races."

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