Brawn warns rivals he's in it to win it

Ross Brawn says his rivals had better get used to the concept of his team becoming world title contenders this season, judging by the stunning pace the cars have shown at the Australian Grand Prix

Brawn warns rivals he's in it to win it

Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello locked out the front row of the grid for the season-opening race, with rival outfits suggesting that the BGP 001 cars are in a class of their own at the moment.

And amid the backdrop of protests about the diffuser design of the car, Brawn himself thinks rivals are having trouble accepting that his team could be poised for a major title upset.

When asked by AUTOSPORT for a reaction to Felipe Massa's comments that the title could be over by mid-season if Brawn GP maintains its current form, Brawn said: "I'd like to think so, but you can never assume that.

"The rate of progress will be very rapid with the new regulations. Some people here have forgotten what happens when new rules are introduced. In 1994 I was at Benetton. We sacrificed 1993 and in '94 we won the world title. It was an anomaly in a way because we were a small T-shirt manufacturer who won the world championship.

"People didn't like it. They can't adjust to that concept. We've got a long way to go and people will progress very rapidly this year, but we started this car 15 months ago and I think we're the only team that did that."

Although his team's future was in doubt until only a few weeks ago, Brawn accepts that his thoughts are now firmly on winning races - and even this year's world title.

"That's the ambition, although I don't know that you specifically chase titles. You try to win races and, if you win enough, it culminates in a championship.

"There are times when you make decisions according to the championship situation, but the first task is to score as many points as possible and win races.

"We really don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. Getting to Melbourne and having a good car is fantastic. We've got to enjoy that part, although that will fade pretty quickly and we'll try to do as well as we can."

When asked whether his independent team has the resources and capability to match the development pace of its rivals this season, Brawn said: "I think so. In restructuring the company we've been very mindful of performance. There are some areas where perhaps we don't need to invest, but in others we do.

"We've tried to restructure the company in a way that focuses on performance, because without that we don't have a future.

"We have an upgrade planned for Barcelona, which looks quite good, and I think everybody will be incredibly motivated now they've seen the car run. It's not easy to find performance, but it won't be for want of trying and we have a good resource.

"We haven't downsized the company to a level from which we can't operate, but perhaps we no longer have some of the niceties we had under Honda."

He added: "I'm sure there will be rapid progress from the other teams. We've all seen each others cars now; we understand what other people are doing. We've got to try and keep moving forward as well.

"We've got an upgrade for Barcelona which looks quite good, there will be two or three different steps during the year, but then we've got some different regulations next year as well.

"The 2010 regulations are quite different with no refuelling and we've got to start the 2010 car quite soon. It's certainly not going to be easy at any stage but we've got things happening to try and ensure that we stay competitive."

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