Ferrari eyes winning start

Ferrari ace Rubens Barrichello insists the team is aiming to start the 2005 season with victory at the Australian Grand Prix - although the Brazilian has admitted that the Italian squad would settle for a lower points finish if they find they are not competitive enough to fight at the top.

Ferrari eyes winning start

"We go to Melbourne with the usual target of winning," the Brazilian said. "However, if after first qualifying we'll find ourselves a bit behind, then we'll try to go back home with the best possible result."

Ferrari has been setting unimpressive times in winter testing, while rivals like Renault or McLaren have been very quick with their new cars. Ferrari will start the season with the F2004M, an updated version of last year's car, before introducing its new machine in May.

Barrichello said he was not surprised by Ferrari rivals' pace. "No, because we knew they could do well this year," Barrichello told Gazzetta dello Sport . "They are able to set some very good lap times, similar to those from last year, which we've been able to get close to only on the last day of testing.

"But, on the other hand, we knew that we wouldn't have the same advantage as last year. We've said and repeated on many occasions that we would suffer a bit in the first races."

Ferrari crushed the opposition in last year's championship, with 15 wins in 18 races. In last year's season opening race in Australia the world champions won easily, a situation which looks unlikely to be repeated if testing times are to be trusted.

Barrichello believes they will have to wait until qualifying to see the true picture.
"It's not easy to tell," the Brazilian added. "I don't think even free practice at Melbourne will be enough to give us a full picture of the situation. Only after first qualifying we'll understand precisely the teams' strengths.

"In any case we are satisfied about the results achieved on the reliability level, even if we need to hold down the engine a bit more than we used to in order to make it last for two Grands Prix. With the heat we'll find in the two fly away races, it won't be easy."

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