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Brawn have brain power for F1
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Unlikely favourite in the pre-race betting

The new Brawn motor-racing team are emerging as the extraordinary pre-race favourites for the season-opening Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, with experienced driver Rubens Barrichello confident he can deliver a victory on Sunday.
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The Brawn team might 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 they are bearing the fruit of the vast development work done on the car by its previous owner Honda before the Japanese carmaker elected to pull out of the sport at the end of 2008.

Brawn outperformed all their rivals in pre-season testing in Spain, and are the unlikely favourite 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 have shone most in testing, and I’ve come here with great confidence.”

Barrichello and his team-mate, 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 that can deliver a power burst at the driver’s discretion.

Honda pulled out of F1 because of the global economic downturn and Brawn are reaping the benefit of the withdrawal.

“Up until now I’ve never had a good car to go for it,” Barrichello said in yesterday’s Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The Honda from the past two years was almost an insult. Now, I have a competitive car, in a small yet high-quality team.”

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