Brawn GP possesses both the necessary funding and facilities to continue to walk away with the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship, fears Flavio Briatore – who claims that Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are unlikely to be challenged for the top two spots in the drivers' title chase that they have held since the season-opener.
With four victories from the first five races of the new campaign, Button finds himself 14 points clear of team-mate Barrichello heading to the 'jewel in the crown' this weekend, the Monaco Grand Prix. The Brazilian, for his part, is four points in front of the first of the opposition, Red Bull Racing star Sebastian Vettel, the only driver to break the Brawn supremacy so far this year.
It is an even more crushing display of superiority in the constructors' title chase, with the Brackley-based concern 29.5 points ahead of any other team – not a bad showing for a squad that only a matter of months ago looked like it had no future at all following parent company Honda's sudden and unexpected withdrawal from the top flight.
It has also come under considerable fire from Renault F1 managing director Briatore, who has accused the team of cheating over the sport's 'double-decker' diffuser controversy and its drivers – one of whom he described as being 'almost retired' and the other a 'paracarro' (concrete bollard) – of lacking credibility as genuinely deserving contenders for the crown. He has also called for team principal Ross Brawn to be removed from his position as head of the Formula One Teams' Association's technical committee and for Brawn GP to be denied all commercial revenue for the next three years.
Many have dismissed the famously outspoken Italian's anger as merely sour grapes that his own team is some way off the pace in 2009, and now he has conceded that neither Renault nor anyone else is likely to catch Brawn over the balance of the campaign.
“In Formula 1 nearly everything is possible, but I believe it is very difficult that another team can win the title,” the 59-year-old told German newspaper Die Welt
, answering with a blunt 'no' when asked if he reckoned the current world championship leaders could be stopped. “They are well-financed and can develop further their car without problems, and for the competition that is a problem.”
Worse still for rivals, Brawn predicts that the race around the narrow, tortuous streets of the Principality this weekend could turn into another benefit for his eponymously-named outfit – with both Button and Barrichello having ascended the rostrum before in Monte Carlo.
“The car is very good mechanically,” explained the Englishman, “which you need to take advantage of the slow-speed nature of the track.”