Ross Brawn has claimed that both is drivers will be free to battle for the Formula One world championship until one or other is out of contention, despite Jenson Button struggling to significantly extend his advantage over Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in recent races.

Although the Briton's cushion remained at 16 points despite posting his first non-finish of 2009 at the Belgian Grand Prix, neither he nor team-mate Rubens Barrichello have been able to repeat the dominant form of earlier in the season. The Brazilian's win in Valencia two races ago bucked a trend that had seen other teams, including Red Bull, enjoy the spoils of victory, but kept him in the hunt for overall honours, leading Brawn to deny that any bias would come into play over the remainder of the season.

"They are both free to race," he insisted at Monza, "We feel that is what will take the team forward in a stronger way than having any team orders. They are both free to race - and both free to try and win the championship."

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Despite the disappointing run of results since winning the Turkish Grand Prix, Brawn insists that his team can bounce back over the final five races, where he expects conditions to be more favourable to the BGP001 than the cooler temperatures of the European summer proved to be.

"I think Jenson has had two races where it hasn't worked for him," the eponymous team boss confirmed, "At the last race he obviously had the incident, and Valencia wasn't great, but, at the previous races, the car wasn't working as well as we wanted, so I don't think you can really lay those races at Jenson's door.

"He has had a couple of average races, but I think that, over a season, if a guy has a couple of average races as well as all the good ones, he has had a fantastic season. I am pretty optimistic that he is going to have a strong run to the end. The car seems okay here.

"The time gap is quite narrow, and I think there are other teams that have perhaps focused on the race and others who focus more on making sure that they get through qualifying as strong as possible. I think, until we get into qualifying, we won't really know the situation. We are reasonably happy with our car - it seems to be working okay and I see every reason why we should have a decent race here."