Rubens Barrichello and the Brawn GP team have decided to risk the Brazilian's race - and possibly his Formula One world championship hopes - after opting not to change a questionable gearbox ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.
The unit, which is supposed to last for four races, was lightly fire-damaged at the end of the Belgian GP a fortnight ago, but was fresh for the Spa-Francorchamps event and would cost Barrichello five places on the grid should it have needed to be changed at Monza. Despite some deliberation overnight, however, the team has decided to run with the gearbox as it is, hoping to avoid any potential reliability problems.
Barrichello qualified fifth on the grid with the heaviest fuel load of those to have made it into the top ten, and was hoping not to have to change the gearbox while theoretically well placed for the final European round of the 2009 championship. Championship leader - and Brawn team-mate - Jenson Button starts alongside on row three, while Red Bull rivals Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, realistically the only other title challengers, will share row five.