Rubens Barrichello insists that, whether or not he is successful in his F1 world championship quest, this season will be one to look back on and celebrate for a number of different reasons.
The Brazilian remains as Brawn GP team-mate Jenson Button's only realistic championship challenger after winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Sunday - Red Bull rivals Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber both need multiple wins and additional podium finishes to ties with the Briton's current tally - but insists that, after the uncertain start to the year, just being on the grid was reason to be happy.
That the Mercedes-powered BGP001 has proven to be such a revelation in Brawn's first year after rising out of the ashes of Honda only added to the cause for celebration, and two wins in the past three races promise to prolong the interest right to the end of the campaign.
"I think it is a winning year whatever happens," Barrichello insisted after stepping down from the podium at Monza, "We have got to remember that, not long ago, we had no jobs. We did not know what is going to happen, and now we are driving a fantastic car with a fantastic engine.
"[Fighting for the championship] means a lot. It means that I can show my true me. For many years, people asked 'why didn't he leave Ferrari before', because the car was the best available and I still had to overcome all the problems - and some world champion called Michael [Schumacher]. That's life. You learn by your mistakes, you learn by everything.
"I really had fun at Ferrari, and it made me a better driver as well, so everything that's happening now is because of all the times that I had in F1. The only thing that is more important than anything else is that you have to believe in yourself and that's the main thing, the whole thing in life itself. It's you waking up, thankful for the chance that you have and going for it. It's as good as that and, as I said before, for me it's already a winning year.
"I went through the first of January, I went through the first of February, not knowing if I was going to be racing. I remember it like it was yesterday. Jenson did the first four laps in the car and I went to ask him about it and he said 'it's a great car' - and I will never forget that. I said 'get the hell out of there, I want to drive!'. It was a great feeling and it feels good to be challenging - and fighting your team-mate."
Despite having picked up the team's only two wins since Button rattled off six wins in the opening seven races, Barrichello remains confident that the BGP001 will remain competitive over the final four rounds, where the title ought to be decided in favour of once side of the garage or the other.
"I think so," he claimed, "I think Singapore can be quite good - it is warm weather and part of the race is at eight o'clock and it was still quite hot. The sun is not there, but I think we can expect to perform quite well there.
"We have Suzuka that might be cold and Abu Dhabi, strangely enough, they told us could be cold too. I cannot imagine going to Abu Dhabi with cold weather, but it might happen. I think Brazil can be quite good for us as well. I think the package is good. We have been the team winning the most, but the most consistent team as well. Where we didn't do very well, we still did okay."