Steven Richards says he is optimistic of delivering a championship 1-2 for Ford Performance Racing as he prepares for the latest rounds of the season at Winton Raceway this weekend.

Richards currently lies fifth in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, with a round win under his belt, but says he could have been fighting for the lead with team-mate Mark Winterbottom were it not for the effect of one team.

"The reason we haven't gone as well as we could have in three out of the last four race meetings is because of an HRT car's involvement," Richards, who is just 13 points off fourth-place Rick Kelly in the championship standings, said. "Alright, the Garth thing at Sandown was Craig Lowndes as well, but there was certainly not much I could have done about it. On each occasion I've made clean passes, particularly at Barbagallo and Queensland Raceway."

Those two rounds saw HRT's Mark Skaiffe spin Richards from behind - meaning he lost vital points despite making it to the finish on both occasions.

"I'm hoping it's purely coincidence and nothing more because I do have a lot of respect for Skaiffie as a person and a driver," he said. "I've always thought he is the one guy you never have to second guess because he's very fair; you know that if you've had a good move on him, he'll give you room."