BAR Honda driver Jenson Button has predicted that he can claim his maiden F1 win this season, as he prepares to lead the Brackley based squad into their sixth season in Formula One, following the exit of former team leader, Jacques Villeneuve.

Speaking at the Autosport International show at the weekend, the Englishman added that this year could prove crucial, as rumours continue to circulate that he might get the chance to return to Williams to replace the departing Juan Pablo Montoya.

The Brit told Ananova: "Winning races is my main aim this year.

"You never know until the first race, but we're very positive that we're going to be challenging for race wins."

"This year is going to be very important for me," added the Englishman, "My results will choose the path of my career but I have got a contract with BAR for 2005 and 2006 and that is where I am at the moment."

Button, who has yet to finish on the podium, has raced in 66 grand's prix to date, scoring 45 points - his best finish fourth place.

"For me, winning the world championship is the main thing," he continued. "It's not going to happen this year - well, it's very unlikely. But we can get close to that.

"For me, second or fifth or seventh in the championship doesn't make much difference. It's the team that I'm thinking about more than anything else.

"Third in the championship would be mega though, and I do think it's possible.

"I think things could be very close this season between Ferrari, Williams and McLaren. It's going to be a very close season - and BAR is going to be pushing them as well. You might not believe me, but we are going to be."

BAR-Honda will launch their new 2004 car, the 006, on February 1 at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spain.



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