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Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Sunday, 13 September 2009 16:21 UK

Brawn to allow 'open' title fight

Rubens Barrichello

Highlights - Italian Grand Prix

Team boss Ross Brawn has pledged to allow his drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello to battle it out for this year's world championship title.

Barrichello lead Button home to a one-two at the Italian Grand Prix, reducing the Englishman's lead to 14 points.

With Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel losing ground after a poor result, Brawn said: "I ask only that they compete openly and fairly.

"They have got to work together and it all has to be on top of the table."

Barrichello's victory, his second in three races, took him to 66 points in the championship, with Button on 80.

"My advantage has got smaller and Rubens is going to be a tough rival. He has shown his skill over the years and it looks like this is going to go down to the wire.

Jenson Button

Vettel is 26 points behind Button with a maximum of 40 available in the remaining four races after finishing eighth at Monza, a position to which he was promoted when McLaren's Lewis Hamilton crashed out of third place on the last lap.

Webber, who retired on the first lap after a collision with Robert Kubica's BMW Sauber, is 28.5 points off the lead and admitted after the race that his title hopes had suffered "a blow".

Brawn, who was part of the Ferrari management when they regularly imposed team orders to assist Michael Schumacher, said he would allow his drivers to fight it out.

"We will just leave them to it," he said. "They are old enough to deal with it. You have just got to make sure the atmosphere is calm, consistent and open and that there are no distractions."

Button said: "Rubens is obviously my big rival for the title now. That's good, because we get on great.

Ross Brawn talks to the team

Brawn thrilled with Monza one-two

"After the problems we have had in the last couple of races it is good to finish second," admitted Button, who had gone five races without a podium finish since his last race win in Turkey in June.

"I would obviously prefer to be where Rubens is, but he did a really good job - congratulations to him.

"We have a good relationship. We are still going to be sharing information because it is possible for Red Bull to be strong at the next races.

"My advantage has got smaller and Rubens is going to be a tough rival. He has shown his skill over the years and it looks like this is going to go down to the wire.

"It's going to be a tough few races, that is for sure, obviously we are both super competitive and want to win, so we will race now until the end of the season."

Barrichello has cut Button's lead nearly in half since the Englishman's last victory in Turkey in June, and has won two of the last three races.

We will keep pushing, we haven't given up on anything

Christian Horner
Red Bull team boss

The Brazilian, the oldest driver in F1 at 37, believes there will be no issues between him and Button as the season draws to a close.

"It is a winning year for us whatever happens," Barrichello said.

"It's not long ago that we had no jobs so we have to remember that - the team have done a fantastic job.

"But I am going to give my very best. The title is my target and my dream, everyone knows that.

"I'll just keep smiling and working and hopefully I'll get there. It's going to be a good and a healthy fight and I am looking forward to that.

"There is a saying that you only win in F1 if you are tough, but we are both nice guys and the best thing in life is respect.

"That is what we have, it is an open book between us. At the end of the day our cars are set up in similar way - I just had the edge but there is nothing in it.

"The main thing right now is that we scored maximum points and our rivals had problems."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner refused to give up hope of one of his drivers challenging the Brawns, but he conceded they had "a mountain to climb".

"We will keep pushing, we haven't given up on anything," Horner said. "We know it's a mountain to climb up but we wont be giving up until it is mathematically impossible.

"Engines are a key factor and we can see that the Mercedes engine is performing extremely well.


"We are down in that department at the moment and that is something we need to address if we want to compete. It is no coincidence that we are struggling on circuits that are predominantly power based.

"But we want to finish the year on a high."

The next race is the Singapore Grand Prix on 27 September, with Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi playing host to the final three races on the calendar.

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see also
Button back as Barrichello wins
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Whitmarsh defends Hamilton crash
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Italian Grand Prix race results
10 Sep 09 |  Results
Italian Grand Prix photos
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Italian GP as it happened
13 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Button must relax, warns Mansell
10 Sep 09 |  Formula 1

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