Rubens Barrichello insists he has travelled to Melbourne with a realistic chance of victory.

Rubens Barrichello insists he has travelled to Melbourne with a realistic chance of victory.

The Brazilian driver, who in 2009 will continue to extend the all-time record for the longevity of a grand prix career, has sprung from the verge of enforced retirement to become one of the bookies' favourites to take his Brawn to Sunday's Melbourne win.

Some observers have expressed astonishment that, despite the BGP001 being a re-badged 2009 works Honda effort, the Mercedes-powered car was clearly the pacesetter of the winter field.

The Spanish sports newspaper Marca asked Barrichello if it is "madness" to consider that he is widely tipped to fight for Australian GP victory against his teammate Jenson Button.

"No, it is not madness," he replied, insisting that despite noises from his rivals, the chassis is fully legal.

"I have waited a long time to find a team that gives me the conditions of Ferrari but the freedom to not have to race only for Schumacher.

"This is the first time I have had what I have always wanted, it's a little bit of pressure but I am right where I want to be," he insisted.

Barrichello said he would not voluntarily swap places with F1's reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, despite McLaren's big budget and status and the works backing of Mercedes-Benz.

"No, it is Brawn that has given me a very good machine so why would I want to change?" he enquired rhetorically.

He said that, despite the pre-season uncertainty about the Brackley based team's survival and speculation linking Bruno Senna with his seat, he put his head down over the winter to prepare for 2009.

"They were difficult months, but they are the moments in which you learn about how to be a better person," Barrichello told Marca.

"I knew there was a chance, so I maintained my physical condition and I even lost five kilos. Everything was fine and luckily, in the end, I signed the contract," he added.