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I'm Sick of Losing, Says Barrichello

Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello, ever the faithful number two to World Champion Michael Schumacher, says he is sick of being beaten and hopes to do something about it.

The Brazilian has started every Formula One season since he joined Ferrari in 2000 with a fierce determination to be a Championship contender. Every year, Schumacher has slapped him back into place.

With rule changes favouring smooth drivers who nurse their tyres, Barrichello again made optimistic noises that things are looking up.

"I'm sick of losing and I try to keep getting better and better," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix. "The day that I feel Michael is unbeatable is the day I go home and stay with my family.

"I'm sorry if I lack a little bit of modesty, but I don't think the gap is big. The gap has been reducing quite dramatically through the years," added Barrichello, who finished runner-up and 34 points adrift of Schumacher last year.

In 2003, he was fourth overall but closer to the German on points scored. While the German won 13 of the 18 races last year, Barrichello captured just two - both after Schumacher had clinched his seventh title in August.

"The new season will be a bit more unpredictable, at least at the beginning, because everyone is experimenting with the new rules," said the Brazilian. "If that allows me to close the gap or even go in front of Michael remains to be seen.

"If you go by the paper then I am the one who always treats the tyres better so that might favour me," he added.

"But at the end of the day a seven-times World Champion should find his way out of this. The tyre situation I think will make things more interesting. The race will be alive until the final five laps."

Under the new rules, the same set of tyres must last for the qualifying on Saturday and Sunday as well as the race, favouring smoother drivers over those who muscle the car around the circuit.

"You can be the fastest guy for 99 per cent of the race, but if you're not there at the end it won't matter," said Barrichello.

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