Despite an FIA-backed ban on team orders and the threat of renewed public outrage, Ferrari could employ team orders this year “if one Scuderia driver got far enough ahead of the other”.

Despite an FIA-backed ban on team orders and the threat of renewed public outrage, Ferrari could employ team orders this year “if one Scuderia driver got far enough ahead of the other”.

Ferrari’s unofficial number two driver Rubens Barrichello told reporters that Ferrari could use team orders this season if circumstances demanded that they had to.

Last year, Ferrari bore the brunt of a fierce public backlash after the Italian team contrived the finishing order of the Austrian and Indianapolis grands prix. However, Ferrari could still employ team orders if one driver got far enough ahead in the championship standings “so that the other no longer stood a chance of winning the title”, the Brazilian driver said.

In terms of its regulations for the 2003 season, the FIA has banned team orders “that effect the outcome of a race” but according to , the ambiguous wording ”leaves room for the situation to perhaps be used in other ways”.

Right now there shouldn't be any orders," said Barrichello. "We won't get any until we get to a situation like Austria. We know orders now shouldn't change the nature of the race. But if I get to the half season point and have no chances to win, fair enough."

The Brazilian said that he was not worried about the possibility of again being asked to relinquish his race position to his team-mate, five-times world champion Michael Schumacher. "I'm just concentrating on my driving. I made a small mistake in Melbourne and had a problem but I'm switched on the whole time."

So far, the Brazilian has gained a podium finish in Malaysia, whereas Schumacher has only managed fourth and sixth in the first two races, but the pair both have eight points in the championship.

"This is going to be my best year in F1," the Brazilian said. "That's what I wake up thinking every day. I have to think of my life now. When I look in the mirror I see myself very capable. If you fear something in life you never do anything well. I'm not scared of anyone otherwise I wouldn't be driving for Ferrari with Michael."