Red Bull Racing expects a much stronger challenge from its rivals next year, with team principal Christian Horner thinking its back-to-back title success will have upset the opposition.
The squad delivered its second successive title double at the Korean Grand Prix, with its clinching of the constructors' crown coming just one week after Sebastian Vettel won the drivers' championship. As the team now switches its focus to 2012, Horner says his team does not expect it will be able to repeat the level of dominance that it produced this year.
"It never gets easier that is for sure, it would be foolish to underestimate the likes of Ferrari," said Horner, when asked about the challenge his team will face gunning for a third consecutive title in 2012. "They are a phenomenal team with tremendous pedigree, as are the likes of McLaren and Mercedes-Benz. But we are not foolish enough or arrogant enough to think that this kind of performance is normal. It is abnormal, and it takes a super-human effort to try and achieve.
"For sure, our competitors are going to be pushing hard over the winter. To do it [win the title] once they can probably tolerate, to do it twice probably upsets a little. But for sure we have got continuity in all areas and that is very important."
Red Bull Racing's technical chief Adrian Newey elected to skip the Korean Grand Prix so he could return to the factory to ramp up efforts on next year's car. Horner says that the team must make the most of the limited track running opportunities it has before RB8 hits the track next February.
"The focus has to start moving toward next year," he said. "We have less than four months to design and build a completely new car, which is why Adrian elected not to attend this race. He is busy back in the UK focused on the RB8.
"The remaining races are the only track time other than a young driver test between now and when the new car is born, so we will look to learn everything we can out of the track with the time we have available and that means pushing right up until the checkered flag in Brazil."
Horner also paid tribute to the efforts of his staff this year in delivering a second world title in a manner that was even better than its first.
"It is very special because when you do it for the first time, there is all the emotion of having achieved it and having done it for the first time. To go into the season as the reigning World Champion and constructor, there is that expectation and pressure to retain it, and what I am especially pleased with is the way the team has dealt with that pressure.
"The team has improved in all areas and we are a stronger unit that we were 12 months ago, and I think that if you look at the level of consistency we had, operationally, strategically, on the development side as well, I think the whole team has worked in total harmony. And that enables you to achieve the kind of results we have here."
Although both titles are won, Horner said that there was still some business to finish this year, including helping Mark Webber to finish runner-up in the drivers' standings.
"The priority now is to get Mark into second in the championship," he said. "I think they will be very exciting races. We can see that both McLaren and Ferrari have been competitive here and it will be tight in India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil. It is going to be some exciting racing. In Korea certainly the race for second was a fantastic race."