Red Bull Racing has admitted it will head to the next race in Italy in "damage limitation" mode, before expecting a return to top form for the final flyaway races of the year.
After seeing main rivals McLaren get back onto the top step of the podium with Lewis Hamilton's victory in Belgium last weekend, Red Bull Racing does not expect a swift recovery of fortunes for the high-speed Monza venue.
With Red Bull conceding that its RB6 is not good on long straights, McLaren and Ferrari are expected to lead the way for the next event. However, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner still thinks that his squad can do enough at Monza to not lose too much ground in the title chase.
"Hungary was a circuit that played to the strengths of our car – no straights and lots of corners," said Horner. "At Spa there were not many corners and very long straight sectors.
"Singapore should be good for us, Japan should be good for us, Korea should be OK for us. We know Spa and Monza will be McLaren territory, and we just have to limit the damage as we did with Mark [Webber] in Belgium. To come away with a second place was a very big result for us."
Although not expecting the kind of dominant form that Red Bull has delivered on occasion this year – like in Spain, Monaco and Hungary – Horner thinks that his team can still mix it up in the fight for a podium.
"Monza, for sure, will be a tough weekend for us. But we performed better than expected in Montreal and Valencia this year. And, if you compare the tracks where McLaren has performed badly – like Hungary – where Mark lapped Jenson [Button], and a track like Spa that doesn't suit us we still managed to get second place out of it. I am very encouraged by what we have managed to achieve.
"I think Monza will be our weakest circuit of the year, arguably. A bit of rain there might be nice – and then we go back to circuits that will much more suit our car."
Despite Red Bull Racing's pessimism about its prospects for Monza, its rivals are not taking anything for granted about its form.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said in Belgium: "I think the performance here has been encouraging since the start of the weekend, and hopefully we can carry that forward into Monza. But it is a tough championship. There are a range of circuits that we are going to.
"I don't think we can sit back from our performance here and believe we are as strong as we need to be. We need to keep working hard which is exactly what we are going to do. Overall though, everyone has been working hard over the last week at the factory to be here, to bring performance improvements and it is a good sign. But be assured we will be working hard for Monza and the races after that."
In response to Horner's remarks, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said: "The weakest track for them? I would love to be in their position! You can tell Christian that.
"I would love to have the weakest situation for Monza, but I don't think so. I think they have a very good car. The numbers speak for themselves; let's see if it was just tactics or if it is true."
Ferrari is planning a straightline test at Vairano in the next few days to evaluate its low-downforce package for Monza.