Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner says the squad is in a better position to maintain its dominance of Formula 1 going forward than when it came into its back-to-back title-winning campaigns. Horner reckons that the challenge of keeping his team at the front of the grid in 2012 is made easier because of the progress it has made in the last 12 months.
"We know our rivals will not stand still, but what makes this title and retaining the title so special is that the caliber of opponents we are up against is so high," explained Horner. "I think in all areas we have been the stronger team in 2011 than we were in 2010, and with continuity I am convinced we can still improve. The team is hugely motivated and, of course, although we don't know what the other teams are doing, there is reasonable continuity in the regulations.
"But nothing is assured. We will keep our heads down, keep working hard and, hopefully, turn up with a competitive RB8 in Melbourne in spring next year."
Horner is well aware that the manner of Red Bull Racing's strong 2011 will make its rivals even more determined to make big leaps forward in pace with their own cars next year, but he believes his team is well-placed to move forward, too.
"I think we have defended the title better than we won it," he said. "The team has evolved and there are all the areas that you don't see behind the scenes.
"Reliability-wise, even with the issues we had, we still got the car to the end in Brazil. And bar a puncture or a tire issue in Abu Dhabi, we have had complete reliability this year, which is a phenomenal achievement.
"To have scored 650 points in the Constructors' Championship is an incredible achievement, so hopefully we can build on what we have achieved and apply it to next year."
Although continuity in the regulations, and the fact that Adrian Newey has had more time to work on next year's car than he did this one, could pay dividends for Red Bull Racing, Horner insists the team is not taking anything for granted.
"I think obviously there are different challenges to next year. The exhaust layout is significant differently, we have pushed up until the checkered flag here in Brazil, and there are lessons that we have learned today that will apply even to next year's car.
"As usual, Adrian is never early with his designs and that is exactly the same situation we are in now. But I am sure we will come out of the blocks well in 2012."