Sebastian Vettel is targeting a strong start to his 2011 title defense in a bid to try and avoid the stresses that come from end of season World Championship showdowns.
Although Vettel eventually came out on top following a four-way title decider in Abu Dhabi this year, the German could have been crowned champion much earlier in the campaign if he had not given away valuable points at the beginning of the season.
In Bahrain he lost victory when a spark plug failed in the closing stages of the race, while in Australia he looked set for victory before being pitched off the track with a wheel problem.
Well aware that his chances against Jenson Button in 2009 were also hurt by early campaign woes, Vettel says he is focused on making sure that his 2011 efforts get off to the perfect start.
"The championship starts with the first race, and I think many points this year we dropped," Vettel told AUTOSPORT. "We would have been much more comfortable in the end if we got these points, but we didn't, and that is what we had. Surely the target is to use every single opportunity in every race to put yourself in a stronger position, and ideally have a quieter end to the season.
"It is going to be tough next season, the cars will change, and there will be an opportunity for others to catch up. There is a chance for us to do great again, but we will have to wait and see."
Red Bull Racing is planning to have its new car, the RB7, ready for the first test of 2011 in Valencia, having skipped the first run this year to give itself more development time. It is understood the decision to target the first test is fueled by the fact that the switch to Pirelli tires for 2011 means it is more vital than normal to understand what difference the new rubber will make to a car's aerodynamics and handling.