Vettel hopes to make a hat-trick of world titles
World champion Sebastian Vettel said his back-to-back title triumphs in the last two years would count for little when the 2012 Grand Prix season gets underway in Australia on March 18.
On the day when Red Bull used the Internet to unveil their new "fourth generation" RB8 car, the 24-year-old German took the time out to dwell on his hopes of making it a hat-trick of world titles.
"It's difficult to say (what will happen). Every season we start from zero again," Vettel said.
"Unlike other sports, in tennis for instance, you're the number one in the world and there is a certain gap between you and the number two.
"You have this cushion and it doesn't matter if it's one year or another year, you still have it. Whereas for us it all starts from zero again, zero points, where everyone has the same chance and we are all building our new cars.
"Until we put them on track to race each other we don't really know. So we'll see, but I'm as confident as I can be at this point. Hopefully we will have a good couple of days testing with the car to prepare well for the season."
Vettel had his second world title last year sown up by early October with three races still to go. Team-mate Marc Webber went on to take third place.
Together, their all-conquering Red Bulls dominated the constructors championship, finishing well ahead of McLaren and Ferrari.
Their performances prompted Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone to declare that he would prefer if there was more of a competition in the sport and Vettel agrees that he has set himself near impossibly high standards.
"Obviously we had a great year (last year). We'll always look back to 2011 and think how special it was," he said.
"To be honest you don't start the season with expectations to have the same or a similar season again. We know how hard it is to be that consistent, always there and finishing nearly every race on the podium. The target is obviously to try to do it again, to get everything out of ourselves, so we'll see how we get on with the new car."
"Obviously we hope our car is better than all the others, but it will be difficult because the cars will be fairly similar, with the gaps closer than they have been."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that the aim with the new car was to improve.
"Of course, when you've achieved what we have, particularly in 2011, we've set a very high standard for ourselves," he said.
"But we're always looking to improve, we're always looking, in all areas, to try and do better.
"For Sebastian, he's still evolving, still getting stronger. We saw that in 2011 and I think we're only going to see that again in 2012. As he gains experience, knowledge and he matures, he's getting stronger and stronger."
The new RB8 car, designed by Adrian Newey and unveiled on the Internet, showed it to have the same "platypus" snubbed nose as all the other cars this season with the exception of McLaren.
Webber will have the first opportunity to take to the track in the new car when the first tests take place here on Tuesday and Wednesday with Vettel taking over for Thursday and Friday.
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