Red Bull's F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel eyes a third straight drivers' title
Vettel clinched the crown in 2010 and 2011 and is F1's youngest double champion
The German was speaking at the launch of the RB8, Red Bull's eighth F1 car
The UK-based team have won the last two constructors' championships
Double world champion Sebastian Vettel insists Red Bull can continue to dominate Formula One as the leading marque unveiled their car for the 2012 season on Monday.
German driver Vettel has been unrivaled over the last two years, winning 16 races since the start of 2010 to become the sport’s youngest two-time drivers’ champion.
The 24-year-old’s peerless form – which earned him 11 grand prix wins in 2011 – has also helped Red Bull clinch back-to-back constructors’ titles.
Speaking at the launch of the new RB8, Vettel set his sights on securing a third successive Red Bull clean sweep.
“We had a great year,” Vettel told the sport’s official website. “I think we’ll always look back to 2011 and think how special it was.
“We know how special it was and we really enjoyed that but we know how hard it is to be that consistent, always there and nearly every race on the podium.
“So the target is to obviously try to do it again and try to get everything out of ourselves, so we’ll see how we get on with the new car, the RB8.”
Despite the success of the Austrian-owned, UK-based team – who entered the elite division of motorsport as recently as 2005 – Vettel warned against complacency ahead of the new season, which starts in Australia on March 18.
“At the beginning of last year we didn’t really expect whatever happened last year, so I think it’s the same thing again.
“It would be wrong to go into this season and expect 2011 to happen again … I think it will be very, very tight this year and anything else would be a surprise to be honest.”
Vettel’s Australian teammate Mark Webber endured a frustrating 2011, securing his first and only win of the year at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on his way to a third-place finish in the drivers’ standings – 134 points behind Vettel.
“Last year wasn’t an amazing season, but it wasn’t too bad for me,” the 35-year-old said. “I still managed to finish third in the drivers’ championship … so it was a great way for me to finish the year with the victory in Brazil and many strong results.
“We’re always learning as athletes and I’m looking forward to 2012, it’s got some great opportunities for me. You know the old cliche, take each race as it comes, but that’s how it will be initially and we’ll go from there.”
Another veteran on the grid next year will be Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, who is returning to the sport after a two-season absence.
The former Ferrari driver has joined Lotus – who competed in last year’s championship as Renault – and spoke of his excitement at the launch of the team’s new E20 car.
“Formula One is something very special in my racing career,” said the 32-year-old, who participated in NASCAR and the World Rally Championship in his break from F1.
“You always want to race at the toughest level, so Formula One is where you want to race if you have a choice.
“I think we’ll have a lot of fun in the season ahead and hopefully we will get some good results. I want a strong enough car to challenge for good results.”
Swiss team Sauber also showcased their new car on Monday, with Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi and Mexico’s Sergio Perez on hand to take the C31 for a spin.
Kobayashi finished last season in 12th place, four positions and 16 points ahead of Perez, and he is looking forward to his third year with the team.
“We’ve been through a lot together and can benefit from our shared experiences,” Kobayashi said. “In my first year with the team we had a bad start but a good second half to the season.
“The second year was the exact reverse. In our third year together we should be a reliable bet to finish consistently in the points. I’m really looking forward to the new season with the Sauber team.”