Sebastian Vettel has admitted that it is imperative for him to return to the top step of the Monza podium at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix if he is to mount a late challenge for the Formula One world title.

Although the German remains in mathematical contention for the crown, sitting 19 points behind leader Jenson Button with five races remaining, he knows that he needs to be outscoring the Brawn driver by at least four points per round, with a victory obviously the best way of achieving that given the close nature of this year's field.

Vettel, of course, confirmed his F1 breakthrough a year ago, taking a sensational, tactical win for the Toro Rosso team after dominating a wet weekend, and heads back to Monza knowing that, in Red Bull's RB5, he has a weapon capable of taking him back to the top of the tree.

"Is it really already one year ago?" the youngster joked with the official F1 website, "Of course, [there are] good memories as the podium here is very special, with all the fans, and I would appreciate it very much to be back on the podium on Sunday. But there is a lot of work that comes first.

"I hope that we perform stronger this weekend [than we did in Belgium]. If the car is good enough to win, then we have to win. In Spa, we could not, but we had a good race and did everything that we could do. In general, we never were really struggling with pace - even though we sometimes were not able to win the race, we still had a very good pace to finish third, fourth or fifth, and not much worse than that.

"However, if we want to keep our chances [of winning the title], it is vital that we win this race. Be sure that we will try everything to make it happen."

Repeating his 2008 victory, however, may have to rely on another intervention from the weather gods, with Vettel admitting that, without at least a little rain, it is going to be hard to see off the KERS-equipped cars of McLaren and Ferrari - and, if it gets its head around the resurrection of its system, Renault.

"I predict that we will be in good shape, but how good will depend on how big the effect of KERS is - especially with Renault running it," the German noted, "How big the effect of KERS will be we will know tomorrow.

"With no testing and no experience of this circuit, we don't know. Either we have a good surprise or a bad surprise tomorrow for all of the non-KERS cars. Overtaking the KERS cars is never easy and, at a place like here, where you have more straights than anywhere else, it is even harder.

"[A little bit of rain would be welcomed] for the start. No doubt, last year, if it had been dry, we would not have had the pace at all to win the race. And under those conditions, we did the best job, had the best car and didn't make any mistakes."

Adding to Vettel's concerns, meanwhile, is his dwindling supply of fresh Renault engines, having lost another in Belgium to leave himself with just one unused unit from his initial allocation of eight and a handful of those already worked this season.

"I'm not overly worried," he said, admitting that he would be sitting out much of Friday practice, "Obviously, it's not the best situation to be in, but you can't change it. We have to accept it and make the best of it.