Sebastian Vettel insists that he is now putting his 2010 F1 title success to one side as the German looks to defend his championship title this year.
Vettel secured his maiden crown with victory in the season finale in Abu Dhabi and goes into the new campaign as the man to beat armed with Red Bull's new RB7.
Speaking as the new car was launched in Valencia, Vettel admitted it had taken time for his success last year to sink in, but having enjoyed a rest of the festive period, he is now ready and raring to go with the defence of his crown.
“It feels at least as good now as it did when I crossed the line in Abu Dhabi,” he said. “Back then it was quite difficult to really realise what had just happened. But around Christmas I got a couple of days to myself and then I could come to terms with it.
“As a sportsman, though, you're always looking forward. That process happens quite quickly when you race week to week. With the Championship it took a little bit longer, but it was a very nice process. Now though, 2010 is behind us. It's a very proud memory, but now it's 2011 and there's another job to do, so we move to the next challenge, which is trying to do the same again.
“At the end of last year I felt tired and needed a rest,” he said. “But I've had that rest now and I'm really looking forward to it again.”
The new RB7 features a series of radical changes to comply with the latest F1 regulations, which includes a return of KERS and the new adjustable rear wing, and Vettel admitted that the team did face a number of unknowns going into 2011 as a result.
“KERS we know about already, we have seen the effect on the track in 2009, but the moveable rear wing is a bit of an unknown,” he said. “No one has ever driven the car with that type of wing and it's difficult to know how it will work: will overtaking be just about possible, which I think is the idea, or will overtaking become very easy and therefore artificial, which is what no one wants to happen.
“With KERS, the question is how good and how efficient your system is. Not just in terms of performance but in how quickly it recharges the batteries under braking and how much it upsets your car when you do apply it. Obviously, the teams that had it in 2009 have a little bit of an advantage, but we will just have to work hard on that.
“In the end, though, it is just one variable and there are always variables. We have different tyres to work with this season and we have to see how we deal with that. You just have to adapt and try to make your driving style suit the car. It happens every year and we will deal with it. It's good, it definitely keeps you on your toes.”