Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says that, while the motivation to succeed is strong within the Milton Keynes camp, the squad has little to prove to the outside world.
Speaking to Sky Sports
ahead of the second F1 group test in Barcelona this week, Horner admitted that there was still pressure to succeed, but only that put on the team by itself, rather than feeling the heat of having to prove itself to anyone else. However, he also added that, such was the sense of achievement at RBR, there was no tension that threatened to destabilise the operation.
"In many respects, the pressure is off us because we've achieved a triple double world championship," he told the broadcaster's F1 Show
, "Nobody can take that away from us, that's in the history books.
"But we put the pressure on ourselves because we want to continue that run of success. Of course, going into the season as reigning champions, you're there to be beaten, you're there to be shot at, but it's something we've got used to over the last couple of years. Pressure is part of this business, it's part of this sport, but, in many respects, we go into 2013 more relaxed than previous years because of what we have achieved. I think the team has continued to grow and continued to evolve and we're in a good position to deal with that pressure.
“Motivation is sky high - we're still a relatively young team and everybody enjoys winning. They enjoy the success and there's a real determination [to win again in 2013]. "
Sebastian Vettel's hat-trick of drivers' titles helped cement RBR's place in the record books as it remains unbeaten since 2010, but Horner also admitted that being taken to the wire by Ferrari last season almost took its toll on preparations for the coming year.
"It's been very tough for the design and production guys," Horner acknowledged, "It was the latest start we'd ever had and when Adrian [Newey] comes into your office and says 'I think we're running a bit late on the new car'….. He's not known for being early at the best of times!
"It's been an amazing effort over the winter period, over the Christmas break in particular, to have got the car ready for the first test. Only time will tell if it's enough."
Testing began well for both Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber in Jerez last week, with the new RB9 generally adjudged to have been the most competitive package, despite Ferrari's Felipe Massa stealing the headlines with the fastest time of the four-day session. Horner was quick to point out that, even despite the late start, the car that RBR fielded in southern Spain was only the starting point for the season, and would be significantly updated by the time the first race weekend kicks off in Australia in four weeks' time.
"The car's always a prototype, so the car that ran in Jerez last week will be quite different in Melbourne," he confirmed, “But that's the same for certainly most of the front-running teams. The pursuit of development will be relentless and will certainly be a key factor in this year's championship. But with the regulations being stable, you get into the law of diminishing returns. The gains you can make aren't quite as big as they were perhaps three of four years ago, so the devil does tend to be in the detail."
Vettel and Webber will return to the track, in Barcelona, this week, as the second four-day group test kicks off on Tuesday (19 February).