Dr Helmut Marko is confident Red Bull can stay ahead of the pack in 2012.

Podium: race winner Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing
Podium: race winner Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: xpb.cc

Sebastian Vettel will almost certainly wrap up his second consecutive title in Japan this weekend, and so the energy drink-owned team already has firm sights on defending its latest championships next year.

In the paddock, however, there is the hope that Red Bull's dominance will be hit by the 2012 banning of blown exhaust diffusers.

"We will let our competitors believe that it is so," team advisor Marko told Germany's Sport Bild.

"But I ask how - if a car is not competitive - can the philosopher's stone be suddenly found?" added the Austrian.

Marko is therefore not expecting any surprises for 2012, after Red Bull had arguably the fastest car in the field for the past three seasons.

Can the philosopher's stone be suddenly found?

Helmut Marko

"The fact that having a good foundation one year is a good foundation for the following year has been proved by us for the last three years," he said.

But one weakness in 2011 was KERS, he admitted.

"That's why we have had a taskforce set up for some time now," said Marko, "which has been possible due to the more intense cooperation with Renault. We have developed particularly hard in this area."