Sebastian Vettel has warned his critics to write off at their peril his chances of him becoming only the second driver in Formula One history to win five successive world titles.
Following a wretched pre-season of testing in which the new Red Bull often ground to a halt, the odds are on Vettel failing to even cross the line in Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, never mind stretching his winning streak to 10 races after taking the chequered flag in the final nine of last year.
The Milton Keynes-based team encountered a raft of problems with the RB10 - with Vettel continuing his trend of providing his car with a girl's name and this year calling it Suzie - that has placed them firrnly on the back foot going into the race around Melbourne's Albert Park.
It has been suggested the car appears quick enough, and if Red Bull can get on top of their reliability issues then Vettel could again be in the hunt for another crown.
Dismissing a suggestion that a fifth consecutive championship was not on the cards, Vettel said: "That's unfair to say.
"Our season testing, our preparation hasn't been ideal, and we're not in the best position for this race.
"But it's a different story for the championship because there is a long way to go.
"Two years ago I remember being on the grid (on pole) and (Fernando) Alonso was 1.5 seconds behind me, but he came very close to beating me for the title at the very last race.
"So it shows anything can happen. That's why this race is important as any other, and there are a lot of races to go.
"Of course, we know we're not in the best shape yet and there are a lot of things we need to solve, but unfortunately you can't solve them all overnight. We'd love to, but we can't.
"We have to go step by step, be as precise as we can, trying to give the best feedback possible to the engineers."
F1 2014 car launch - The era of the 'anteaters'
F1 2014 car launch - The era of the 'anteaters'
1/17 McLaren - MP4-29
The Woking-based outfit launched their MP4-29 on January 24, with drivers Jenson Button and rookie Kevin Magnussen joined by reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne. However, the main talking point was the absence of team principal Martin Whitmarsh following the return of Ron Dennis
2/17 Williams - FW35
Williams were the first to unveil their car, albeit a computer-generated design. The real thing is yet to roll out of the garage at Jerez, with some last minute adjustments holding up its debut. Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa joins the team to try and return them to the top of the sport, and he will partner Valteri Bottas who is retained from last season
3/17 Ferrari - F14T
The Italian manufacturers have pushed Red Bull hard in the past few years, but they hope the F14T will finally surpass their rivals and give either Fernando Alonso or the returning Kimi Raikkonen another World Championship to add to their collection
4/17 Ferrari - F14T
Raikkonen gets reacquainted with the Ferrari cockpit after a four-year absence from the prancing horse, but...
5/17 Ferrari - F14T
His joy is short lived as he becomes the first to suffer from unreliability as his car stops on track, requiring a lift back to the pit lane. He certainly won't be the last though
6/17 Sauber - C33-Ferrari
Sauber have followed the 'anteater' nose design for 2014, and hope for a more successful year than last with Adrian Sutil joining Esteban Gutierrez at the wheel
7/17 Lotus E22
Lotus launched their 2014 challenger, the E22, on the same day as team principal Eric Boullier left the team, with Gerard Lopez replacing him at the helm. With Romain Grosjean now the team leader, many will be watching how he and livewire Pastor Maldonado get on this year. Thta's if they turn up, as their absence from Jerez doesn't bode well
8/17 Mercedes - W05sup
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton unveil the Mercedes W05sup at Jerez, which thankfully avoids the 'anteater' nose
9/17 Mercedes - W05sup
Many are tipping Hamilton and Rosberg to take the fight to Red Bull this year with the W05sup undoubtedly one of the nicer looking cars on this season's grid, but will it be as fast?
10/17 Red Bull - RB10
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull are going for a record-equalling fifth straight drivers' and constructors' championship. They have also avoided the 'anteater' nose, and rival Mercedes for the best looking car of the year award. Is there anything Red Bull don't want to win? Daniel Ricciardo makes the step-up from Toro Rosso to replace the now absent Mark Webber
11/17 Toro Rosso - STR9
Toro Rosso's design sure isn't pretty, but they have taken a step into the unknown with rookie 19-year-old Daniil Kvyat. The Russian impressed in practice towards the end of last season, but how will he get on against his more experienced team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne?
12/17 Toro Rosso - STR9
The 'anteater' nose of the Toro Rosso SRT9, likened to a sex toy by lingerie makers Ann Summers
13/17 Force India - VJM07
The ever-impressive Nico Hulkenburg returns to the team he left at the end of 2012 having missed out on a seat at Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren. The German will have a point to prove once more, but he'll have a difficult enough time to beat team-mate Sergio Perez first
14/17 Caterham - CT04
After a short delay which saw their early morning unveiling cancelled, Caterham eventually rolled out their CT04 in the afternoon, with another rookie in Marcus Ericsson at the wheel, while the returning Kamui Kobayashi took the picture
15/17 Williams - FW36
Williams finally got their FW36 running after a delay on day one of testing at Jerez, with Valteri Bottas taking to the track
16/17 Marussia - MR03
Two days later than scheduled, Max Chilton eventually left the garage in the Marussia MR03 for its first run at Jerez
17/17 Marussia - MR03
Chilton brings the car back in after completing an installation lap
The past few weeks have arguably been some of the toughest for the 26 -year-old since he arrived at Red Bull, prompting the question as to how he will react.
Naturally, Vettel has every intention of continuing to give his all, even when the chips might be down.
"At this stage it's difficult for all of us to know what to expect as to how the racing will look, how it will feel inside the car, how many cars will cross the line," added Vettel.
"We had a lot of problems during the test, as did others, so it's difficult to have any sort of expectations.
"But I'm not going out to simply make it round, rather to the push to the maximum, to do the best I can, and then we'll see where we are and how far we get.
"The target is to finish, and to be in the best possible position.
"As to mindset, it's fairly straightforward for the rest of the year - we're a strong team, we have a lot of good people on board, we've good resources, so we should progress as the season moves on."