Red Bull mum on 'dirty tricks' specifics
Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team on Monday declined to elaborate on references to rival teams' "dirty tricks" after the 25-year-old broke records to become Formula One's youngest triple world champion.
Team chief Christian Horner said he and his outfit accepted that F1 was a hard sport and that they had to face up to all the consequences of success.
"It's been a tough competition," he said. "Formula One is a tough business and you're up against some tough opponents. The fastest way to become unpopular is to have repeated success.
"We've ignored what other teams are doing and have just focused on ourselves."
But Vettel was more forthcoming when asked to explain his immediate post-race comments about "dirty tricks" after finishing sixth in the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday to secure his third consecutive title.
"It was a very, very tough season for us, on track, off track – a lot of ups and downs for everyone. But we always remained ourselves and kept doing it our way and that made the difference in the end," he added.
Asked to explain further, Vettel said: "It is unbelievable but the most important thing is that throughout the season we always kept believing in ourselves.
"A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks but we did not get distracted by that and kept going our way and all the guys gave a big push right to the end.
"I am not holy. I have my mistakes like everyone else has. But I was brought up to be honest and I also believe that was the reason why we succeeded.
"We stepped up our game in the second half of the season, which allowed us to come back in this championship. I have to thank all the team because there is no-one in our team more important than the next person.
"We are all a group and fighting next to each other and not against each other. I am very proud of that. It is unbelievable.
"And, for me, it is always most important that you are happy with what you see in the mirror. You are honest with yourself because what is the point in trying to fake something else?
"You are always the first one to know if you are cheating yourself. In that way, I think people tried everything – inside the lines, outside the lines – to beat us.
"The amount of questions we had to deal with, stuff we had to deal with throughout the season, did not make our life easier but the key was to remain ourselves and that made the difference."
Vettel and Horner are thought to be referring to the frequent technical rows about possible rule infringements in the first half of the season and persistent rumours that the champion was poised to sign for Ferrari.
German driver Vettel, who has a contract until 2014, denied claims above a move to Ferrari and reaffirmed his commitment to Red Bull, adding that he did not want to get mired in a public argument about any of the issues.
Instead, he said he wanted to focus on what the team could control.
Ferrari also declined to respond, although Fernando Alonso had said he felt that one of the key moments that cost him his third drivers' title win was the decision by race stewards in Japan only to reprimand Vettel for impeding him during qualifying.
Team chief Stefano Domenicali said: "I see things from a different angle. I don't want to follow that. For me, it is clear we raced 18 races out of 20 and we were second by three points. That hurts. Other things are not really interesting."