Red Bull's win the costliest ever

LONDON - Sebastian Vettel's relentless pursuit of victory could be driving Red Bull to the most expensive World Championship win in the history of Formula One.

Although the team will pick up a prize estimated to be about £80 million (S$160 million), Red Bull face paying out as much as £10million in bonuses to the best-rewarded staff in F1, as well as record fees to the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the sport's governing body.

Christian Horner, Red Bull's team principal, is expected to confirm that he will rubber-stamp bonus payments of at least £10,000 to each of the team's 550 staff.

With this year's title locked up, staff will have taken home an average of £40,000 each for playing their part in Red Bull's remarkable domination of F1 since Vettel won his first world title in 2010.

Senior staff are thought to have been paid up to four times more, while Vettel could be in line for a payout worth more than £3million as a reward for his 11 race wins so far this season.

Remarkably, Red Bull's victory as the champion constructor comes with a massive penalty: Every point won this season will cost them US$6,000 (S$7,500) paid to the FIA in entry fees for next season.

Red Bull already have 513 points in the constructors' championship with two grands prix still to run, which means the team will have to pay at least £2 million simply to enter next year's championship under rules introduced for the first time this season.

Indeed, Red Bull are already looking towards next season.

Horner disclosed that winning the championship with three races to spare has allowed his team the buffer of starting work on next year's car early.

"Whatever we achieved this year, we can only benefit from next year," he said.

"Our full focus in Milton Keynes is on the challenges of 2014 but there is still an awful lot we can learn.

"The other teams are involved in a battle for second place in the championship.

"We are out of that and will be able to turn full focus on to 2014."

Few can see their supremacy ending, even when F1 undergoes the biggest regulation changes in a generation next year with the introduction of hybrid engines.

"Some of the performance I have observed they have gained in the second half of the year, it looks like performance that will translate into next year," Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn told Autosport.

"They suddenly have the car that sometimes tops the speed trap times, and they have never done that in years.

"They have managed to shed some drag off the car, so some of the car's performances in certain areas of the track, if carried over into next year, will make it very challenging.

"(2014) is a new slate in many ways, but I think you don't unlearn things.

"So things they have modified with this year's car will be applicable for next year."

The F1 season ends with the United States race on Sunday and Brazil the week after.