But instead of playing it safe by cruising towards 10th place, the 24-year-old German, who has dominated this year's racing from the off, and his powerful Red Bull team are intending on going at full pelt.
"We always race to win," warned Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Vettel has won nine of the 14 races so far, taken 11 pole positions and amassed a staggering 309 points, a total that has left him with a lead of 124 ahead of his only remaining title rival, Briton Jenson Button of McLaren.
Only a Button victory, without Vettel scoring, can prevent the rapidly maturing German from lifting the crown again at one of F1's greatest venues and a circuit where many title battles of the past have been settled.
Button, who has made it clear he intends to make life as difficult as possible for the Red Bulls in Sunday's 53 laps at Suzuka, was boosted on Wednesday when it was announced that he had agreed a new contract with McLaren.
"I've never felt more at home at a team than I do," said Button. "I've won four of the greatest races of my life here, I'm currently lying second in the drivers' world championship and I feel that I'm driving better than ever."
He reiterated his determination to keep winning. "I've made no secret of my ambition to continue winning races and world championships and I fully believe this is the place where I can achieve those aims," he said. (AFP)