2023 looks set to be a challenging year for Constructors’ Champions Red Bull, with the side likely to have to think outside the box as a result of their reduced time in the wind tunnel.
Former Red Bull head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows, who now works for Aston Martin, has labelled his former side’s ‘Cashgate’ penalty as a “restriction”, with the Austrians likely to be disappointed to be entering a new season with a sizeable penalty over their heads.
The team’s wind tunnel woes come as a result of the FIA having found Red Bull guilty of having breached the 2021 budget cap by around $2 million, resulting in the Austrians being punished with a $7 million fine and a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research for a year.
This therefore means that the leading side will receive 10-percent less time in the wind tunnel than originally allowed, something which will affect the team’s 2023 developments and their 2024 challenger.
Having won the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull were already set to receive less wind tunnel time than their competitors, meaning that perhaps they were already in the process of developing over methods of testing potential upgrades.
Given that work on their 2023 challenger likely started during the summer, the Austrians won’t be affected too badly at the start of the year, with many predicting that the side will be hurt by their penalty mid-season, when the big upgrade packages are typically introduced.
The entire situation means the Milton Keynes-based outfit will have to work even harder than before to fight for the title, as the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes will be able to develop their cars more.
A strong start to the year is likely to be pivotal in Max Verstappen’s quest for a third world title, something that can also be said if Red Bull want to defend their own crown.
Fallows predicts that Red Bull will just “get on with it” next season, with the Austrians never usually appearing afraid in the midst of a challenge.
“It’s difficult to say [the impact] because I’m not there anymore, but I’ve no doubt that from the engineering side, they’ll feel that that’s a disappointment,” Fallows told reporters, in regard to if the budget cap penalty will damage Red Bull’s 2023 campaign.
“I think, personally, I would take it as any other challenge that you get given in this business. It’s something you have to deal with. It’s a restriction.
“They do have, as a result of being very successful, fewer wind tunnel runs and CFD capability than other teams anyway, and that’s just a challenge you have to deal with. I think in any situation like that you just regroup and get on with it.”