Christian Horner makes worrying admission about FIA ‘handicap’

Red Bull have already served a quarter of their 12 month reduction on permitted aerodynamic testing.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that their budget cap penalty is already “limiting significantly” the team’s number of runs in the wind tunnel, with the Austrians already three months into their penalty.

After breaching the 2021 budget cap by $2.2 million, the FIA announced towards the end of the 2022 season that the Milton Keynes-based outfit would be fined $7 million and awarded a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research for 12 months.

The fine has been paid and the side are a quarter of the way through their 12-month wind tunnel reduction, with Horner admitting that the penalty has resulted in the team having to be a “bit more focused”.

“We’re probably 25 per cent almost of the way through that penalty, and of course it has an effect,” Horner told RACER.

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“It’s limiting significantly, the amount of runs that we can do in our wind tunnel over each quarter. And I think that the team are having to adapt to that.

“And it just means you have to be a bit more focused, and more disciplined in what we put through the testing process within the tunnel or within our simulation tools.”

Whilst dealing with the penalty for the next nine months is “another challenge” for the Austrians, they’ll still be targeting to retain their 2022 Constructors’ Championship, whilst Max Verstappen will be pushing for a third consecutive Drivers Championship.

If Red Bull get anywhere close to replicating their dominant 2022 campaign, then they’ll likely claim both titles once again, with the team having won 17 races last season.

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Verstappen alone claimed 15, to break the record for most wins in a single season.

The 25-year-old also broke the record for most points scored in a season, after accumulating 454.

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Horner is confident that the team can overcome their setbacks due to having “very capable people” within the team, who’ll be trying to work in the “most efficient and effective way” possible.

“It’s another challenge. And it’s a handicap for sure, coming into this year,” he explained.

“But we’ve got very capable people that are looking to obviously extract the best that we possibly can and apply ourselves in the most efficient and effective way.”