Helmut Marko speaks out on ‘idiotic’ decision by Red Bull

Red Bull were recently fined $7 million for exceeding the 2021 budget cap by $2.2 million.

Money appears to be no problem for Red Bull, after the side’s top advisor Dr Helmut Marko revealed that the Austrians are building a new wind tunnel at their Milton Keynes headquarters, a decision he labelled “idiotic”.

Incredibly, Red Bull have continued to use Jaguar’s wind tunnel since when they bought the side out in 2004, with the facility being 20 miles from their base in Milton Keynes.

The decision to spend £44 million on a new one comes at a time when the side are already under financial strain, having exceeded the 2021 budget cap.

It was deemed that the Austrians exceeded the cap by $2.2 million; however, had they filed their tax documentation correctly, then this sum would’ve dropped to just shy of $500,000.

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As a punishment, Red Bull were fined $7 million by the FIA and a given a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research, affecting their wind tunnel time.

Despite this, the side appear to believe a new wind tunnel is necessary, with some issues having occurred with their current one in Bedford.

Ideally, Red Bull would either knock down or redo their current wind tunnel, something which isn’t possible due to it being a listed building.

This comes as a result of the team’s wind tunnel having been used in World War Two for aircraft development, somewhat fitting actually, given that Red Bull’s slogan is ‘Red Bull gives you wings’.

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Marko explained to AMuS why they are being forced to change location and build a new one, something that will take “two to three years” and he believes is “idiotic”.

“The problem with our wind tunnel is that it is a post-war product that was set up by the Ministry of Defence, and cannot be demolished as it is a listed building,” Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.

“It is insanely long and not well insulated, and it takes a while to heat up.

“When it’s cold outside, it takes even longer. That’s why we’re building a new wind tunnel on our site, which is idiotic, because the development trend is moving towards CFD simulations.

“That’s another 50 million [Euros]. The building is already there, and the [new] wind tunnel will go there, but it will probably take another two to three years before everything is ready.”

A new wind tunnel is just one of many changes currently taking place within the Austrian company, following the death of co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Mateschitz died during the United States Grand Prix following a long battle with an illness, meaning that plenty of change has had to take place in the side’s management structure.

Marko, who was a close friend of Mateschitz, is aware that a “lot will change” in regard to how the company is run, but that the F1 project shouldn’t see a lot happen to it due to working “very independently”.

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“Certainly a lot will change,” he added.

“It was de facto autocracy, but Red Bull Racing is the group’s strongest and most efficient marketing tool. We have worked very independently in the past.

“We were the only ones who didn’t have to follow certain company rules. This autonomy existed with the consent of Mateschitz, but it has already leaked out that the new management wants to continue Formula 1 activities. Like now, with a relatively strong independence.”