How Red Bull brought a ‘free upgrade’ to 2023 Hungarian GP

Red Bull are introducing five upgrades at this weekend's Hungarian GP, as Max Verstappen chases down another win.

Expert F1 analyst Sam Collins believes Red Bull have gotten a “free upgrade” for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, with the side having introduced an update to their sidepods.

Red Bull have introduced five upgrades to the RB19 at the Hungaroring, with one in particular having raised some questions.

The side’s sidepods do look considerably different to what they’ve run this season, with Collins believing that the RB19 could be an additional two-tenths per lap quicker.

“I still haven’t seen the completed car yet, but what I can say is the side pod is completely different to what we’ve seen previously,” Collins told F1TV.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

“They’ve gone for a very slit-type radiator duct and completely redesigned the cooling system.”

Collins believes Red Bull have been able to develop their sidepods without using their allotted wind tunnel time, which was reduced by 10% for 12 months after the side breached the 2021 budget cap.

The expert pointed out that Red Bull have been “very clever”, as redesigning their radiators doesn’t come out of their wind tunnel time.

As a result, Collins thinks the side have gotten a “free upgrade”.

Article continues below

“A lot of people are going, ‘What about the wind tunnel time?’ I think they’ve been very clever because radiator redesigns don’t come out of the wind tunnel allocation, so they’ve actually got a bit of a free upgrade on that, I think,” Collins assessed.

The big question now is whether Red Bull’s upgrades will be as effective as expected.

If they are, then the Austrians will clear off even further into the distance; however, if they don’t work then it could allow the likes of Mercedes to reduce the gap slightly.

READ: George Russell reveals lofty Hungarian GP target

Collins pointed this out, with him noting that Red Bull might have “exposed themselves”.

“That upgrade, I think, is going to be worth more than two-tenths of a second as the season goes on,” Collins said.

“However, as we saw with Ferrari at the Spanish Grand Prix, when you do a drastic change to a Formula 1 car, it doesn’t always work right away. So, perhaps, Red Bull have exposed themselves ever so slightly – at least at first.”