Max Verstappen gives honest reply when asked about Red Bull penalty

Red Bull have already served 25-percent of their 12-month wind tunnel penalty, which was awarded after they breached the 2021 budget cap.

Double World Champion Max Verstappen has downplayed the effect that the team’s budget cap penalty is going to have in 2023, with the Dutchman not expecting it to be a “limiting factor”.

Many have predicted that the Austrians will find defending their Constructors’ Championship extremely challenging in the forthcoming season, as a result of the punishment they are currently serving.

It was announced the day after Verstappen retained his Drivers’ Championship in Japan that the Milton Keynes-based team had breached the 2021 budget cap, as rumours suggested.

Red Bull were discovered to have made a ‘minor’ breach of the cap during its first season of operation in 2021, after going $2.2 million over the limit.

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It took almost an entire year for the breach to be discovered, with the team’s punishment having not even been announced until after the United States Grand Prix.

Eventually, the FIA announced that Red Bull would have to pay a $7 million fine, whilst they’d also receive a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research for 12 months.

The latter was effectively a reduction in the amount of time they’d be allocated for wind tunnel-use, something they were already set to receive very little of having won the Constructors’ Championship.

Interestingly, the 12-month reduction started the moment it was announced, meaning they’ve already served three months of their punishment.

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Given that Red Bull had likely designed the bulk of their 2023 car by the time the punishment was announced, it’s not expected for the Austrians to struggle at the start of the season.

Most, though, believe the penalty will hit the side mid-season, when the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes will likely be introducing huge aero upgrades, something Red Bull won’t be able to do to the same extent.

Verstappen isn’t afraid of what the penalty could do to his title chances despite having “thought about” the punishment a lot, with the 25-year-old having full belief in his team.

“Of course I’ve thought about it,” Verstappen told

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“But I think we have a lot of very competent people in our factory, it makes things a little bit harder, but I also look at it like this: I prefer to be in the position that we are in, [rather] than always finishing second or third in the championship. That is way more depressing.

“We have a lot of good people, and I am sure we have to be a little bit more precise in what we are doing in the wind-tunnel.

“But I don’t expect it to be a big, limiting factor in if we are going to win the title or not.”