Max Verstappen issues warning as Red Bull to be handed major blow

Red Bull were awarded a wind tunnel penalty following their 'minor' breach of the 2021 budget cap.

Max Verstappen’s defence of his maiden 2021 Drivers’ Championship was majestic in 2022, with the Dutchman setting new records for the most wins and points scored in a season.

With a staggering 15 wins and 454 points this season, there was no stopping the 25-year-old from becoming a double World Champion, so what is stopping him from becoming a three-time World Champion in 2023?

Well, it appears that Red Bull’s penalty for breaching the 2021 budget cap might put a dent in the Dutchman’s 2023 armour, with Verstappen being certain that his side’s reduction of allotted wind tunnel time will “hurt” them.

“That will hurt us,” Verstappen told Auto Motor und Sport.

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“But I’m still confident my team can pull it off and we’ll get off to a good start,” the Dutchman added.

“We know where to start and what to work on.

“If we were at a loss as to which direction to go in, it would be an even greater problem. We will learn how much we actually suffer from it over the course of the year.

“But our car was competitive and if we keep the momentum going, it should be fine.”

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It’s not just Verstappen who thinks the Austrians will be affected by the 10-percent reduction in wind tunnel time, as the side’s chief technology officer Adrian Newey is also certain that the penalty will have an “impact” on the Constructors’ Champions.

“Reducing internally-conducted testing means we can do fewer evaluations, compare fewer competing components, fewer new ideas,” Newey is quoted as saying, per Italy’s Autosprint.

“But if we’re really smart and put the right things on the (wind tunnel) model, it won’t make a big difference. But there are always pieces that you hope will work and they don’t – and the same the other way around,” he added.

“It will be a restriction that will certainly have an impact,” said Newey.

Newey added that a new regulation for next season will also present a challenge for the energy drink-owned outfit, due to their reduction in permitted aerodynamic research.

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In a bid to completely eradicate porpoising, the FIA has added that for 2023 all floor edges must be raised by 15mm, something that Newey hails as no “small measure”.

“There is a small intervention – a modification for the raising of the edge of the floor by 15mm,” Newey said.

“It sounds like a small measure but in reality it is a quite relevant aerodynamic change. Like all the teams we are working to reduce the deficit in addition to the normal development that proceeds from year to year.”