Red Bull-affiliated simulator driver Rudy van Buren has expressed his belief that Mercedes did the right thing prioritising beating Ferrari in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship, despite receiving less wind tunnel time for 2024 as a result.
Mercedes’ duel with Ferrari for a distant P2 behind Red Bull went down to the wire last season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with the Silver Arrows ultimately claiming the spot by just three points.
Whilst finishing second is financially more beneficial than finishing third, Ferrari have been granted five per cent more wind tunnel time than the Brackley-based team for this year.
In Formula 1, wind tunnel time is allocated based on where an outfit finishes in the Constructors’ Championship the previous season.
As Red Bull won the championship last season, they’ve received the least wind tunnel time on the grid.
Mercedes have been given five per cent more than Red Bull for finishing second, with Ferrari getting five per cent more than the Germans and so on.
Effectively, the sliding-scale gives those towards the back of the pack a greater chance of introducing more upgrades to get closer to the frontrunners.
Whilst Ferrari do have more wind tunnel and CFD testing time for 2024 than Mercedes, Van Buren is certain the Silver Arrows did the correct thing by fighting for second in the standings.
The simulator driver doesn’t think Ferrari having just five per cent more will make a significant difference and that each team should always push for the best championship position possible.
“We are now talking about that few per cent difference in the wind tunnel time – I think you should always take what you can get in terms of championship,” Van Buren told RacingNews365.
“You have to perform on the day you are there and they did that. Did they get it as a gift because Sainz did not show up in Abu Dhabi? Yes. If you start fourteenth in a Ferrari, you have an alternative strategy and then reach the top 10 doesn’t come in? What are you doing? Then something is really wrong.
“I don’t think those few per cent in the wind tunnel will be ‘make it or break it’. I’ll stick with it, take what you can get. If that’s P2, then that’s P2.”