‘Naughty boys’ Red Bull face disadvantage in Aston Martin fight

Aston Martin are currently second in the Constructors' Championship, 49 points behind Red Bull after two rounds of 2023.

Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft has pinpointed where Aston Martin can gain an advantage on Red Bull this season, with the Silverstone-based team looking set to be the Austrians’ closest challengers.

The British side have enjoyed an exceptional start to the 2023 F1 season, with the side having claimed consecutive third place finishes thanks to double world champion Fernando Alonso.

Alonso has been the only driver this season who’s been able to consistently challenge Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, with the Spaniard often being towards the top of the timesheets during free practice.

Whilst Red Bull do certainly have the edge currently over Aston Martin, things could change once their budget cap penalty starts to impact their upgrades.

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As a result of breaching the 2021 budget cap, Red Bull received a 10-percent reduction in their allotted wind tunnel time, something they were already set to receive the least amount of due to having won the Constructors’ Championship last season.

Due to Aston Martin having finished seventh in the standings last season, they effectively have “120 wind tunnel runs” more than the Milton Keynes-based team, something which Croft believes will have an effect on their battle later in the year.

“As the season goes on, they get less wind tunnel time than certainly Aston Martin,” Croft explained on the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“The fact that we’ve got an Aston Martin vs Red Bull battle is brilliant.

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“Under the wind tunnel regulations, Aston Martin get 100% of the time because they finished seventh in Constructors Championship last year.

“Red Bull gets 70% of the time, but because they were naughty boys and girls and overspending on the cost cap it was reduced by another 10%. So they only get 63%.

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“So Aston Martin have 37% more wind tunnel CFD time. That equates to about 120 Wind Tunnel runs in the course of an eight-week period.”

Alonso has already teased that Aston Martin’s AMR23 is still a “basic car”, with the British side set to introduce considerable upgrades in the next few races.

Should they manage to remain within touching distance of Red Bull towards the end of the season, then there is a real chance that they could catch the Austrians, given that it’s still relatively unknown just how much time they’ll lose once they become impacted by their budget cap penalty.