Having been found to have committed a minor breach of the financial regulations, Red Bull were fined and presented with a 10% reduction in wind tunnel time. As a result, the upgrades introduced at Hungary are the last for the RB19 in 2023, according to team principal, Christian Horner.
At the halfway mark of a season, teams begin to discuss when they should start working on next year’s car. When they start depends on the performance level of their current car combined with their position in the championship standings.
Red Bull for their part seem to have both championships in the bag, but the possibility of them winning every single race of the season isn’t a given. Development of the RB19 will slow, if not come to a complete stop as the year progresses, allowing teams who have spent more time on this year’s car to catch up.
Red Bull are in a peculiar position as having won the championship in 2022 means they had less wind-tunnel time than the rest of the grid thanks to the sliding scale of time allotted to each team. For example, Williams finished last in 2022 and so were handed the most wind tunnel time. But Red Bull faced even less time thanks to their penalty, but that has hardly seemed to have mattered much considering how far ahead they are in the standings which has given them the luxury to begin development on 2024’s car.
This has been confirmed by Chrisitan Horner, who when asked by the media if their upgrades introduced in Hungary were satisfactory.
“They did what they said on the tin,” Horner said. “From that point of view, it’s sort of box ticked. With the handicap that we have, we have to really swing our focus over to next year, because we have a significant deficit on wind tunnel time compared to our competitors. We have to be very selective about how we use it.”
With focus switching to 2024, Horner confirmed that there won’t be any significant upgrades introduced in 2023.
“We will have a few circuit-specific things but nothing that hasn’t been done already, or already committed through the research and development,” Horner said.
When asked whether the 10 per cent reduction in wind tunnel time has been served, Horner said that it will affect the initial development stages of the 2024 car.
“We have that penalty until October this year,” he said. “So, particularly in terms of the number of runs that you can do per week, we’re significantly down compared to second and third place and massively down to teams in fourth and fifth.
“If you compare to McLaren and the amount of runs they can do in a wind tunnel versus ourselves, it’s a huge, huge difference.
“So we have to be very, very selective in the running that we’re doing. That’s where the engineering team back in Milton Keynes are doing an incredible job in the way that they’re effectively and efficiently developing the car.”
Red Bull failing to win every race this year is an exciting prospect for fans of other teams as they each fight for their first win of the season. The likely race winners are either Mercedes or McLaren, but Aston Martin and Ferrari can’t be completely discounted.