Christian Horner reckons Red Bull will be have to be very efficient to minimise the penalty effect for both F1 2023 and 2024 season.

It has been five months since Red Bull were served with a fine of $7 million and wind tunnel time cut over their Cost Cap breach in 2021. All F1 teams would have preferred a more stringent penalty along the lines of loss of championship points which would could have affected the title picture but it didn’t happen.

As it is, Red Bull got off to a great start to the 2023 campaign with a 1-2 in qualifying and the race itself.  Focal question remains however as to how much of an impact the team will be affected by their penalties as they continue through the 23 race calendar trying to upgrades onboard.

Since the season is long and the penalty is for a 12 month period, the wind tunnel time cut will affect their current car’s development and also 2024 which is why Red Bull will have to be very efficient as per team chief Horner.

“It’s great to see the fine being applied, so well,” joked Horner to start with. “We’ve got a new FIA couch, and Tom’s got a new suit. It’s great to see the funding into the FIA being spent very effectively. But, look, I mean, for us, efficiency is a key word, and particularly with the handicap of losing 10 per cent of your wind tunnel time”.

“So, again, that’s where the team have done an incredible job to turn up in a competitive manner. But of course, that handicap is for a 12-month period. So we have another eight, nine months still to go with it. And it means that we’re going to have to be very selective and extremely efficient in how we develop this car”.

“And of course, next year’s car,” summed up Horner. As noted above, the focal headache for the team is losing their wind tunnel time of 10% which in all probability is the most damaging part of the scenario and this may hurt even more in terms of developing their 2024 charge. On top of that, they will always get less time by finishing first.

Having done so in 2022, they have less time than Ferrari, Mercedes and even Aston Martin, this will thus play some role if not a large one for the latter part of 2023 and even 2024. “It really depends if anything changes in the regulations,” said Horner.

“So we’re expecting stable regulations, but of course it is a disadvantage, a handicap, to have, not only the incremental difference that you have by being first place in the championship, on top of that a further 10%. So we’re 15% less time than Ferrari and 20% less than Mercedes and so on”.

“That’s a significant number, so for us it’s all about being efficient, being effective in what we apply, and choose to test in the tunnel and how we develop both the RB19 and the RB20,” summed up Horner.

So far, Red Bull has had the perfect start to its F1 2023 campaign. It remains to be seen what effect the loss of 10% has on them going forward but one thing is certain, however, that with their knowledge and know how, they should remain at the sharp end for the remainder of the campaign.

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