Red Bull must build a “buffer” over rivals before development cut bites – Horner

2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Red Bull must seize the opportunity they have to extend their points lead over their rivals before they feel the impact of their reduced aerodynamic testing allocation, says team principal Christian Horner.

As the reigning world champions, under Formula 1’s performance-balancing aerodynamic testing regulations, Red Bull are permitted the least wind tunnel and Computational Fluid Dynamics development time of any team.

Their allocation was further cut last year when the team was found to have exceeded F1’s budget cap during the 2021 season. The team was originally limited to 70% of the reference total of wind tunnel runs and CFD simulations. Their budget cap penalty reduced that to 63%.

Nonetheless the team has begun 2023 in a strong position. Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have won two grands prix apiece and the team have more than twice as many constructors’ championship points as their closest rival.

Horner says Red Bull must keep on shoring up their advantage before the likes of Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari begin to close.

“At the moment it’s the two of them, there’s a slight gap between the rest of the field, but there’s 19 more races to go and five sprint races.

“So there’s a huge amount of racing, there’s a whole variance of different circuits to go through, so it could ebb and flow between the two of them – reliability will be a big factor. And of course what we’re more focused on as well at the moment is building a buffer with both of the drivers because when we get back to Europe, I’m sure there’s going to be sizeable upgrades, and of course we have a reduced capacity to develop. So that’s where our focus is trying to build a gap.”

Red Bull’s penalty means it may conduct 201 wind tunnels runs to 240 for Ferrari, 256 for Mercedes and 320 for Aston Martin. “We have just a limited amount of runs, so you have to be selective,” said Horner.

“You can’t run so many iterations. You’ve got to focus on the things that we really want to look at. So it’s being a lot more selective in what you’re able to research.”

*Due to their penalty for exceeding the budget cap in 2021, Red Bull’s allocation this year is reduced from 70% to 63%

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Keith Collantine
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15 comments on “Red Bull must build a “buffer” over rivals before development cut bites – Horner”

  1. I get why Christian has to say this. It’s plain bullfrogs nonetheless.

    They are at least a second a lap ahead of the next quickest team and should have shifted focus to 2024 by now while whatever had been in the pipeline in early 2023 moves through production.

    1. @proesterchen True, although their closest rivals could also shift focus sooner in response.

      1. What if this is only a ruse by Christian to try and get AM, Mercedes and Ferrari to pile on the development work this year trying to catch up so they won’t have much left for next years’ car @jerejj, @proesterchen!

        Yeah, I know, since there aren’t many rules changes expected, work for this years car is almost certain to pay off for next year as well. I would think exactly the same goes for Red Bull though.

        1. We’d have to see Toto’s wishlist to know how stable the rules will be going forward … 😉

  2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    2nd May 2023, 18:19

    Still crying about the non penalty!

    1. Still crying about the non penalty!

      Got to amplify the bull.
      I guess it’s their version of the big lie. Tell it often enough and loud enough and maybe someone will believe.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      2nd May 2023, 20:26

      @andyfromsandy what are you talking about? It was draconian!!! ;-)

      I feel for Red Bull – and now Russell goes and hits Max who then went on to give a lecture on the radio about how he is the embodiment of clean driving.

      How dare you FIA? How dare you George?

  3. They could have stopped upgrading the car after the first race and they’d still be the fastest by the EOS. Anyway, sick of the nonsense about people trying to act like they gained some massive advantage via a few hundred thousands of dollars. As if Newey’s design would have been radically different without that few extra hundred thousand dollars.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      2nd May 2023, 20:36

      By virtue of getting a tax rebate they actually did spend £1.8 million more but the credit reduced the bottom line of the accounts to the few hundred thousand.

      1. Thanks for explicating. That what I was basing the numbers on, but was too lazy to explain that part.

      2. @andyfromsandy that is not quite correct either – Red Bull submitted an application for a tax credit for research and development work undertaken on their cars, but I do not believe that there has been any confirmation that HMRC has yet agreed that Red Bull’s claim met the requirements for that credit.

        Nick T., Red Bull’s application means that the team has to have spent that money on research activities related to their car – the tax credit is only valid for research and development work which genuinely advances scientific understanding across a particular field of activity. In trying to claim that the work can’t have been that important, you are effectively saying that Red Bull submitted an invalid claim and therefore is not legally entitled to the tax credit.

  4. Hopefully this is true.

    It would make for one of the best F1 seasons ever, if RB roared away for the first third of the season, only to be slowly reeled back in by the rest of the pack.
    Thus giving us an unpredictable last 4 or 5 races with everything to race for.

    I shall go to sleep tonight with hope in my heart ;P

  5. Yes, I don’t believe horner here, there’s too much gap to recover, let alone if red bull keeps developing the car, even with the penalty.

    1. The penaulty will happer more the 2024 car but in the second part of the season you will notice less updates for Red Bull.

  6. Looks blatantly obvious to me that RB must build a buffer before Silverstone.

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