Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Red Bull’s testing restriction will “massively affect” 2024 car development

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Red Bull say their Aerodynamic Testing Restriction limit, which was reduced as part of their penalty for exceeding the budget cap in 2021, will have a significant effect on their development of next year’s car.

As the reigning world champions, Red Bull are already permitted less development time than any of their rivals. That allocation was further cut as part of their penalty for exceeding the 2021 budget cap by £1.86 million. As the restrictions apply throughout 2023, they will affect the team’s current development work which may include the design for next year’s car.

Red Bull have made a dominant start to 2022, sweeping every race so far with their RB19. As they look likely to clinch the constructors’ championship well before the end of the season, and Max Verstappen is on course to do the same in the drivers’ title fight, the team can increasingly turn its thoughts to next year’s car.

The team’s technical director Pierre Wache says the Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions will therefore have a greater impact on their 2024 car design. He denied its effect is lessened by the fact they are comfortably leading the championship.

“It is not easier because we are leading the championship,” he said. “It is as difficult, we are going to the limit.

“I think it could affect, for sure ,the current development of the car and maybe close the grid this year. But also it will affect massively next year’s car.”

“I cannot tell you that it’s easier [to cope with the restriction] because we want the best car next year. Then, how it will affect our performance, I don’t know yet.”

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Red Bull have replaced Mercedes as the team which has the lowest ATR allocation, having succeeded them as world champions. But Mercedes’ technical director James Allison says the team aren’t dwelling on their missed opportunity to close the gap to their rivals so far this year.

“From Mercedes’ perspective, we’re just trying to work the best we can with our own ATR limit, not worrying too much about the people behind us who have more or the people who were behind us having more or the people in front of us having less,” he said.

Mercedes “don’t really separate out the ATR particularly from every other aspect of resource that we brought to bear on the current car we have, which is clearly not competitive with respect to Red Bull,” Allison continued.

“Until it is, we’re all going to feel a bit miffed about that, even though that sort of unhappiness we see every time they win is offset hugely by the fact that it is thrilling in its own way to be fighting back, to be improving our car week-on-week and to hold clear in our heads the target that they don’t have a god-given right to be in the lead. They’re there by merit, having worked really well.

“If we can do as good or better job we’ll be there. And that is actually a lot of fun. It’s a very, very exhilarating thought once you frame it correctly in your head, and something that we’re all tucked into trying to make a reality.”

F1 teams’ Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions

*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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71 comments on “Red Bull’s testing restriction will “massively affect” 2024 car development”

  1. Certainly, so next season’s beginning will be interesting regarding how the competitive order at the top looks like between RB, AM, Mercedes, & Ferrari.
    From Saturday until this year’s end, Mercedes will have the second least wind tunnel-CFD time, followed by AM, & Ferrari, so hopefully, all three will use the opportunity to good effect.
    While AM will have 20% less time for this year’s second half than they’ve had over the first half after finishing 7th last season, they’ll critically still have more than the outright fastest team, which is the most important thing.

    1. I sure hope it will, since that is exactly the point of both the regulations that slightly restrict the top team and give more leeway to backmarkers AND the penalty.

      We badly need those teams to catch up and hopefully make relative strides in competitiveness in the coming seasons.

  2. They’re really overselling this. Import to keep in mind that teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin also have reduced opportunities to test.

    The small extra reduction Red Bull has on account of its (supposedly unintended) overspending was furthermore taken as a percentage from their already limited percentage, rather than from the reference amount, further lessening its impact.

    And Red Bull’s impressive rear suspension has nothing to do with the ART anyway, but has frequently been identified as key to their performance.

    1. Of course they will over sell it. The non-punishment for fielding an illegal car must be made to sound draconian or the game would be up

  3. In all fairness, this penalty seems really draconian. If they overspent by 1.86 million pounds, why not reduce their next year’s (i’m talking about 2023) budget by this same amount – 1.86 million pounds. That would be as fair as it gets.

    1. @osvaldas31 F1 doesn’t follow the rules of sense

    2. Raymond Pang
      28th June 2023, 9:41

      Let’s imagine it’s 2021, and let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Mercedes decided they needed to spend an extra £5m to guarantee Hamilton the title, and decided to take the hit for 2022. Hamilton wins the 2021 driver’s championship. They take a £5m hit into 2022, where their car was (relatively) uncompetitive anyway. They still walk out with the 2021 driver’s championship that they might not have done had they not overspent in 2021.

      It can’t work like that. Each and every season has to be a level playing field.

      1. I agree: That would just make the budget transferable. It could also lead to to teams overspending the next year, and just taking an additional hit the year after.

        Though, to be hones, I think there should have been a minimum penalty set of a fine of twice the overspend, to come out of the following season’s budget and shared among any teams which didn’t breach the cap (possibly added to their budgets as well). So, if a team breached the cap by £1m (and no other team did):
        – The team must pay £2m
        – Their budget for the following season is effectively reduced by £2m
        – Every other team receives £222k
        – (Possibly every other team gets an effective budget increase of £222k)

        That would be a significant penalty, not only hitting the team involved but also benefitting their rivals, as well as helping out the teams who are financially worse-off.

        1. Well, considering breaches so far have been minor, and it’s unlikely to think they’re going any higher, the amount given to each team doesn’t really do anything. They would have to break the budget by 20 mil for the redistribution part to have an effect.

          1. Yellow Baron
            29th June 2023, 8:58

            1.5 million isn’t minor. Also no team is likely spending a doller under the cap to make it. They would leave a buffer to stay clear.

      2. There is no amount of money a team can spend to absolutely guarantee they win anything. It simply doesn’t work that way.
        Ferrari and Mercedes are currently spending pretty much the same amount of money as Red Bull, but neither of them is winning much at the moment, are they… Do you think a few $million more would leap them up the grid and ‘guarantee’ them some wins or even a championship? I don’t.

        Nevertheless – if this is the way a team wants to play (by) the rules, then so be it. They will not be seen favourably, which is a pretty harsh penalty – particularly for a manufacturer team – in a sporting series so heavily based around marketing and public perception. The court of public opinion is much harsher than the FIA’s court.

    3. because you need penalties for cheating, not a handshake agreement and forgiveness. other sports with spending caps give far more serious penalties.

    4. Penalties are supposed to be “draconian”, as you put it. A competitor who breaks the rules should be worse off than if they hadn’t.

      It’s one of the problems with F1 penalties in general. Purely as an example, a couple of years ago Perez overtook off track and was ordered to give the place back. He decided not to because he would gain more by staying ahead than he would lose by the 5s penalty he would receive. In effect, he deliberately broke the rules to gain an advantage. This shouldn’t be how it works: If you break the rules and are caught out, the penalty for it should make you worse off than if you had followed the rules, otherwise where is the incentive to follow the rules?

      In the case of an overspend, if all you are going to do is deduct the overspend from next year’s budget, you may as well just make the budgets transferable. Allow a team to, say, spend up to a certain amount more this year for a reduced budget next year, or up to a certain amount less this year for an increase next year. They should have to declare their transfer in advance, before the end of the season. That way the option is open to all.

      1. Yes, what about hamilton at silverstone 2021? This has been very discussed on this forum, but hamilton was NOT worse off for taking verstappen out with a slap on the wrist 10 sec penalty, according to this it should’ve been a DQ plus a grid penalty next race. But at least 15 sec would’ve prevented him from winning, which he did with the 10 sec one.

        1. I can’t disagree. Unfortunately, that’s covered by the agreement that you should punish actions, not consequences. I’m not really a big fan of this rule, but it’s been agreed by all involved and reviewed many times.

          Where I believe the Perez case (among others) was different is that the action was not just overtaking outside track limits, it was also ignoring the instructions of the officials because it was advantageous to do so. He was instructed to give the place back, could have easily done so but chose not to.

    5. @osvaldas31

      Because that extra 1.86mln got them a few valuable tenths to take the WDC. If the rules stated that a $1mln overspend results in a $1mln cut for the next season, then what stops Mercedes or Ferrari from spending $50mln extra in one season, taking the championship, and then dealing with the reduced budget in the next season where they have no intention of fighting for the WDC. Ferrari would take that option for sure.

      1. Agreed.

        The overspend happened in 2021, then RBR were fighting closely for the title. Even if we take the low figure we’ve seen as an overspend, the could easily have accounted for 1 in-season upgrade. In such a close season, that one in-season upgrade they may not have been able to produce could easily have been enough to swing the championship.

        If teams were allowed to overspend this year for only the same deduction in budget next season, they would do so when it mattered. Particular instances where it would be most useful would be when in a closely-fought season (e.g. 2021) or when there is a rule change next season (e.g. 2021).

      2. Robert Henning
        28th June 2023, 18:22

        Because that extra 1.86mln got them a few valuable tenths to take the WDC.

        This is pure speculation.

        1. Not really. They brought several in-season upgrade packages, and those each brought an improvement. I’m fairly sure they add up to a few tenths at a bare minimum. All else being equal, to stay within budget they wouldn’t have been able to bring all of them. So a tenth or two is a minimum by which they gained.

    6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th June 2023, 13:29

      @osvaldas31 it’s not draconian if the team is setting records and the driver is beating Senna’s GP wins in nearly 2 seasons. Draconian means excessively harsh or severe. I think the words you are looking for are excessively lenient, benign, and sympathetic.

      Mateschitz’s death affected the penalty and it may have been better for the FIA to not have given Red Bull any penalty at all as opposed to a “get out of jail” card. They didn’t lose 1 point, 1 victory, and 1 championship and no money from their budget.

      1. Robert Henning
        28th June 2023, 18:23

        Your issue is that reality doesn’t match your expectation.

        Seems to be a common theme here with some posters.

        Accept reality.

        1. That it’s not a draconian penalty is obvious though, and I’m certainly not on hamilton\mercedes’ side on who deserved 2021.

    7. Robert Henning
      28th June 2023, 18:21

      This is not what the rules say, and what the teams accepted to.

      The penalty was a bit too much for a 400k breach in my opinion. But my opinion is my opinion and that’s where it ends.

    8. So you don’t think they should face a penalty for breaking the rules?

    9. Money isn’t a penaulty they have enough of it development time will hurt them. As i said before RB will notice their penaulty in the 2024 development. (which was confirment by Adrian Newey)

      1. The problem is that the only people who are saying the penalty will hurt them are from within the team*. It’s in their own interests to make it seem as damaging as possible, for a few reasons:
        – They don’t want people to think they “got away with” breaching the regs
        – It gives them an excuse if they do face competition, and devalues their competitors’ efforts
        – It makes them appear even better if they are still well ahead next season, and makes their competitors look worse

        All the other teams are saying it’s a slap on the wrist at best, though they the inverse set of reasons to do so.

        We don’t have a consensus of neutral opinion on the matter, either. So it all boils down to our own opinions right now. I’m of the opinion that it’s not going to hurt them much, but others have a different view. I guess we’ll never know: Even if the field catches up, will that be because they’ve done a good job, RBR have messed up, or because of the penalty? Or even a mixture of all 3? Only those inside RBR will know, and they’re not going to tell us if it’s either of the first 2…

        * Of course, the FIA also say similar to RBR. That said, they have their own list of reasons to do so, mainly from not wanting to look incompetent…

  4. What if.. their restriction would have been they can’t use their best engineers for two years. Then they would have been like any other team.

    1. Adrian Newey will quit RB and then rehired as consulant ……… So your rule doesn’t work.

      1. AFAIK Newey is already a consultant.

  5. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    28th June 2023, 9:53

    At some point in October the ORBR penalty ends.

    I think a lot of people have tried to talk up the penalty but track results seem to tell a different story.

    1. @andyfromsandy Yes, on the day, twelve months will have passed since the penalty effect began, which is around the Mexico City GP weekend & track results or reality indeed tell a different story.

    2. @andyfromsandy – You think that penaulty would hamper the 2023 car ( which was designed in 2022) no the 2024 car will be affected.
      Now it’s still a good car and the rest should outdevelop RB to let to see you the penaulty.

    3. I don’t quite get this. I was under the impression that the penalty applied to all of this season.

      Did they get a reduction from Oct-Dec 2022? Is it to do with the timings of the ATR?

  6. Philip Taylor
    28th June 2023, 10:23

    Next week in “things they absolutely would say”…

  7. Red Bull should have received a far far bigger penalty for what they did. they are reaping the rewards of cheating this year.
    Now they are telling lies to their fans.

  8. I strongly suspect they are just talking up the effects of the restriction, and also that they’ve already stopped developing specifically for this year and are focussing all their effort on next year’s car already. They had enough of an advantage at the start of the season that they were likely to win both championships without touching that original design, and the regulations are stable for next year. TBH, I’d almost go so far as to say they would be foolish to be concentrating development effort on this year’s car right now.

    1. Agree with you mostly on this one. The advantage they have now, at least in Max’s hand is so big that even up the summer break a challenge from (Aston, Ferrari, or Mercedes) consistently is unlike.

    2. Usually in sports, whenever a competitor can’t stop talking about a penalty, it’s to excuse bad results. That’s obviously not the case here.

      Given how often they bring this up, they seen very determined to convince people that the widely mocked ‘penalty’ they received wasn’t a meaningless slap on the wrist. But the longer they dominate the more obvious it is that the penalty was exactly that.

      And regardless of the effect, it doesn’t change the fact that they broke the rules in 2021. Nor that they falsely but strongly denied this and even threatened legal action against those who correctly stated as much.

      1. Yes, the 7 mil should’ve been detracted from the budget cap, not a fine for a team that had millionaires in (such as dietritz, don’t remember how it’s written, those money will have gone to someone).

      2. Was convinced I had written billionaires*

    3. @drmouse Yes, they’re certainly already focusing on next year, but so are other teams since teams generally started shifting focus more & more on a following season as early as April-May or therebouts each year, so a balanced impact, & with stable technical rules, development this year will also be largely useful for next year.
      Nevertheless, their closest rivals need to use all their opportunities to good effect so that they’d at least be decently close when next season begins.

  9. Absolute BS, since they probably already develop next year’s car.

    1. They’ve already wrapped up next year’s title. Thanks to Mercedes wasting a season and a half on a flawed concept.. and Ferrari hitting their peak in the opening 5 races on 2022, followed by their downward trajectory of another 5 seasons. Aston just isn’t ready yet.

      1. Ferrari were favourites on pace for the French GP in ’22 and that was into the 2nd half of the season. It was really from around Spa that RB started to pull away. Up until then, Ferrari had the pace to challenge them if it wasn’t for the clown show they produced most weekends.

  10. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th June 2023, 13:34

    I’m surprised that Red Bull hasn’t built a statue of Ben Sulayem outside their factory for receiving no penalty at all. Surely, they’ve been reviewing designs of what the statue should look like.

    1. The point is they did not overspend 1,6% effective usable.
      It was a documented administrative error, caused by the new rules in place.
      1,2% of the overspending was caused by a fault in deduction of funds wrongly placed in the books.
      No advantage by that action.
      So the penalty was Draconian related to the advantage they could muster.

      FIA said in the statement released to the public that Red Bull did not act intentionally or fraudulently. Had Red Bull properly documented a tax deduction of £1.4 million, the excess would still have been 0.37% instead of 1.6%.

      1. Given the $200k (ish) remaining is easily enough to have been one of their in-season upgrade packages, that could well have made enough of a difference to performance to have changed the result of the WDC (regardless of the actions of the race director in the final laps).

        1. Robert Henning
          28th June 2023, 18:19

          Holy hell, someone is still stuck in 2021.

          Do better.

          1. Not stuck, but it’s a sore point and will be for a long time to come to.

            Even so, we’re discussing the effects of a penalty for an action which occurred in 2021. It would be a little strange if 2021 wasn’t discussed.

          2. It’s a good point, there’s no way around that: 1 upgrade could’ve made the difference, would they have been able to get it without those money? Unsure.

      2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        28th June 2023, 15:23

        And now we have to wait probably until October again to find out which 6 teams Horner speaks of.

        They overspent regardless of how they did it and however the FIA wants to dress it up such that it didn’t make ORBR look real bad and threaten to leave the grid (again). And regardless of what percentage you want to attach to it to try and show they only cheated by a little bit but cheat they did on the cost cap.

        If ORBR could have swung it without having to take the deal offered by the FIA I am sure they would have.

    2. Robert Henning
      28th June 2023, 18:18

      Have trouble keeping up with news, my friend?

  11. We all know it won’t really.

  12. I don’t think it will make much difference because RBR started off with such a good baseline & seem to be so efficent with the time they have with good correlation in terms of Wind Tunnel/CFD data working as expected in reality.

    I think it’s more about how efficient you are with the time you have and how good your correlation is. You can have more time in the wind tunnel and CFD but if you use that time inefficiently and/or if the data you get doesn’t match what happens in the real world then your basically getting no advantage from having that extra time.

  13. We all know they won’t be affected by this mere penalty. But what do we expect from a team that has a reputation of cheating and violating rules?

  14. Robert Henning
    28th June 2023, 18:17

    They understand these regulations well, while others are still around figuring out directions, except Aston Martin.

    I would expect Red Bull to take the standard step they took last winter — gain around 1 second of lap time if possible.

    At this point in time, the regulations are reasonably mature, unlike last year, and everyone can better guess the ultimate ceiling, as evidenced by copying RB up and down the paddock.

    Given that their upgrades relative to their competitors so far have been few this year, I believe it is a consequence of the restriction that they have.

    I expect them to have some issues both towards the end of this season, by which point they’ve probably won the titles, and consequently have a more rushed development for next year’s car, given that their cap penalty only expires in October.

  15. Notice how much wind tunnel aston martin have? If they use it right, they could gain significantly on red bull, it’s 100% vs 63%.

  16. It does come down to how effectively you can use that wind tunnel time.

    If I was given Aston’s car and their wind tunnel time, I wouldn’t be able to improve upon it at all.

    I know it’s be repeated ad nauseum, but RBR have Newey on board. If he’s as much of a genius as people say, I would suspect Newey can get as much done with an hour in the wind tunnel as most others aero engineers in the field can with 2. Of course, he’s also starting from a more optimised design, so that probably won’t make as large a step forward, but it does suggest that they’ll probably be able to take as large a step forward as AM.

    I could be wrong in this, of course. But I guess we’ll never know if the 17 hours they lost of active wind tunnel time actually made any difference.

    1. Sorry, that was supposed to be a reply to @esploratore1 above

    2. Having Newey didn’t do McLaren or Red Bull for that matter much good for years. Most years, actually. Of course the man is accomplished, and it’s obvious he knows his craft well. But so do countless others who don’t have the same name recognition.

      Even today, how many people can instantly name the three men responsible for the all-conquering Mercedes W07, or for that matter, even know of Andy Cowell.

      1. The gap is more to do with Ferrari and Mercedes failing than it has with RB getting it right. I would fully expect Mercedes to be on par by now without their failed concept and Ferrari even look to be getting some pace after changing theirs. Aston Martin are the yard stick that proves it.
        To say RB gained an unfair rolling advantage from 2021 just smacks of sour grapes.
        Remember 2022 started with Ferrari and RB equal on pace. It’s not like 2014 and RB started with over 1 sec per lap advantage.

        1. To be fair, I don’t think RBR got an advantage in 2022 onwards from breaching the cap, or at least not a significant one. My suspicion is that they main advantage came in 2021, showing them to continue development of that year’s car for longer and bring at least one additional in season upgrade which they could otherwise not have afforded.

          1. That’s pure speculation without having a full breakdown of their development spend in relation to Mercedes.
            Not only that, it is also assuming the overspend went on a component for the car which brought a guaranteed performance gain.
            Don’t forget the damages to Max’ car in Silverstone which left it practically a write-off. That money for a rebuild had to come from somewhere and would have put a dent in their development spend.

          2. It doesn’t matter how Mercedes spent their money, as they were within the budget cap.

            Paying for damage to cars in the race is a part of motor racing. They need to budget for that.

            If RBR chose to spend money on things which didn’t benefit the performance of their car, that’s their call. They also chose not to take part in the “dry run” the season before, and from many reports didn’t engage with the FIA as much throughout the season to ensure their accounting practices were correct. If they wasted their money on things and didn’t bother to ensure they were budgeting correctly, that’s their own fault. Trying to use that as an excuse is laughable.

            The only way you can reasonably look at the budget cap breach is to apportion it to performance enhancing spending. In such a tight season, even a couple of hundred grand could easily have changed results by a few points, which could well have changed the result.

          3. It would matter what Mercedes spent as you are implying RBR gained a performance advantage over them to win the title.
            The Silverstone crash cost them £1.3M so I doubt RBR or their fans lost any sleep at going over budget.
            If you had all the figures you might find that Mercedes had the higher development spend with the offset for the Silverstone shunt.

          4. And what about the offset for Max parking his car on top of Lewis’?

            All teams must allow some time for damages, no matter who’s fault it is. That’s a part of going racing.

            Again, though, it doesn’t matter what Mercedes spent where, because it all came in under budget. They may well have spent more money on catering than RBR. Even if they didn’t, if RBR chose to waste more of their limited budget on things which didn’t give them a performance advantage than Mercedes did, that’s their own fault. And, having chosen to do so, they then chose to spend more than they were allowed to on things which did give a performance advantage.

  17. Monza was low speed and a result of Max getting squeezed onto the sausage kerb. The Merc needed a paint job at most and certainly wasn’t in the millions.
    Here’s a good analysis of it and pretty much explains how it’s a racing incident. Certainly not the counter that’s often used against the Copse shunt.

    Martin Brundles initial reaction in Monza was “Max has done nothing wrong there going for that gap” and Brundles view on things carries weight for me being an analyst and ex F1 driver himself.

    The issue in Silverstone was that it was done by the direct rival for the championship who gained massively from their mistake and was even bailed out with a red flag to repair damage. 26 points gained and a £1.3M dent in the RBR resources.
    I know rules are rules, but we found out throughout that season that the rules don’t always result in a fair outcome and without the dangerous Silverstone shunt, the events in Abu Dhabi and budget cap wouldn’t even have been an issue.

    1. To quote you, “that’s pure speculation”. Someone affected what happened after. Change the result of any race on the season, and you cannot say for certain that the rest of the season would have played it as it did.

      I have a different opinion over Monza, but that’s not the point. The point is that all teams must budget for damage to their vehicles. It’s irrelevant to this discussion. If this was the case, does that mean that RBR would have been even further over their cap if one of their drivers had crashed out in Saudi Arabia?

      What is relevant is that RBR did break the cap. They were the only team to do so. That must be attributed to the performance related spend, or else it makes a mockery of the regulations. If teams can use the excuse of “but I spent it on non-performance items”, then why even bother? Every team could say that.

      1. * Silverstone affected what happened after.

        1. You may disagree with the Monza incident but I trust Martin Brundles judgement and experience and his initial reaction was very telling.

          If the RB’s had crashed out on their own then that is different. Like Mick Schumacher writing off his Haas cars and putting a dent in their development, that’s all self inflicted.

          Can you see it from the other side why a RBR fan couldn’t care less about people moaning about cost cap and a handful of points lost at AD when at Silverstone their direct rival had one of their cars written off resulting in a £1.3M bill and gained a 26 point swing in the standings?

          I’m all for the budget cap and completely agree with it but under the circumstances of 2021 I found it ironic and quite amusing the way it worked out.
          Don’t get me wrong, if Lewis hadn’t punted Max out at Copse and then recieved full points and celebrated wildly for it, I would have been firmly on his side over the AD fiasco.

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