Christian Horner has confirmed that Red Bull is now set to focus on 2024 as it takes the ultimate pain from the cost cap penalty imposed last year.
After surpassing the initial limit set at $145m for the 2021 campaign, Red Bull was finally fined last October in what many consider a negligible sum of $7m.
More important, however, was the additional sanction of a 10% reduction in the wind tunnel and CFD time allocated to him.
By finishing as champions last year, thus receiving the fewest aero development opportunities compared to its rivals on a sliding scale basis, the added penalty was expected to have a significant impact on Red Bull.
That didn’t materialize, however, as the team dominated the season all-round, winning all 11 races, opening a 229-point cushion over nearest rival Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship.
Two-time F1 champion Max Verstappen won nine of those 11 grands prix and now sits 110 points ahead of teammate Sergio Perez in the drivers’ championship.
Verstappen’s victory at the Hungaroring on Sunday came in a car equipped with the season’s first and seemingly only major upgrade package for the unobtainable RB19.
In giving his verdict on the update, team boss Horner said, “They did what they said on the tin, so from that point of view it ticks.”
When asked if another significant development is planned for this year, Horner replied: “We will have some track related stuff.
“But nothing that hasn’t already been done or that we’re committed to through research and development.”
Instead, attention will be paid to the next season. He added: “Now with the handicaps we have we have to really focus on next year.
“That’s because we have a significant wind tunnel time deficit compared to our competitors and we have to be very selective in how we use it.”
Referring to the fact that Red Bull will not be free from the penalty for another three months as it expires in October, Horner has again made it clear how disadvantaged his team will be.
“In terms of the number of runs you can do per week, we’re way down the line compared to second, third place and drop significantly when you get to the fourth and fifth place teams,” said Horner.
“If you compare the number of runs McLaren can do in the wind tunnel with us, it’s a huge, huge difference.
“So, of course, we have to be very, very selective about the running we do.
“That’s where the Milton Keynes engineering team is doing an amazing job developing the car effectively and efficiently.”