Dan Fallows believes his former team Red Bull has the strength and success to rise above their budget cap penalty and “get on with” the job next season.
Fallows was Red Bull’s head of aerodynamics before swapping to Aston Martin, named as the Silverstone team’s technical director.
His decision to leave Red Bull saw the team put him on gardening leave for nine months, Red Bull wary of him knowing all their RB18’s secrets, and he finally stepped into his new office in April this year.
His long leave meant he wasn’t around for the latter part of Red Bull’s 2021 Drivers’ title success, nor was he there for the final months of 2021’s spending, or in Red Bull’s case, overspend.
Earlier this year the FIA announced Red Bull had breached the 2021 budget cap, overspending by $2.2 million. They were penalised with a financial penalty, a $7million fine, as well as a sporting one, a 10 per cent reduction of 2023 R&D time.
That means fewer runs in the wind tunnel, Red Bull limited to 202 compared to Ferrari’s 240 and Mercedes’ 256.
Although Fallows says it “is not insubstantial”, he has backed his former team to rise above.
He told PlanetF1.com and other selected media: “It’s difficult to say because I’m not there anymore.
“But obviously I’ve no doubt that from the engineering side they’ll feel that it’s a disappointment. I think personally, I would take it as any other challenge that you get given in this business.
“It’s something you have to deal with, it’s a restriction that they do have as a result of being very successful, they have fewer wind tunnel runs and CFD capability than than other teams anyway. And that’s just a challenge you have to deal with.
“I think you in any situation like that you just regroup and get on with it.
Asked if the penalty would be a ‘big restriction’, the 49-year-old replied: “It’s not insubstantial.”
But the effects may not be seen until 2024
Like their rivals, Red Bull are already well into their 2023 car, which is by and large this year’s but with a tweaked floor as that’s the only big rule change.
It basically means, if one considers Red Bull’s advantage this season, they could still be ahead next year even with fewer wind tunnel runs.
But when it comes to 2024’s car, that’s the one that will actually be designed during the year in which the penalty runs, so that’s when they may take a knock.
As next year’s championship progresses the Milton Keynes squad will have to choose between using their allotted R&D time to develop the RB19 or to work on the RB20.
If the team gets a march on early next season, pulling away from the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes in the standings, they can take the chance of their rivals closing the gap in the latter part of the season and use all that time on their 2024 car.
But it’s still going to be less than what any other team has, both because of their 2022 Constructors’ Championship victory and the penalty.
Christian Horner believes it the “draconian” penalty is worth up to half a second per lap, but that’s half a second that won’t be felt until 2024.