‘Red Bull won’t feel the effects of the wind tunnel penalty until 2024’

Michelle Foster
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Red Bull sign British karting star Arvid Lindblad.

Penalised 10 per cent of their car development time for breaching the budget cap, Hans-Joachim Stuck reckons Red Bull will not feel the effects of that until 2024.

Red Bull secured last year’s Drivers’ Championship title, Max Verstappen taking the crown with a last-lap-of-the-season pass in Abu Dhabi, before romping to the double this season.

But as the team chilled the champagne to celebrate Verstappen’s second championship, rumours began to do the rounds that the Milton Keynes squad had overspent last season.

The FIA confirmed they had committed a ‘minor overspend breach’, $2.2million over the cap, and hit them with both a financial and sporting penalty.

The financial was a $7million fine, while the sporting punishment is the loss of 10 per cent of 2023’s car development time.

That means fewer runs in the wind tunnel, Red Bull limited to 202 compared to Ferrari’s 240 and Mercedes’ 256.

Given Red Bull turned their full attention to next season’s car last month, Stuck does not believe it will have any impact on next year’s championship.

“I am convinced Red Bull Racing are already so far ahead in planning that it will only have an impact the year after next,” Speedweek quotes Stuck as having told ServusTV’s ‘Sport and Talk from Hangar-7’.

“They are definitely in a good position there.”

But whenever the penalty does affect the team’s development, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says it could cost them up to half a second per lap.

“I hear people say it’s not a severe penalty,” he told the media in Mexico. “But 10 per cent less wind tunnel time and other aerodynamic tools is a draconian penalty.

“That can cost 0.25sec to 0.5sec. It will have an impact on our ability to perform on track.”

Stuck is not so sure about the Briton’s numbers.

“Converting the penalty into a number I think is exaggerated, you have to see that first,” said the former F1 driver.

The 71-year-old also weighed in on Formula 1’s budget cap, and it is clear he is not a fan.

He would rather the sport adopt “standard” aerodynamics than have “three lawyers” present for each and every decision to ensure it is within the regulations.

“I think that’s a big joke!” he said of the cap.

“If a team rent a wind tunnel and set up a wing, nobody can control it anyway. How is that supposed to come out?

“You should rather make regulations for Formula 1 that make everything very clear.

“Why isn’t a standard aerodynamic made like in America? You can save millions in costs.

“For me, that would be a much more sensible way than checking whether there was catering or sick leave.

“Now, after every decision, the teams arrive with three lawyers. It must clearly be a regulation that cannot be contested.

“Now the whole weekend was about the budget limit and Max Verstappen’s performance almost went unnoticed.”

Read more: ‘Red Bull shelved some 2022 upgrades as budget cap saga played out’