Having said the cost cap penalty will “bite” Red Bull at the end of F1 2023 and when creating next season’s RB20,Ted Kravitz has had a change of tune following a reveal from Christian Horner.
As well as being fined $7 million for a minor breach of the 2021 cost cap, Red Bull also lost a further 10 per cent of their allotted wind tunnel time as per F1’s R&D sliding scale.
That restriction is certainly not hurting the team yet though, Red Bull having made an unbeaten start to F1 2023 with a run of eight victories, their latest success courtesy of Championship leader Max Verstappen in Canada marking Red Bull’s 100th grand prix win.
So, when will Red Bull start to feel the pain of the penalty? Well, Kravitz said that Red Bull’s technical director Pierre Wache told him the restriction would start to make its mark at the end of the season and “crucially it’s going to have an effect on next year’s RB20 as well”.
That then means the penalty “is going to bite Red Bull” as per Kravitz’s original verdict, but team principal Horner’s reveal after the Canadian GP that “a lot of the focus now back at the factory is already on next year”, has perhaps stopped that theory in its tracks.
Asked whether Red Bull will continue to update the RB19 or look ahead early to the RB20, Horner told Sky F1: “Well it’s finding that balance and because obviously we have a lot less wind tunnel time, we have to start thinking a lot about next year.
“So you’re spinning a couple of plates at the moment, but with the regulations being stable, whatever you learn this year you carry into next year as well.
“So of course there are things that we’ll still keep bringing to this year’s car, but a lot of the focus now back at the factory is already on next year.”
And after hearing those words from Horner, now Kravitz is fearing the cost cap penalty will not impact Red Bull at all, and the “hullabaloo” about Red Bull’s punishment in the latter stages of 2022 will have all been for nothing.
“Here’s the downer for the rest of the teams, when Christian Horner said that we’re already designing and spending our time on next year’s car, on the RB20,” he said on his ‘Ted’s Notebook’ programme.
“They’ve already got the advantage with this year’s car, we’re not even at halfway [in the] season, and already they can have the capacity and the aerodynamic testing time and the wind tunnel time, even considering the penalty for the accepted breach agreement on the cost cap, to concentrate on next year’s car.
“So it’s a virtuous circle having such a good car this year. And it might end up that that cost cap breach, accepted breach agreement, and the penalty with the 10% less wind tunnel time that Red Bull had, might not end up being a penalty at all.
“Because if they can start now on next year’s car, then it’s not going to be a penalty at all is it? So all that hullabaloo later on last year turned out not to be a hullabaloo, because it looks like it’s not going to affect Red Bull at all.”
A further title double already looks very much on the cards for Red Bull, with Verstappen 69 points ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, while Red Bull hold an advantage of 154 points over Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship.