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Horner: Red Bull faces "significant handicap" with F1 aero testing restrictions

Red Bull faces a “significant handicap” for 2023 due to the aerodynamic testing restrictions imposed after winning the Formula 1 world championship and exceeding the cost cap, says team boss Christian Horner.

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner

Introduced ahead of the 2021 season, the ATR was conceived in tandem with the budget cap to inspire a more competitive field and increase the financial sustainability of the series. 

The ATR sliding scale therefore limits windtunnel runs and computational fluid dynamics hours, meaning Red Bull has been hit by a total 25% cut for 2023 after winning the constructors’ championship last season in addition to being found guilty of breaching the 2021 cost cap. 

Asked by Autosport to determine how much the slash had hurt the design and development of the RB19, Horner reckoned it had presented his team with a “significant handicap” to stay ahead of nearest rivals Mercedes and Ferrari

“We’re doing the best with what we’ve got,” he said during the squad’s 2023 season launch event in New York City, during which Ford formally announced its technical and commercial partnership with Red Bull Powertrains.

“The team have had to adapt to the handicap that we have. They’ve done a wonderful job in doing that.  

“Is it enough? We’ll find out in a couple of weeks’ time [in Bahrain testing and the first round of the season] as a starting point.  

“It’s certainly a significant handicap that we carry for the majority of the year.  

“But I think the team have obviously accepted it; we’ve looked to adapt to ensure we’re as efficient as we possibly can be.  

“We’ll see when the RB19 runs on the track in anger if we’ve done enough.” 

Red Bull Racing RB19

Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Defending champion Max Verstappen said the impact of the ATR has crossed his mind but reiterated his faith in the Adrian Newey-led design team. 

He added that the aero restrictions were to be taken as a positive, as they reflected Red Bull’s run to 17 grand prix victories in 2022. 

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He said: “We have a lot of very competent people in our factory.  

“Of course, it makes things a little bit harder. But I also look at it like this, I prefer to be in the position we are in than always finishing second or third in championship, because that's way more depressing.  

“I'm sure we have to be a little bit more precise of what we're doing in the windtunnel. But I don't expect it to be a big limiting factor in if we're going to win the title or not.”

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