Mercedes: Red Bull’s 25 percent F1 windtunnel deficit will bite

Mercedes believes a windtunnel running deficit for Red Bull of more than 25% in 2023 could prove critical in helping it close up to the Formula 1 world champions.

Mercedes: Red Bull’s 25 percent F1 windtunnel deficit will bite

As part of its punishment for breaching last year’s cost cap, Red Bull was handed a $7 million dollar fine and a 10% reduction in windtunnel time as part of F1’s aerodynamic testing restrictions.

The extra loss of windtunnel running will mean Red Bull is heavily compromised compared to Mercedes, which gets a lot of extra running as the result of finishing third in the constructors’ championship.

According to F1’s sporting regulations, Red Bull as constructors’ champions should have been allowed 70 percent of the full windtunnel running, which equates to 224 runs within a single aerodynamic testing period, of which there are six in a year.

Second placed Ferrari should get 75% and 240 runs in that period, with Mercedes on 80% and 256 runs.

But as the result of Red Bull’s drop, it will now only get 63% of the allocation and 202 runs.

This means Mercedes gets approximately 27% more windtunnel allowance and windtunnel runs.

Speaking about the challenges of closing up the gap to Red Bull this winter with the F1 cost cap in place, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reckons the aero testing deficit could be something that makes an impact.

Asked if a recovery was more difficult now that there was a spending limit, Wolff said: “I think it's harder because you can't really invest more in order for the outcome to come quicker.

“But I think how the aerodynamic regulations are designed, and the penalty that they've gotten, it's 25% less windtunnel and that can have an effect,” said Wolff.

“The way that the regulations, the ATR restrictions, have been set in place means there are teams that are further back who can really make a big jump compared to the front runners.

Red Bull windtunnel

Red Bull windtunnel

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“That's also the reason why we will see much closer championships in the future because if you are last, you will have 40% more.

“So, clearly that is an advantage that you have to utilise. Is it a given that we can utilise it? Who knows?

“They [Red Bull] are a brilliant racing team. It will give them an extra motivation and against Ferrari, it's seven percent. But it's around marginal gains and we have been a bit closer to Ferrari in the last quarter of the season.”

Mercedes was held back this year by pausing development of its W13 as it chased cures for the car’s early season porpoising problems.

But once it got on top of the core issues, it was able to make rapid improvements and managed to dominate the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, with George Russell winning both the sprint and main grand prix.

Asked if the strong end of season form had left Mercedes confident it would be back in the fight at the front next year, Wolff said: “I'm never confident.

“I'm a glass half empty guy, and kind of never believe that the job that we're doing is good enough. I'm not sure at all whether we can bounce back to a position where we compete for championships, because you need to acknowledge that the competition is strong.

“But we will do everything in our power, everything, to set our objectives high and try to reach them.”

shares
comments
Pirelli reveals 30% increase in F1 overtakes from 2021 to 2022
Previous article

Pirelli reveals 30% increase in F1 overtakes from 2021 to 2022

Next article

FIA announces departure of Rao as interim secretary general

FIA announces departure of Rao as interim secretary general
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022