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Red Bull switching efforts to 2024 F1 car due to "significant" wind tunnel penalty

Red Bull says that the "significant deficit" it has in wind tunnel time against its Formula 1 rivals forces it to shift focus to its 2024 car now.

Winner Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

The Milton Keynes-based team made F1 history at the Hungarian Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen's triumph meant the squad became the first to win 12 races in a row.

It overhauled the impressive run that McLaren had in 1988 when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost helped it pull off 11 consecutive victories before it was beaten at that year's Italian Grand Prix.

Red Bull's form in Hungary was helped by an upgrade to its sidepods and floor, the biggest tweak it had made so far this season.

Insight: 10 things we learned from the 2023 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says that the developments may be the last performance updates of the year because the team needs to plan carefully how to allocate its wind tunnel development running as looks towards the RB20.

Speaking about the upgrades, Horner said: "They did what they said on the tin. So, from that point of view, it's sort of box ticked.

"And now, with the handicap that we have, we have to really swing our focus over to next year, because we have a significant deficit of wind tunnel time compared to our competitors, and we have to be very selective in how we use it."

Thanks to F1's Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions, teams that are further ahead in the standings at certain points of the year get less availability for both wind tunnel and CFD runs.

As the championship leader at the mid-season cut-off point, Red Bull gets just 70% of the baseline allocation. This compares with Mercedes at 75%, Aston Martin at 80 and Ferrari at 85%.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Racing

But, perhaps more interestingly, McLaren's poor start to the campaign which left it down in sixth in the constructors' championship at the cut-off, means it gets 95% of what is allowed.

Beyond the official limit, Red Bull also faces a further 10% reduction in running because of the penalty it got for last year's cost cap breach.

PLUS: How much will Red Bull's aero testing penalty really hurt?

Horner explained that, when everything was applied together, the differences between what his team could do, and its rivals were staggering.

"We have that [cost cap] penalty until October this year, so particularly in terms of the amount of runs that you can do per week, we're significantly down compared to second and third place," he said.

"And we are massively down once you get back to teams that are fourth or fifth. And if you compare McLaren's amount of runs they can do in a wind tunnel versus ourselves, it's a huge, huge difference.

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"So, of course, we have to be very, very selective in the running that we're doing. And that's why the engineering team back in Milton Keynes are doing an incredible job in the way that they're effectively and efficiently developing the car."

Horner said that, with the focus shifting towards 2024, any further updates to the car would be circuit-specific – so potentially low-drag items for races like Spa and Monza.

"We will have a few circuit-specific things but nothing that hasn't been done already and committed to R&D," he added.

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