Helmut Marko has revealed Red Bull actually found out the penalty for their Formula 1 budget cap breach at the start of October 2022 during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
It was at Singapore when the first talks of a team breaking the budget cap began, but it was only at the end of October, ahead of the Mexico City GP, when the FIA revealed Red Bull were fined £6.07m and given 10 percent less wind tunnel time.
The season-opener in Bahrain on Sunday suggested the penalty has had little effect on Red Bull as Max Verstappen led a 1-2 from teammate Sergio Perez.
“The penalty was announced to us relatively early,” Marko told Servus TV. “Around Singapore, it crystallised and we knew it was going to cost us.
“So, fairly early on, we focused on evolving and optimising what may not have been ideal on the old car like reducing weight.
“If we brought something to test in the wind tunnel, it had to work the first time ideally. I think we succeeded judging by the result.”
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Red Bull had only won the season-opener once prior to this year, which came in 2011, a year Sebastian Vettel dominated the sport with 11 victories and was outside of the top two on just three occasions.
It’s believed Red Bull‘s wind tunnel penalty could be felt in the season half of the season, as other teams outdevelop them, but Marko says they have a plan in place.
“We purposely built in as less time as possible on the RB19 [the 2023 car] so we wouldn’t sacrifice the future RB20 [the 2024 car],” added Marko.
“We owe it all to a core group in the team that has been working together for 15 years, they know they are in tune with each other.
“Of course we have a genius with Adrian Newey, but the substructure is also made up of highly skilled and intelligent people.”