Horner reveals true impact of Red Bull cost cap penalty on 2023 season

Red Bull are on course to record their first-ever 1-2 in the F1 drivers' championship

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Christian Horner has revealed Red Bull have been focusing on the 2024 season since the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix, due to their limited aerodynamic testing from their controversial cost cap penalty.

Red Bull have had significantly less wind tunnel time than Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren or Aston Martin but have still managed to win every single race of 2023 except the Singapore GP.

Max Verstappen broke his own record for most wins in a Formula 1 season with victory on Sunday at the 2023 Mexico City GP, having already set a plethora of milestones including the longest win streak.

“It keeps moving around behind us,” Horner told the media. “You have to remember that since the summer break, we’ve really added very little performance if anything to the car, with the wind tunnel restrictions that we’ve had.

“We’ve elected to use that on the RB20, next year’s cars as opposed to continuing the development on the RB19. And that’s not to say whatever we do now we don’t learn and apply for next year but we’ve managed to be consistent with the whole variance of circuits.”

Horner: Mexico City is Perez’s Zandvoort

Sergio Perez passes through the stadium section during the 2023 Mexico City GP | Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull were fined £6.07m and given 10 percent less wind tunnel time for this year after their budget cap breach. They will continue to have less aero testing time after winning the constructors’ championship due to F1‘s wind tunnel handicap system.

Horner, who has been in charge of the Milton Keynes-based team since 2005, thinks it will only be in 2024 when F1 sees the consequences of Red Bull‘s penalty.

“Certainly, you’ve not seen the full impact yet because it obviously has compromised the amount of development that we’ve been able to do this year,” said Horner.

“Thankfully, we came out with a very strong car at the beginning of the year and we’ve been able to apply most of that development time, from quite early in the season, to next year’s car. So that’s been important. I think the process of the cost cap is evolving.  

“It’s a very complex set of regulations that have evolved and the degree of scrutiny this year  was phenomenal, in terms of the rigour that the FIA went to. 

“It was a full colonoscopy that we experienced during the summer. And I think that the FIA are learning as well from their side, and the rules have evolved. Of course, every company is structured in a slightly different way as well which adds to the complexity.

“Whether you’ve got subsidiary accounts or what your reporting group is for example, and so that has a bearing as well, so it’s a very complex set of regs and I think the FIA have actually done a pretty decent job from what we’ve seen over the last 12 months.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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