Christian Horner has confirmed Red Bull aren’t working on any new upgrades for 2023 aside from minor ones already in development, after Max Verstappen dominated the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Verstappen won by over half a minute from second-placed Lando Norris while polesitter Lewis Hamilton was almost 40 seconds back, as Red Bull recorded a record-breaking 12th consecutive victory in Formula 1.
Verstappen won in a newly-upgraded RB19 at the Hungaroring and looks odd-on favourite for every race in 2023, but with Red Bull‘s aerodynamic testing penalty from their 2021 cost cap breach they’ve been forced to now completely switch focus to 2024.
“They did what they said on the tin so from that point of view, it’s box ticked,” Horner told the media when asked about the Hungary upgrades.
“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 in wind tunnel time compared to our competitors and we have to be very selective in how we use it.
“We’ll have a few circuit-specific things but nothing that hasn’t been done already, if you like, that we’re committed to through further research and development.”
McLaren have major advantage in second half of 2023
The end of the Hungarian GP marked the halfway point in the season, with 11 races still to go before until the Abu Dhabi where Verstappen will be celebrating a third drivers’ world championship.
Red Bull have walked the 2023 season despite their closest challengers, Mercedes, having nearly 20% more wind tunnel testing runs. But Horner said Red Bull are still feeling the pinch as they switch to 2024, and predicted McLaren will have a major advantage in the second half of the season.
The rankings update on the 25th of June to set the testing time allocations for the second half of the season which came right before McLaren‘s resurgence at the Austrian GP.
The team now look locked into fifth place in the constructors’ championship or could even challenge Ferrari and Aston Martin but for the next six months they’ll get the 95% of testing allocated to sixth place – where they sat following the Canadian GP.
“We have that penalty until October this year,” Horner said. “So particularly in terms of the amount of runs that you can do per week then we’re significantly down compared to second, third place and massively down once you get back to teams that are fourth or fifth.
“So if you compare McLaren‘s amount of runs they can do in a wind tunnel versus ourselves it’s a huge, huge difference. We have to be very, very selective in the running that we’re doing and that’s where the engineering team back in Milton Keynes are doing an incredible job, the way that they’re effectively and efficiently developing the car.”
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
With the F1 circus finished at the Hungaroring, we move on to the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix which will a sprint weekend held between Spa-Francorchamps on July 28-30.