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Sainz and Bottas agree F1 finishing position more important than wind tunnel time

Ferrari and Alfa Romeo could benefit from lower finishes in the 2022 F1 Constructors' Championship thanks to wind tunnel test limits.

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With the 2022 F1 season drawing to a close, Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas have rebutted suggestions they’d prefer a lower Constructors’ Championship finish in order to get more wind tunnel time to develop their respective 2023 cars.

After holding a 67-point lead over Mercedes in late-October, Ferrari are now just 40 points ahead of the Silver Arrows and could gain 5 percent more time in the wind tunnel if they’re overtaken.

But Sainz vehemently rejected any thoughts of gamesmanship, as Ferrari are on course for their best constructors’ championship finish since 2019.

“I think we will take P2,” Sainz told the media. “I think they should prioritise position in the championship. If not, we wouldn’t be fighting for positions in the championship.

“The competition is I think is the number one priority and finishing ahead of your competition should always be more satisfying than finishing one position behind and then not getting the wind tunnel time.

“Your main motivation is to finish ahead, I hope the rules are also behind that.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix | REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Asked the same question, Bottas‘ answer was more considered than Sainz, although he implied it was more a decision for Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur.

Bottas was on the longest pointless run in F1 before the Mexican Grand Prix, but managed a much-deserved tenth place in Mexico City to break a run that stretched back to the Canadian Grand Prix.

“Good question, you should ask [Alfa Romeo team principal] Fred [Vasseur],” Bottas said. “I think obviously there’s pros and cons.

“We’re not quite fully at the budget cap and we could do with some more cash, that will help for sure. I think we’re pushing for P6 and take the money and use that for quite a bit of development – driving salaries.”

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

What’s at stake?

Teams now have wind tunnel testing time limited based on their finish in the constructors’ championship.

Seventh place is the baseline, and Alfa Romeo are just four points ahead of that position, currently held by Aston Martin. They’d gain 5% more testing time, but lose out on prize money for the lower finish.

There’s the same testing time difference between second and third, but given Red Bull have had their testing time cut then there’s extra significance for either Mercedes or Ferrari. Whoever finishes third will have 17% more testing time than this season’s double-champions.

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