Even with before Red Bull were on the verge of securing their double championship success in 2022, attentions had already turned to next year's car, which threatens to be faced with even greater challenges than this season's challenger.
The team face an additional hurdle of a cost cap penalty, handed to them for their overspending in the 2021 season.
Along with a fine, the team have been slapped with a 10% reduction in wind tunnel and computer simulation time.
Many key figures in the paddock have played down the impact of the punishment, which has caused some frustration, not least from Red Bull's Technical Director, Pierre Wache, who sat down for an exclusive chat with RacingNews365.com.
"It is our main tool of development during the year. It makes me a little bit angry when I see the comments from some people saying it's not a big penalty," said Wache.
"When you see how the rules are done, the handicap raise already affects us.
Wache refers to the current system where the more successful teams have a reduction in wind tunnel hours in the following season, with championship winners Red Bull receiving the smallest allocation.
"It's what the FIA introduced, and the teams agreed to it. But if it was not efficient, they will not do it
"Between the two different [championship] positions, it's 5% between first and second - and 5% is big - and currently we'll have 7% less [than that], which means it's closer to losing two positions [in the championship].
"This kind of reduction of wind tunnel [time] compared to other teams is massive for us."
Permitted wind tunnel hours in 2023
|Championship Standings||Percentage||Hours permitted per development period||Team|
Even with a 'Messi' figure, it will still be difficult
Despite many playing down Red Bull's disadvantage, Wache continued to compare the development deficit to having a player sent off in a football game.
He explained that the team would have increased difficulty in succeeding despite having superstar names such as Max Verstappen and Adrian Newey on the team.
"I think it's like a football team. If you are playing with ten versus eleven, even if you have Messi in the team, it's quite tough to win the game," commented Wache.
"We have a very good aerodynamics department too. It is a competition at each level of the technical levels and at all the levels between teams.
"We have Adrian [Newey] for sure, he's a big part of the team, but they also have a very good people in their own teams.
"The work done on this car is not one person, it's from many people in the team. For sure, we can all work harder, but the others do too."
Nevertheless, Wache is adamant that the penalty has only been used as a motivational tool, rather than a reason for pessimism:
"The feeling we get from having less wind tunnel time, we feel a little bit angry about the decision. The motivation is very high to compensate."
Verstappen's verdict on the penalty?
In another exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Max Verstappen gave his opinions on the penalty, but he was unwilling to say how much of an impact he thought it would have on the team.
"At the moment it's difficult to tell, but the motivation is probably even higher to do well," said Verstappen.
"I think it was still a very harsh penalty for what we did, but what can we do about it? It's done, but I guess next year will tell what it actually does to us."
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