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Why Newey says Red Bull's penalty 'won't make much difference'

After having breached F1's 2021 budget cap, Red Bull are set to face a reduction in wind tunnel testing time. But Adrian Newey doesn't seem to think this will significantly affect his team's development.

Red Bull's Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey has suggested that his team's reduction in permitted wind tunnel testing won't have a significant bearing on the form of their 2023 car. After the Japanese Grand Prix, it was revealed that Red Bull breached F1's 2021 $145 million budget cap by $1.8m. As a punishment, the team are required to pay a $7 million fine and forfeit 10% of their aerodynamic development allowance. Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has previously said such a sanction could cost the team up to half a second per lap, but Newey says Red Bull simply need to be smarter about how they use their reduced allowance. "The reduction in wind tunnel testing means we can therefore evaluate less different components, less different ideas," said Newey. "If we're really smart and always put on the right things on the model, then of course it doesn't make much difference."

Newey hails 'best car'

Red Bull head into the 2023 season having scooped both championships in 2022 for the first time in nine years, with both the team and Max Verstappen setting new records for Championship points earned in a single season. But such dominance seemed a long way off after the season's first three races, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc seizing the Championship initiative as Verstappen retired from two Grands Prix. However, Red Bull soon got on top of their reliability woes while Ferrari suffered issues of their own, and Newey hailed the work that had been done to the RB18 to improve it over the course of the season. "Statistically, the RB18 has been our best car," said Newey. "It's a car we can be very proud of, in as much as we had a tight Championship battle through 2021, so we kept developing [that] car well into the season. "And when you have limited resources, then if you're putting research and development into that car, then that [limits the] research and development you're putting into this [2022] car for the new regulations. "But we focused on trying to get the fundamentals right, trying to get the package in the way that would include the front and rear suspension of the layout of the monocoque and the radiators and so forth, so that we would have a package that, even if it didn't start out as the quickest car, we could develop through the season. "The car definitely had some weaknesses in the first half of season, but we reduced those weaknesses and certainly by the second half, then we had a fully competitive package."

A tougher fight expected in 2022

Though Red Bull won both 2022 titles in convincing fashion, Newey added that the team expected Ferrari and Mercedes to come back strongly next year. "Ferrari won't be resting. They will be sorting out their weak areas," said Newey. "They had a couple of reliability problems; they obviously made a couple of pit wall mistakes, so they'll be right back. "Mercedes started [2021] with a car that was quite a long way off the pace, and evolving it to the point [where] they won the last race but one, so we know they will be right there. So it's going to be a tough year."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix