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Wolff spots 'advantage' for Mercedes over Red Bull

Mercedes struggled to match the pace of Red Bull in 2022, but Toto Wolff feels that there may be a factor going in the Silver Arrows' favour ahead of the 2023 F1 season.

Toto Wolff believes that Red Bull's reduced wind tunnel time due to their cost cap penalty could be an "advantage" for the Silver Arrows. After being found to have breached the 2021 financial regulations, Red Bull were required to pay a $7 million fine and forfeit 10 per cent of their aerodynamic development allowance. Alongside this, the Milton Keynes-based squad were already allocated less wind tunnel time than other teams due to the fact that the winning constructor is given a lower percentage of aerodynamic testing time. With Mercedes having been the leading outfit for many years in the sport, Wolff has an understanding of how this can have an impact. However, given Red Bull's additional cost cap penalty, the Austrian expects that this could possibly have a further effect.

Wolff on Red Bull penalty

"I think [Red Bull have] done a very good job last year, and having a car out there that is half a second or more quicker than everybody else," Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.com , at the launch of Mercedes' 2023 F1 car, the W14. "I think that the lack of wind tunnel time is certainly not great for them, [and it could be] an advantage for us this season." Despite this, Wolff believes that Red Bull can minimise the impact of the punishment. "If you have an efficient machine, you can certainly compensate for that, or large parts of it," the Mercedes boss continued. "So, long-term, [it's] good for us. But we've been in that situation – obviously without the penalty – in the years before [when] we won, and therefore we had less wind tunnel time than everybody else for the last few seasons. "It's going to certainly bite them a bit. But if they are efficient as an organisation, which they've demonstrated, it's not going to be big."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying