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Red Bull restrictions "would have been disastrous" with troubled 2023 F1 car

Christian Horner says Red Bull's Formula 1 aerodynamic testing restrictions "would have been disastrous" if its 2023 car had been flawed from the start.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, talk in the pit lane

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Red Bull was hit with a 70% allowance of wind tunnel and CFD time as part of F1's Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions, a table which awards less development time the better a team performs in the constructors' championship.

As the reigning champion Red Bull therefore received the smallest allowance of all 10 teams, which comes on top of an additional restriction as a punishment for breaching the 2021 cost cap.

But despite its handicap, Red Bull has utterly crushed the competition in 2023, winning all eight races thus far as Max Verstappen cruises to his third consecutive world championship.

When asked if Red Bull's success means the effect of the ATR rules has been less dramatic than feared, Horner said the team would have been in real trouble if it hadn't had such a strong car from the start of the season.

"I would say the most significant thing is that we came into the year with a competitive car," Horner said in Austria.

"I think if we'd have been having to fix issues on the current car, then that would have been disastrous for us. Thankfully we had a good solid base."

Red Bull has won all eight races so far this season, with Verstappen victorious on six occasions

Red Bull has won all eight races so far this season, with Verstappen victorious on six occasions

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Horner pointed out that Red Bull's in-season development did suffer from its restrictions, although he admitted the team has also been able to switch focus to next year's car quite quickly.

"You can see our rate of development compared to other cars is somewhat more moderate and that's simply because we just don't have the resource time available," he added.

"So, the resource time we do have available, we have to pick and choose where we apply it.

"And of course, I'm sure all these guys will tell you the same, that a lot of focus already is going into next year's car."

The ATR table is redrawn every six months, with the current 2023 constructors' standings used from Saturday 1 July until the end of the year.

That means Red Bull's nearest competitors Mercedes and Aston Martin, which have improved compared to their final position in 2023, will see their development time reduced, while Ferrari will be handed a bigger allowance.

ATR Table July - December 2023

Championship Position

Team

Allowance

Change from 1 July

1st

Red Bull

70%

0

2nd

Mercedes

75%

-5%

3rd

Aston Martin

80%

-20%

4th

Ferrari

85%

+10%

5th

Alpine

90%

+5%

6th

McLaren

95%

+5%

7th

Alfa Romeo

100%

+5%

8th

Haas

105%

0

9th

Williams

110%

-5%

10th

AlphaTauri

115%

+5%

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