Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey believes the team’s FIA penalty will hurt Max Verstappen’s title chances in 2023. Ferrari and Mercedes have been tipped to provide closer competition next season in the aftermath of punishment for breaching the F1 cost cap.
Red Bull face a £5.6m fine and an aerodynamic testing penalty after spending over the F1 budget cap in 2021. The FIA has reduced their wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) time by 10 per cent over the next 12 months.
It comes simultaneously with the FIA also changing the floor regulations in a bid to reduce the amount of porpoising that has impacted teams throughout 2022. And Newey is wary of the hit Red Bull could take while Ferrari and Mercedes have an advantage with their next package.
In an interview with RedBull.com, the 63-year-old sat down alongside team principal Christian Horner to discuss the 2022 season and future plans and hopes. But he predicted a ‘tough’ campaign next year due to the effects of Red Bull’s penalty for breaching the cost cap.
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He said: “There’s no testing, so it’s very difficult to put an answer that will cost us so many tenths of a second per lap. The reduction of internal testing means we can therefore evaluate less different components and ideas.
“If we’re really smart and always put on the right things on the model, it doesn’t make much difference. But Ferrari won’t be resting; they will be sorting out where their weak areas. They had a couple of reliability problems; they made a few pitwall mistakes – they’ll be alright.
“Of course, you obviously saw Mercedes starting with a car that was quite a long way off the pace and evolving it to the point they won the last race but one [in Brazil]. We know they will be right there. It’s going to be a tough year for sure.”
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Verstappen finished the latest season 146 points ahead of Charles Leclerc, lifting back-to-back Drivers’ Championships in a considerably more comfortable fashion than his first in 2021. The Dutchman won 15 of 22 races, clinching 17 podium finishes, and Sergio Perez helped secure the constructors’ title after a long drought.
But the pair’s back could be against the wall when pursuing three on the bounce, and Newey’s concerns are more than justified. And fans will hope Ferrari and Mercedes can take advantage to make for a more competitive year of racing.