While Red Bull cannot ignore the impact of their wind tunnel restriction, Helmut Marko remains upbeat over their 2023 chances.
As a result of committing a minor breach of the 2021 cost cap, Red Bull were not only fined $7million, but also saw their permitted wind tunnel time reduced by a further 10%.
They were already set to receive the least of all teams as per the sliding scale due to winning the 2022 Constructors’ title, so that handicap was only further beefed up by the penalty.
However, Red Bull are not exactly going into 2023 on the back foot, as they dominated the 2022 campaign with 17 wins from 22 races, Max Verstappen taking the Drivers’ title with a record 15 wins for the season at the wheel of the RB18.
And the RB19 is already set to offer Red Bull a “strong base” to build from, according to Marko, which would mean the main concern for Red Bull is efficiency with what they do test and how they make it work on the car.
“We are of course sitting with this reduction of hours in the wind tunnel. That means we have to work very efficiently as a team,” Marko told Red Bull-owned broadcaster ServusTV. “All the things we try out have to hit the mark immediately.
“But fortunately the technical changes for next year are not that big. It means we have a good basic package.
“The team also stays together and Max is still getting slightly better. As a result, we can go into the new season cautiously optimistic.
“We have a tradition at Red Bull that we don’t really finish the car until the very last moment. But the concept of the car is already there. We can indeed build on a very successful 2022 car.”
Helmut Marko has Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s difference maker
Now a two-time World Champion, Verstappen has morphed into a complete and almost unstoppable Formula 1 force, the key to keeping him that way being a Red Bull challenger that is at least in the fight.
Red Bull will likely start 2023 as a leader, if not the clear front-runner, but if the wind tunnel handicap does start to bite Red Bull later on in the season, then they at least know that in Verstappen, they have a driver who will get the absolute most out of the RB19.
So, if Verstappen does most of the damage in the opening part of the campaign, there are few better than him if Red Bull are left needing the Dutchman to hang on and make sure rival teams run out of time to complete a fightback.
The article Helmut Marko delivers his early assessment of the upcoming F1 2023 season appeared first on Planetf1.com.