Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it was crucial for his team not to have a major issue with its car to resolve this year due to the cost cap penalty that limits its development time.
The FIA found Red Bull to be in minor overspend breach of the cost cap last year and imposed a reduction in windtunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) time that leaves Horner’s team with less opportunity to work on the aerodynamic aspects of its car compared to its rivals. After starting the year with a comfortable one-two in Bahrain, Horner says the penalty’s impact will be felt over a long period but that it has a chance of limiting it by ensuring it has a strong baseline.
“I think it’s something you have to view over a twelve-month period because it’s not just this years car its next year’s car,” Horner said. “I think the really positive thing for us is that we’re not dealing with a fundamental issue that soaked up that resource and time so it was vital for us to be able to cope with that penalty, to have a solid starting point and I think that is what the team have done.
“I think it just focuses everyone’s mind that, it drives efficiency and what we lost in wind tunnel time, we gained in motivation.”
Max Verstappen was untroubled as he won in Bahrain with Sergio Perez a comfortable second, but Horner warns the overall leave of Red Bull’s advantage won’t be known until more tracks have been used.
“I think for the first race of the year to bring them home as we did with the handicap of the wind tunnel time and everything else I think the team have done an amazing job to have this as a starting point. Of course we’ve now got to be efficient in our development moving forward and every circuit will have its different challenges but a great start for the team.
“You never know (the pecking order) and I think the problem is that we’ve got one data set which is at this track so we’re not taking anything for granted so let’s see Jeddah and Melbourne after that. After we’ve got two or three circuits under our belt we’ll have a much better picture of strengths and weaknesses of our car and our opposition so it’s certainly a very healthy start and a very well-executed race to bring in those points.”