Red Bull will get a new windtunnel, thanks to Mateschitz

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB18 makes a pit stop. 11.09.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race
© XPB 

Red Bull Racing will finally get a new state of the art windtunnel to aid its research and development work.

The team is currently still using the same windtunnel that it started with when Red Bull bought out the Jaguar F1 team in 2004.

It was one of the assets of the defunct Arrows squad, with a history dating back to the end of WW2 as an aircraft development facility.

Team principal Christian Horner recently complained about the "relic of the cold war" and highlighted issues with temperature control due to the size and age of the building.

The team has been planning to build a new windtunnel as part of its technology campus in Milton Keynes. This week Horner confirmed to The Race that the project had been given the go-ahead.

“It was one of the commitments that Dietrich made to the business, to invest in a new tunnel,” referring to Red Bull team founder Dieter Mateschitz who passed away in October aged 78, following a long illness.

A new windtunnel has recently become a major imperative under new testing regulations, and also Red Bull incurring 10 per cent reduction in the aerodynamic testing allowance for exceeding the budget cap in 2021.

The elderly facility takes extra time to reach the required wind speed, and that all comes out of the allowance.

“Once the tunnel regulations were introduced, the efficiency of our tunnel just wasn’t comparable with where the regulations are going,” Horner explained.

“It forced our hand that we needed to make that big capital investment," he continued. "So that’s what we’ve chosen to do."

Building a new windtunnel could take two years to complete, which means it will only come online long after Red Bull's penalty expires.

And it might have a short shelf life, with the FIA discussing banning the use of air tunnels altogether from 2030.

Red Bull's technical chief Adrian Newey has been among those in favour of a ban and a move to fully CFD [computational fluid dynamics] instead.

“When you look at the way the world’s going, simulation is playing a bigger and bigger role," Horner acknowledged.

“We should have been brave enough to look at walking away from tunnels in the future. Unfortunately there was a fear-based culture, rather than an embracing one.”

Other teams including McLaren and Aston Martin have also made the same decision to invest in new windtunnels while they can, with squads seeing them as major capital assets.

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