Max Verstappen believes the sliding scale on permitted windtunnel testing time is “correct” and “good for the sport”, despite Red Bull being the ones to most severely feel the pinch.
As a way of trying to encourage the Formula 1 grid to tighten up, a scale is in place which determines how much time a team can spend developing in the windtunnel versus their rivals, based on where they finish in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
The team which finishes bottom then has the most time available of any team, while the Constructors’ Championship winner is afforded the least.
Max Verstappen supports R&D sliding scale
Red Bull already had the lowest allocation by virtue of their 2022 Constructors’ title win, though their time was cut by a further 10 per cent due to a minor breach of the 2021 cost cap.
Red Bull retained the title for 2022, meaning they once more will face a disadvantage against all competitors in the development race, and with Mercedes having pushed Verstappen hard for victory at the US Grand Prix, armed with their upgraded floor, Verstappen gave his thoughts on the R&D scale concept.
With Red Bull having long since eased off with development of their dominant RB19, Verstappen referenced that this plays its part in rivals closing the gap as Mercedes and McLaren continue to make strides.
However, Verstappen expressed his support for the system to allocate windtunnel time, believing it has a positive impact on Formula 1.
“I mean, our latest update has already been a while [ago],” said Verstappen after the US Grand Prix.
“But yeah, clearly of course at the moment, they’re catching and it’s going to be interesting to see where everyone is going to be next year, the first race.
“But I mean, those are the rules, right? I mean, when you’re the leading team, you have less windtunnel time and honestly, I think it’s correct, it’s fine. Good for the sport.
“And time will tell of course how competitive we’re all going to be next year.”
That being said, Verstappen had a warning for rival teams in a campaign where he has stormed to a third World title with 15 victories on the board so far, and 17 for Red Bull overall.
With the regulations staying stable, Verstappen pointed out how there is no need for a “rebuild” in F1 2024, which considering Red Bull’s mighty base in the RB19, should negate some impact of that restricted windtunnel time.
“I think the good thing is, of course, that the rules are not really changing,” he continued. “So whatever you do now still learn, I think you’re learning a lot for next year anyway.
“So it’s not like you’re focusing fully on this year and then suddenly you need to rebuild for next year.
“So I think it’s absolutely correct what Mercedes is doing as well, to try and understand more of their car. For sure we are working on next year, but at the same time, of course, we’re also trying to continue to improve our package that we’ve got at the moment.”
With four rounds of F1 2023 remaining, one more victory would see Verstappen break his own record of 15 in a season, set last year.