Each team’s ATR limit for 2023 – and why Red Bull expect a “significant handicap” | 2023 F1 season


For the first time since Formula 1 introduced its Aerodynamic Testing Restriction rules in 2021, Mercedes will not be the team which is permitted the least amount of development time for its new car.

The rules are designed to handicap the top performing teams each season and bring about closer competition throughout the grid. Therefore this year Red Bull are allowed the least development time, as the reigning champions, while Williams get the most having ended 2022 in last place.

Red Bull finished last season with by far the strongest car in the field, which won all bar one of the last 11 races. A crucial question heading into the new season will be whether the disadvantage they face as a result of their reduced development allocation will be enough for their rivals to close on, catch or even overhaul them.

Mercedes had the least development time in 2021 and 2022

Team principal Christian Horner put a brave face on the situation when he spoke to media including RaceFans at the team’s season launch event last week. “I think that we’re doing the best with what we’ve got,” he said. “The team have had to adapt to the handicap that we have, they’ve done a wonderful job in doing that.

“Is it enough? We’ll find out in a couple of weeks’ time as a starting point. But it’s certainly a significant handicap that we carry for the majority of the year.

“The team have obviously accepted that, we’ve looked to adapt to ensure that we’re as efficient as we possibly can be. We’ll see when RB19 runs on the track in anger if we’ve done enough.”

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How F1’s aerodynamic testing restrictions change for each team in 2023

F1’s aerodynamic testing restrictions are unchanged for 2023: The amount of development each team may conduct based on their championship finishing position the year before remains the same.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test
Red Bull’s junior team gets more development time

However only one team ended the 2022 championship in the same position it did one year earlier and therefore has an unchanged development allocation: Aston Martin. The rest have all changed.

Coincidentally, the seventh place Aston Martin finished in is the position where a team receives 100% of the permitted wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics development time. This is equivalent to 320 wind tunnel testing runs and 2,000 aerodynamic test geometries for restricted computation fluid dynamics simulations.

The three teams which finished behind them get more, up to Williams on 115%. Those who finished ahead get less, which ordinarily would put Red Bull on 70%, as Mercedes had last year.

However Red Bull are at a further disadvantage as a result of their penalty for exceeding the budget cap in 2021. As part of their sanction, the team’s testing allocation for 2023 was reduced by a further 10%, putting them on 63%.

While Red Bull have the lowest allocation, Alfa Romeo have seen theirs cut the most, falling from 110% to 95% as they rose from eighth to sixth in the constructors’ standings. AlphaTauri are in the exact opposite situation.

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How seriously will Red Bull’s lower development restriction affect the reigning champions? The experience of other teams which had low allocations of development time last year was that it limited the extent to which they could explore different concepts. However if a team is confident in the philosophy of its design and is developing a proven quantity, the development restrictions are less of a headache.

This may well be the situation Red Bull is in, as it had the car to beat at the end of last year and the changes to the technical regulations this year are minor. The team has already indicated the RB19 – which was not presented at its launch event last week – will be an evolution of last year’s car.

If the champions begin the new season in much the same shape they ended last year, it will call into question the effectiveness of the recently-introduced ATR scheme. Moreover, it will be grist to the mill for those who felt Red Bull’s budget cap penalty was too lenient.

*Due to their penalty for exceeding the budget cap in 2021, Red Bull’s allocation this year is reduced from 70% to 63%

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