Red Bull plans new Formula 1 wind tunnel

Three teams plan or build new wind tunnels. From 2030, Formula 1 wants to limit aerodynamic development exclusively to CFD. That doesn't stop Red Bull from planning to build a new wind tunnel. forced.

McLaren and Aston Martin are in the middle of building new wind tunnels, which should go online in spring 2023 at the latest. Both teams hope that their state-of-the-art facilities will provide the first output for the 2024 season. It is a final step for both of them to catch up with the top teams. Since there is a budget cap, they only differ in the quality and quantity of the tools.

Now Red Bull also has its sights set on a new wind tunnel. "We are in the approval phase," confirms sports director Helmut Marko. The construction should be in two years on the Red Bull campus in Milton Keynes. Everything would then be under one roof: Think tank, production, wind tunnel, simulator, engine factory. An English Ferrari, so to speak.

Newey advertises CFD

Red Bull actually didn't want to build a new wind tunnel, but feels compelled to do so. The ever stricter limits for test runs are forcing the current World Cup runner-up to do so. Not only is the time upwind limited, but also the time until the maximum wind speed is reached, with which reliable measurement data can only be determined. Red Bull operates in a listed facility with many restrictions.

According to Head of Technology Adrian Newey, the wind tunnel itself is of good quality. "It just takes too long before we can ramp up to the desired wind speed. And that robs us of significantly relevant wind tunnel time that we are actually entitled to." Because you get over the permitted limit faster than others during the leisurely ramp-up phase.

If Newey had his way, Red Bull wouldn't have had to build a wind tunnel at all. "I would limit everything fully to CFD development. Unfortunately, there are not enough votes for it, although it would be much more sustainable. The usual suspects are against it." This probably means the teams that are already in the middle of building their systems. Wind tunnels cost between 50 and 75 million euros. An expensive pleasure with a foreseeable useful life. In 2030, Formula 1 will no longer allow wind tunnels.


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