Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner has revealed that wind tunnel issues made the start of 2017 more difficult for the Milton Keynes-based team. Going into this season, Red Bull was expected to close the gap to Mercedes due to its traditional strengths in aerodynamics and chassis design, but instead emerged as the third best team on the grid.
Wind tunnel problems hurt Red Bull in 2017 claims Christian Horner
Since then, Red Bull has closed the gap to both Mercedes and Ferrari although the team is still off the pace. In the first half of the season, Red Bull took one win at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix along with five other podiums at China, Spain, Monaco, Canada and Austria.
“The race track didn’t show what our tools had promised,” Horner told Auto Motor und Sport. “It put us back two months, but then you have to work twice as fast as the others because they’re not standing still.”
When asked where the route of the problem was, Horner said that: “It was mainly the wind tunnel that let us down. The larger model and tyres gave us different results between the track, the CFD and the wind tunnel.”
Horner also pinned some of Red Bull’s issues on Renault, its engine supplier. “By Renault’s own estimates they are behind their targets, but they are working very hard to catch up,” he said. Since the start of the V6 Hybrid era of Formula 1, Renault has consistently failed to produce an engine that is on the same level of performance as Mercedes of Ferrari, although it is ahead of Honda who currently round out the power rankings on the grid.
Red Bull has also faced other hurdles in 2017, with its original suspension being banned and Ferrari’s supposed ‘oil in fuel’ trick. “It definitely benefited those who had it, but it wasn’t Renault. Now we’re all back on the same page,” said Horner when talking about the oil trick.
“We tested the system but it didn’t give us enough to justify the additional weight, so I don’t think that hurt us at all,” he concluded when talking about Red Bull’s banned suspension.
Red Bull currently lie in third place in the Constructors’ Championship with 184 points, 173 points behind Mercedes who currently lead.
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