Red Bull’s new windtunnel will be up and running by 2026, with the Austrian team aiming to use it for its 2027 contender.
At present the world champions use an ageing facility in Bedford, but the new windtunnel, construction of which will get underway next year, will form part of its Milton Keynes complex.
“With wind tunnels being a thing of the future by all accounts, we’ve had to go with the times and invest in a new wind tunnel,” confirmed Christian Horner.
“Construction will start during the course of 2024,” he added. However, though it is planned to have it online for 2026 it will not be used for that year’s contender, the first under the planned rules overhaul.
“You don’t want to introduce it in-season,” said the Briton, “you have to nominate a tunnel for the year, so it will be probably to do the ’27 car in.”
The team’s current windtunnel was previously owned by the National Aeronautical Establishment and was used in the development of Concorde along with various military projects.
Previously used by the Arrows F1 team, the windtunnel was subsequently leased by Jaguar and formed part of the deal when Red Bull bought out the Ford-owned outfit in 2004.
Though once considered one of the world’s best facilities, the current windtunnel has some modern day shortcomings, which, when combined with the restrictions the team faced this year as a result of its budget cap infringement, meant the team faced an unusual dilemma.
“Our allowance increased a bit in October, as we’d served the penalty,” said Horner, “so it allowed seven percent more time. But again, that’s eight percent less than any other competitor. That’s just the way these regulations are.
“And particularly with the wind tunnel that we have, which is a Cold War relic, and not particularly efficient, particularly in cold weather, which you tend to get a bit of in the UK, we have to be very, very selective. And that’s where the team have done brilliantly well of really being selective of where we channel our development.”