Formula 1 teams are already preparing for the 2024 season, with wind tunnel and CFD testing times being allocated based on championship standings, with the leader getting 70% of the maximum runs and the last-placed team getting 115%, in an effort to level the playing field.
‣ Formula 1 teams are already working on their new cars for the 2024 season, with some teams allowed more time in the wind tunnel and on CFD than others.
‣ F1 has limited wind tunnel time for teams since testing was abolished, with the aim of testing car parts and maintaining fair competition.
‣ The amount of time teams are allowed in the wind tunnel is determined by their championship standings, with the leader getting fewer runs and the last-placed team getting the most.
‣ The allocation of wind tunnel time for the 2024 F1 season will be guided by the constructors’ championship standings, with Red Bull Racing getting the least time and Haas getting the most.
The 2024 Formula 1 season is still on the horizon, but the teams are already on the grind. They’re working on their new cars, and some are getting more wind tunnel and CFD time than others. Wondering how much time each team gets? Let’s dive in!
Wind Tunnel Time: Why F1 Puts a Cap on It
F1 has been leaning heavily on wind tunnel testing and CFD, a computer program, since testing got the axe. It’s a free-for-all for testing car parts, but there’s a catch. Regulations have been putting a leash on this for a few years now.
Wind Tunnel Time: The F1 Team Quota
COVID-19 pulled the strings tight. Pre-2020, F1 teams had about 65 wind tunnel runs per week. In 2021, they were down to 40. A scale was introduced to give the underdogs a fighting chance against the big dogs. Each championship spot equated to a 2.5% increase or decrease in wind tunnel time. The top dog got 90% of the 40 runs, or 36 runs per week. The second in line got 112.5%, or 45 runs per week.
The scale got a makeover for the 2022-2025 F1 season. The differences per spot jumped to 5%. So, the top dog now gets 70% (28 runs per week), and the underdog gets 115% (46 runs per week).
For the 2024 season, the constructors’ championship standings will be the yardstick for the new allocation key. Red Bull Racing will get the short end of the stick in terms of wind tunnel time, while Haas, the underdog, will get the most. Red Bull will get 70% of the maximum number of runs, which is 28 runs per week. This is a win for Red Bull, considering that until 26 October 2023, they could only use 63% due to a penalty for going over the budget cap in 2021.
Mercedes, already in second place among constructors on 30 June 2023, keeps the same number of runs. Ferrari, in fourth place by mid-2023, has to give up two runs per week due to its third-place finish in 2023. McLaren is also slipping. The team, based in Woking, was sixth among constructors after the Canadian Grand Prix and moved up two spots, losing four runs a week.
Aston Martin is the winner here, having lost two spots towards the end of the season. Alpine, fifth in mid-2023, also gets two more runs due to its sixth spot. Haas and Alfa Romeo also get a boost, gaining four runs each as they both dropped two spots.
The new distribution will be in effect until 30 June 2024. The Austrian Grand Prix will be on Sunday 30 June, and those points will still count. The championship standings after that race weekend will determine the distribution key for the second half of the year.