Red Bull to build new wind tunnel on Milton Keynes campus

03-05-2022 09:27 | Updated: 03-05-2022 11:00
Red Bull to build new wind tunnel on Milton Keynes campus

Red Bull Racing is in the midst of preparing to build a new wind tunnel, according to Auto Motor und Sport reported on Tuesday. The Austrians' project should be ready in two years. Actually, Red Bull does not want to build a new wind tunnel, but they say they have little choice if they want to remain competitive.

Red Bull wants to go after Ferrari

Red Bull's current wind tunnel is at the Bedford Technology Park, but the team wants to put the new wind tunnel at the Red Bull campus in Milton Keynes. The Austrians want all their operations under one roof, like Ferrari has in Italy with Maranello. The think tank, production, wind tunnel, simulator and engine plant, if all plans are approved, will then all be in Milton Keynes from sometime in 2024.

It is remarkable that Red Bull wants to build a new wind tunnel, because from 2030 onwards, Formula 1 wants to limit the development of aerodynamics to CFD only. This is in fact much more sustainable, but despite this announced measure, Red Bull says it will not escape investing in a new wind tunnel. In doing so, it is going after Aston Martin and McLaren. These two teams have been at it for some time and expect to be ready in early 2023.

New wind tunnel needed by Red Bull

So why does Red Bull opt for a new wind tunnel, which is expected to cost between 50 and 75 million euros? Due to the 'aero handicap' in Formula 1, top teams are getting fewer and fewer hours they can spend in the wind tunnel. Reliable measurement data can only be collected below the maximum wind speed, but it is precisely this time that has been restricted by the premier class of motor racing.

Adrian Newey explains in conversation with the aforementioned German medium where the crux lies. According to him, Red Bull's current wind tunnel still works fine, but it's mainly about efficiency. "It just takes too long for us to get the desired wind speed. And that takes away considerably relevant wind tunnel time that we are actually entitled to," he states. The speed in the wind tunnels had to be steadily increased, and as a result you go over the allowable limit relatively quickly.

Newey goes on to say that sooner rather than later he would like to use CFD development alone, but it is suspected that teams such as Aston Martin and McLaren are ahead of that because they have invested tens of millions of euros in building their new wind tunnel since last year. So they have absolutely no benefit from this.

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