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Formula 1

Winners and losers from F1's first 2024 aero testing reset

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

The mid-season reset to the aerodynamic testing allowances Formula 1 teams are entitled to has prompted many changes for the rest of the season, with Mercedes, Alpine and Williams the main winners.

What is commonly referred to as the ATR is essentially a limit to how many windtunnel runs and how much CFD work can be conducted by each team, with a sliding scale based on where they are in the constructors’ championship.

The baseline figure of 320 windtunnel runs per ATR period also permits only 80 hours of ‘wind on’ time, which is when meaningful aero data can be gathered, and an occupancy limit of 400 hours. The baseline for the CFD items is 2000 per ATR period, and the leading team always gets the lowest ATR allowance (70% of that total) while the team that is last can conduct more aero work than anyone else (115% of the baseline).

The ATR runs over a six-month period from January 1 to June 30, and is reset for the second half of the year.

The 2023 constructors’ championship standings meant Red Bull had the lowest allowance and Haas the most. The final order was: Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine, Williams, AlphaTauri (now RB), Sauber and Haas.

That has changed for most of the grid following last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, the final race before the reset. Only Red Bull and Aston Martin have the same allowances as before.

Mercedes’ fall from second in last year’s championship to fourth in the points as of Austria has gained it an extra 10% of the limits, with Alpine (sixth down to eighth) and Williams (seventh to ninth) benefitting similarly.

Embattled Sauber has a minor gain, as its meek 2023 finish of ninth has been followed up by an even worse start to 2024. It is 10th in the championship with zero points, affording it the maximum ATR allowance of all.

Haas is by far the biggest loser by virtue of a much more competitive 2024. It finished last in 2023, and may well have its enhanced ATR limits to thank for the strong development work that means it is seventh in the points as of June 30. But it will now work to much stricter limits, from 115% of the baseline down to 100%.

Red Bull’s second team RB has been a regular points finisher so far and suffers a 10% drop from being sixth in the championship having finished eighth last year.

Ferrari and McLaren only have minor 5% reductions in their allowances after rising from third and fourth in the 2023 standings to second and third respectively in the first half of 2024.

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