It was recently announced that due to a change in location for its development, which will be on-site, new planning permission has been required.
This has delayed construction until 2024, with completion due two years later when the state-of-the-art facility will be able to help with the development of the '27 car, likely to be known as the RB23.
At present, Red Bull uses a wind tunnel in Bedford it acquired as part of its takeover of Jaguar in 2004. Although updated since then, it originally started life in World War II with the development of aircraft.
Red Bull again has full use of that wind tunnel after serving a 12-month penalty, which expired in October, for breaking the 2021 budget cap, with its focus on developing next year's RB20.
“Our (wind tunnel) allowance increased a bit in October as we'd served the penalty,” said Horner, speaking in a select media session, including Speedcafe.
“It allowed seven percent more time, but that's eight percent less than any other competitor. That's just the way these regulations are.”
That concerns the sliding scale of allocated wind tunnel and CFD time dependent on a team's finishing position in the championship the previous year. As champions last season, Red Bull received the least amount for this season.
Continuing, Horner added: “With the wind tunnel we have, which is a Cold War relic, and not particularly efficient, particularly in cold weather, which we tend to get a bit of in the UK. we have to be very, very selective.
“That's where the team has done brilliantly well, really being selective in where we channel our development.
“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 on which construction will start during 2024.”
As to which car it would service, Horner replied: “Probably for the '27. You don't want to introduce it in-season, you have to nominate a tunnel for the year, so it'll probably be to do the '27 car in.”
The construction of the wind tunnel, in tandem with the development of its own power unit for the first time when new regulations start in 2026, represents a significant financial outlay.
Horner has confirmed that despite the death of owner Dietrich Mateschitz last year, the team has continued to receive unwavering support from the board.
“Since Dietrich's passing, the commitment of the shareholders, the Thai shareholders, and the Mateschitz family, in Dietrich's son, we've acquired more buildings this year than in any year in our history,” said Horner.
“The commitment to the campus in the UK is extraordinary. To have a state-of-the-art wind tunnel is something we've debated over the last 19 years.
“With where we're at with Powertrains within a three-year period, recruiting close to 500 people, to have built a state-of-the-art facility with our own manufacturing capability, it's a massive commitment by the shareholders and it demonstrates their commitment to the longevity (of the team).”
That commitment is fuelled by the sale of energy drink Red Bull, with the team's involvement in F1 playing a significant role, leading to a knock-on effect as other sponsors are joining the bandwagon.
“It also demonstrates that Formula 1 is delivering,” remarked Horner. “If you measure the incremental can sales that Formula 1 is delivering, in addition to the normal sales, we sold over 320 million cans off the back of Formula 1 activities.
“That would put Red Bull Racing in the top 10 countries of Red Bull, so Formula 1 delivers, and it's delivering for the shareholders, for Red Bull, and it's delivering for our partners, which is why we're seeing more and more partners coming into the sport.
“Because of the health of the sport, the interest, and the new following, it's never been in a stronger place.
“It's why getting the future right, and the regulations right for 2026 onwards, we all collectively have a responsibility, as teams, the governing body, and the commercial rights holder, to make sure we get the ingredients for 2026 right.”