Aston Martin copygate scandal: Red Bull claim they ‘know data was downloaded’

Aston Martin's new sidepods at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix have sparked intense speculation as to the legality of their car.

Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko has confirmed that he can prove data from his team was taken by Aston Martin, but he cannot confirm that it was used as part of their new sidepod design.

In a bid to improve their fortunes, Aston Martin have given both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll a B-spec car that they hope can help them to score points on a more consistent basis, but upon their arrival in Barcelona this weekend, nobody could help but notice it looked very much like a Red Bull.

The car was thus labelled the “green Red Bull,” and Christian Horner indicated that it was unlikely to be a “coincidence” that the departure of Dan Fallows to the Silverstone side occurred just before the new spec was unveiled.

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He also reminded Lawrence Stroll’s team that copying intellectual property is a “criminal offence” and, while Dr Marko cannot say for sure what the data was used for, he is certain that it was stolen.

“We only know that data was downloaded – we cannot say what happened to it. We cannot prove that they were used,” the Austrian said.

“We’ll investigate and if we find something that is against the rules – it’s about the integrity of the sport.”

Aston Martin were found guilty in 2020 of intimately copying Mercedes’ 2019 car while they were under their previous guise as Racing Point, so the Austrian believes that an investigation is necessary.

“This is the second copy from this team. It’s time for clarification,” he added.

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In an interview with Sky Germany, the 79-year-old indicated that Dan Fallows cannot have informed the new sidepods from memory alone having not had access to the Red Bull car prior to his transfer.

“It’s not just Dan Fallows, there is evidence that data was downloaded. Dan Fallows was on paid vacation,” said Dr Marko.

“What he has in his head…copying is not prohibited in the approach. But can you copy without documents and then make such a detailed copy of our car?”

Andy Green, chief technical officer at Aston Martin, dismissed the accusations, affirming the FIA looked at the work that went into the design and found that no data theft had taken place.

“I don’t know what these accusations are that Red Bull are talking about. All I can say is that at no stage did we ever receive any data from any team or anyone,” he asserted.

“The FIA came in and did a thorough investigation, examined all the data leading up in the history of this car, they interviewed all the people involved and concluded that it was completely independent development.

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“To that point where you were talking about potential employees, this car was conceived in the middle of last year as a dual route with the launch car, and the majority of the releases were made before anybody from Red Bull even turned up. 

“So I think the accusations are very wide of the mark.”

While Aston Martin have been cleared of any wrongdoing for now, this is a discussion that is sure to rage on throughout 2022.