Fernando Alonso dismisses copying accusation after Sergio Perez’s joke

Fernando Alonso has insisted Aston Martin didn't copy Red Bull's 2022 car, despite Dan Fallows joining the team.

Ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the design of Aston Martin’s AMR23 was a big talking point, with both Red Bull and Mercedes having accused the Silverstone-based team of copying their design.

The debate started ahead of the 2023 season-opener in Bahrain, after Aston Martin demonstrated during pre-season testing that they are a real threat to the usual leading trio this season.

Aston Martin’s solid pre-season was backed up by a podium at the season-opener, with Fernando Alonso having finished third at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

What followed Alonso’s podium was claims that Aston Martin had imitated the current leading teams, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner having recognised similarities between the British side’s 2023 car and the Austrians’ dominant 2022 challenger.

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“They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery,” said Horner at the Bahrain GP, “and it’s good to see the old car going so well.”

Even during the post-race press conference, Sergio Pérez joked that there were three Red Bulls on the podium, with Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko having added that the employees who moved to Aston Martin “have a good memory”.

“There’s a reason for that. Not only did Fallows change, but also some other employees and they obviously have a good memory,” Marko told Sky Deutschland.

Marko went on to admit that all the comments directed at Aston Martin were simply “humorous remarks”, not that Alonso cares much anyway.

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“I don’t care about the comments at all,” Alonso told Marca, when asked for his thoughts on Red Bull’s and Mercedes’ claims of copying.

“I’m not fazed except to focus on my team and improve… But you can clearly see that there are differences between the two cars at a glance.”

Whilst Red Bull’s copying claims are more chassis and sidepod-related, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has labelled the AMR23 as “half ours”.

Being a Mercedes customer team, Aston Martin have the same engine, rear suspension, and gearbox as the Silver Arrows, whilst they also both use the same wind tunnel.

Wolff’s comment in particular left Alonso feeling perplexed, with the double world champion having added that Red Bull’s and Mercedes’ concepts are the complete opposite of each other.

“Visually they are different and an example of this is that Mercedes says that 50 percent of their car is ours [engine, gearbox and suspension] and Red Bull says that 50 percent is theirs… and there can be no two more different concepts than those two,” said Alonso.

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“That clearly indicates that neither of the two theories is true.

“We have a different concept than those two cars although it is true that visually all the cars look a bit alike. If you take the black cars, well, the Ferrari, the Haas and the Alfa Romeo also look very similar to each other.”

Given that Alonso will start this weekend’s Saudi Arabian GP from the front row, the likelihood is that further imitations comments will be made at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday.