They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Red Bull appear to be pleasantly surprised at what they perceive to be a copycat job from Aston Martin in their latest upgrade.
Aston Martin arrived in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix with a new concept of their AMR22 and, when it was rolled into the pit lane on Thursday, it was immediately noted that the sidepods and venturi tunnels looked almost identical to Red Bull’s.
The RB18 has led Max Verstappen to four wins this season as of the end of the race in Spain, and the new design by the Silverstone side has already earned the nickname “Green Red Bull.”
This comes after their “Pink Mercedes” scandal under their Racing Point guise in 2020, in which they were found to have used intimate details of the 2019 Mercedes car to inform the design of their car.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner and adviser Dr Helmut Marko gave heavy indications last weekend that intellectual property [IP] had been taken.
Dr Marko claimed he had “evidence” that “data was downloaded,” while Horner stated that it is a “criminal offence” to steal another team’s data, which is the “lifeblood” of anyone’s F1 operation.
Red Bull sporting director Pierre Wach takes a slightly more flippant stance, affirming that they must have done something right for another team to copy their design.
“I was quite surprised to see a copy, quite satisfied that they copied us to be honest because it means we didn’t do a bad job,” he said.
“I think for us the main aspect is to be sure that it was done within the rules. The FIA have checked and now it looks like we have to check on our side if we have had any IP leak.
“That is a main asset of the team. We want to make sure of that. That is what we are investigating at the moment.
“From a personal and engineering aspect, it was quite satisfying that some other team has copied us. It means our concept is not so bad.”
Aston Martin chief technical officer, Andy Green, refutes the allegations from Red Bull, and asserts that their current design was conceived last year while they were preparing for the new technical regulations.
“I don’t know what these accusations are that Red Bull is thinking about,” he stated.
“All I can say is that at no stage did we receive any data from any team, from anyone.
“This car was conceived in the middle of last year, as a dual-route with the launch car.
“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.”
The FIA conducted a brief investigation into the documents used by Aston Martin to design the new chassis, and they found everything to be in order, so the Briton surprised that there is still so much outcry from Red Bull.
“I am disappointed, especially with the fact that the FIA came in and did a thorough investigation and examined all the data leading up in the history of this car,” explained Green.
“They interviewed all the people involved and concluded that it was a completely independent development.”
“We expect this to be the end, but if the FIA wanted to come back in again and do further investigations, we’re more than happy for them to do so,” Green said.
“We’ve been completely open and honest with them through the whole process. We’ve given them every access that they’ve requested.
“If they want to come back and do some more, I’m more than happy for that to happen.”
The upgraded car did little to help Aston Martin’s fortunes last weekend as both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll were eliminated in the first qualifying session, before Vettel recovered to 11th in the race.
The British team continue to sit ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, ahead only of Williams.