Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel does not believe that the AMR22 is in any way “controversial” after suggestions that they had stolen Red Bull’s design philosophy.
Aston Martin introduced a B-spec car to the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend that featured sidepods and venturi tunnels that looked uncannily similar to those of Red Bull, sparking fury from the Austrian outfit.
Adviser Dr Helmut Marko claimed that he had “evidence” that “data was downloaded” after aerodynamicist Dan Fallows, among others, left Red Bull for the Silverstone side in the early part of the season.
Data theft in F1 carries an enormous penalty in Formula 1, as McLaren discovered when they were fined $100 million for accepting a 780-page document from disgruntled Ferrari engineer turned whistle-blower Nigel Stepney and using it to inform their design.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner advised the British side that it is a “criminal offence” to copy someone else’s data, but Aston Martin were cleared by the FIA of any wrongdoing.
Vettel does not understand why there has been so much uproar, indicating that all the fuss is being made by Red Bull themselves.
“Why is it controversial? Who says that? I think Red Bull say that, but not really other people,” he said.
The upgrades had little effect on Aston Martin’s poor form as Vettel and team-mate Lance Stroll qualified 16th and 18threspectively in Spain, before the four-time champion recovered to 11th in the race.
He did so while trying to execute a two stop-stragety, but conceded that he had to run at “Formula 2” pace to make it work due to the high temperatures and subsequent degradation.
“Everyone’s tyres were falling to pieces and lots of drivers pitted fairly early, so we tried something different by opting for a two-stopper,” explained Vettel.
“We just lacked a bit too much pace to really be able to attack the points-scoring positions. But we tried something – P11 is not much of a reward, but we had a decent race.”
However, Vettel is aware that Aston Martin’s development is a long-term project, and the progress will be incremental.
“We knew this new package was not going to be a massive step straight away, but we believe it is a better direction for the future,” he added.
“We are making progress and going forwards, and that is what really matters.”
Sadly, Vettel’s Spanish ordeal was not done there. He had his bag robbed in Barcelona on Monday and, despite his best efforts, was unable to track it back down.
“A bag belonging to Sebastian Vettel was stolen in Barcelona this morning,” said a statement from Aston Martin, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“He tried to find it by using his iPhone to track his earphones which were in his bag; but when he located his earphones he found them abandoned and was therefore unable to locate his stolen bag.”
Aston Martin boss Mike Krack affirmed ahead of the weekend that he wanted to being evolutions to “every race,” including this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The Silverstone-based team continue to languish in ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, with Vettel and Stroll having scored just six points between them.