Formula 1

Red Bull Raises Questions over Legality of Aston Martin’s Spanish Grand Prix Updates

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Questions have been raised at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over the legality of the upgrades brought to the track this weekend by the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team, with many similarities to Oracle Red Bull Racing’s RB18 being noted.

And the similarities have been noted by Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner, who has said that the changes to the AMR22 cannot be coincidental since the arrival at Aston Martin of some former Red Bull employees, including their former head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows.

Red Bull say the transfer of its intellectual property would be a ‘serious breach’ of the sporting regulations, and Horner has said they were given a heads-up about the similarities by the FIA as they checked over the cars ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“Imitation is the biggest form of flattery, at the end of the day,” Horner said to Sky Sports F1.  “It’s no coincidence that we’ve had a few individuals that have transferred from Red Bull to Aston Martin over the winter and the early part of this season.

“It was brought to our attention by the FIA earlier in the week, when they said ‘we’ve got a car that looks remarkably like yours, can we have a list of your leavers to see where they went?’ So that immediately raises alarm bells.

“Now what is permissible, we see it up and down the paddock, individuals move from team to team after a gardening leave period. What they take in their head, that’s fair game. That’s their knowledge.

“What isn’t fair and what is totally unacceptable, which we wouldn’t accept, is if there has been any transfer of IP at all.”

Aston Martin deny that they’ve done anything wrong in the design process, but Horner wants the FIA to look into the design process of the updates to ensure none of their intellectual property was used without their consent.

“We’ve got our own software protections, we know exactly what software is looked at, where that software is controlled,” revealed Horner. 

“But I think it’s the job of the regulator, the FIA, because they have the access, and we rely very much on them to ensure that there is no transfer of IP, that there has been no abuse of that. So it’s very much their job to go and police that.”

Horner says that they do not have the ‘biggest’ of issues with it unless Aston Martin begin to beat them, but it is important their intellectual property is protected.

“It’s not the biggest of issues for us unless Aston Martin start beating us,” Horner insisted. “But for the teams that are in that midfield, it could have a material effect on them.

“The biggest thing that we want to ensure is that our IP is protected and it hasn’t been abused.”

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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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