until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

FIA investigated Aston Martin upgrade over Red Bull likeness

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

The FIA considers the newly upgraded Aston Martin design in compliance with the regulations after checking it because of how closely it resembled the Red Bull.

Aston Martin has introduced a new-look AMR22 at the Spanish Grand Prix that has striking similarities to the Red Bull’s sidepod concept.

In Aston Martin’s previous identity as Racing Point, the Silverstone team generated controversy for copying the Mercedes aerodynamic design in 2020 and was eventually punished specifically for illegally replicating the 2019 Mercedes’ brake ducts.

That prompted the FIA to revise its regulations specifically to stop the potential illegal transfer of intellectual property, and the process of ‘reverse engineering’ another design by converting photographs to CAD models.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Spanish Grand Prix Preparation Day Barcelona, Spain

These new regulations prompted the FIA to launch an investigation into the AMR22’s upgrades after it noticed during a routine pre-event legality check of the new parts that “a number of features resembled those of another competitor”.

In a statement, the FIA says that both teams collaborated fully and provided “all the relevant information”.

CAD designs were checked and a “detailed analysis of the development process adopted by Aston Martin confirmed that no wrongdoing had been committed”.

The FIA says it “considers that the Aston Martin aerodynamic upgrades are compliant”.

This is because the relevant regulation, Article 17.3, does allow for designs that are “influenced by those of competitors, as has always been the case in Formula 1”.

“In the analysis, we carried out we confirmed that the processes followed by Aston Martin were consistent with this Article’s requirement,” said the FIA.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Spanish Grand Prix Practice Day Barcelona, Spain

Aston Martin’s expansion in recent years has included a significant recruitment process and an expansion of its senior technical team, specifically with big-name hires from Red Bull’s aerodynamics department.

This includes Andrew Alessi joining as Aston Martin head of technical operations and the drawn-out process of hiring Red Bull’s aerodynamic chief Dan Fallows to be technical director.

On Friday afternoon, Red Bull responded to the FIA’s statement: “Red Bull Racing have noted the FIA’s statement with interest.

“While imitation is the greatest form of flattery, any replication of design would obviously need to comply with the FIA’s rules around ‘Reverse Engineering’.

“However, should any transfer of IP have taken place that would clearly be a breach of regulations and would be a serious concern.”

Earlier on Friday, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told the BBC in a yet-to-be-broadcast interview that he was putting his faith in the governing body policing the matter properly.

“It is quite a thing to instruct your team to come up with a very close-looking clone of our car,” Horner is quoted as saying.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Spanish Grand Prix Practice Day Barcelona, Spain

“A few people have moved over the winter period, and what you can’t control is what they take in their heads.

“But what would be of grave concern to us would be if any IP had in any way changed hands.

“That is where we rely on the FIA to do their job. They have all the access and we will be relying on them heavily to ensure that no Red Bull IP has found its way into that car.”

While Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll says the team worked “flat out” to get it to the track and didn’t see the Red Bull in pre-season testing and copy it.

“We designed two cars over the winter, we tried the first one and now we’re trying this one. The first one wasn’t as competitive as we wanted it to be, and now we’re trying this car,” Stroll told Sky.

When asked about the similarities between the two cars, Stroll said “Well one is green and one is blue”.

“We have Dan that came from Red Bull, but he joined us last month and there’s no chance that this could have been done in a month. It was over the last many months that this was planned and developed and designed, and hopefully, it brings laptime.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks