Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Aston Martin were “surprised” Red Bull produced similar car design

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Aston Martin say Red Bull’s claims they copied the design of the RB18 for the upgrade they introduced this weekend are “very wide of the mark”.

A heavily upgraded Aston Martin appeared at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. Parts of its bodywork bear a strong resemblance to Red Bull’s car.

Aston Martin’s technical director Andrew Green said the team chose to develop two versions of its 2022 car in parallel. The upgrades seen for the first time this weekend were in progress before Red Bull revealed its 2022 design, said Green.

“The weaknesses of the launch car were quite apparent even before we’d launched it,” he explained. “And then after launching it and running the issues were compounded by additional problems that we encountered on-track.

“We tried as much as we could in the time we had to try and resolve them but it was very much a dead end. I think our set-up options for the launch car were very, very limited. So, we’re hoping that this change will allow us some greater set-up freedom.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2022
Red Bull believe Aston Martin copied their car
He said the team were surprised to discover Red Bull had produced a concept along similar lines to what they were already developing.

“If you look at the development of the car that is sitting out there right now you’ll see that this has all happened towards the end of last year. Before we’d seen anybody we were on a dual path.

“It came as a shock, a surprise that Red Bull came out with a similar concept, as well. But I think that just reinforced our feeling at the time that of the two paths that that we had open to us, we’d gone the wrong way. And I think that was confirmation of that.”

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said on Friday they will conduct an internal investigation into whether information from their team could have arrived at Aston Martin. He said it is down to the FIA to ensure no such information passed between the two teams.

“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,” said Horner. “So it’s very much their job to go and police that.”

However Green pointed out the FIA had already visited his team’s factory and verified they had designed their update themselves.

“I don’t know what these accusations are that Red Bull are kicking about,” said Green. “All I can say is that at no stage did we were receive any data from anyone.”

“The FIA came in and did a thorough investigation, examined all the data in the history of this car, they interviewed all the people involved and concluded that it was completely independent development.

“And to that point, where you’re talking about potential in employees, this car was conceived in the middle of last year, as a dual route with the launch car and 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.”

Following the FIA’s approval, Green does not believe the matter will go any further. “We expect this to be the end,” he said. “But if the FIA want to come back in again and do further investigations, we’re more than happy for them to do so.

“We’ve been completely open and honest with them through the whole process. We’ve given them every access that they’ve requested. So if they want to come back and do some more than that, I’m more than happy for that to happen.”

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2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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22 comments on “Aston Martin were “surprised” Red Bull produced similar car design”

  1. Aston Martin are still “surprised” that Mercedes came up with such a similar design to their car a couple of years ago too.

    Sad to think that this used to be the Jordan F1 that so many of us knew and respected for their ethic and personality as an F1 team – mostly on a relatively tiny budget. They are now known more for producing mediocre copies of their rivals’ cars, and being more than a little bit nepotistic with their driver selection.

    1. FIA verified it this time though. And last time the only thing they did wrong based on rules of the time was using Mercedes’ brakes which was a new rule that passed that season.

      1. Oh sure – but they aren’t going to win races (or supporters) by copying everyone else.
        They have no identity of their own.

    2. Ah S, again with the terrible comments. Did you even read the article? Or perhaps you are one of those people who digs their heels in harder when continually presented with evidence contrary to their own bias.

      1. This may come as a surprise, but I’m not writing comments here just to try and impress you.

        Yes, I did read the article.
        Of course the team are going to defend their copying, even to the extent of fabricating evidence if they have to – it’s not hard to change the date on a PC to alter the dates on every file.
        All teams in F1 copy each other. One just repeatedly does it more blatantly than the others.

        Question for you – what is my bias?

        1. This may come as a surprise, but I’m not writing comments here just to try and impress you.

          Not surprised, but definitely impressed by the obtuseness.

          Of course the team are going to defend their copying, even to the extent of fabricating evidence if they have to – it’s not hard to change the date on a PC to alter the dates on every file.

          And the heels dig in.

          Question for you – what is my bias?

          At this point, it seems to be a bias against all logic and reason.

    3. No, Aston Martin cheerfully admitted they took a lot of pictures of the W10, and built a car from them.

      This time, they’re denying it, the FIA confirms no regulations were broken, but Horner, as always, will complain just because he can.

      Frankly, while the two designs are about 80% similar, that 20% leaves a considerable amount of room– Horner’s just mad that someone else came up with a similar design (which has probably been influenced by the Red Bull).

  2. I think the qualifying performance is absolute proof that they copied the car from Redbull. Although apparently they already copied the car in oktober from information that they got from Redbull personnel that Aston Martin lured away there.

    Why proof? Think back to school. Whenever you copied someone’s work you put something on paper that looked ok, but when quizzed about it you never underestood what it was all about. THAT is EXACTLY what happend yesterday with the Aston Martin cars in qualifying. They don’t know what they are doing with the car they’ve got. Ultimate proof that they stole the design.

    1. Whenever you copied someone’s work you put something on paper that looked ok, but when quizzed about it you never underestood what it was all about.

      That was exactly the case with the pink Mercedes. They kept bragging about their ability to reverse engineer an F1 car from photos alone which was fine according to the rules back then but every expert in F1 and not only rival teams said it was almost impossible to replicate the dynamics too unless some data has found its way from Mercedes to RP.

      When the floor changes came into play 2021, Mercedes and AM with their low rake set up were both affected. Mercedes responded with an upgrade package in Silverstone that resolved all their issues and turned the car into a beast because they have a thorough understanding of their car concept. AM didn’t react the way Mercedes did and didn’t have no clue about how to resolve their issues.

  3. I wonder if its not the other way around, and Redbull’s design was the product of insider information ie derived from Aston Matin? Nothing would surprise me with Redbull.

    1. Seems extremely unlikely for a very simple reason: it would imply that Aston Martin first came up with a great design but decided it was no good, scratched it, and went for a bad design they kept investeding in for several months just to come back the original one in a matter of a week. This just doesn’t make sense at all.

    2. Yep, that’s exactly why red bull is in top 2 all races and Aston Martin scored a bunch of points

    3. I haven’t heard of personnel from Aston Martin leaving for Red Bull Racing. The other way though …

      And it wouldn’t be hard to get the designs early to Aston Martin, as the person(s) involved were already in contact with Aston Martin before last year. Fallows was supposed to start in January 2021, but this was blocked by Red Bull.

  4. Three words:

    Just sad to see what has become of this once creative, above their weight punching team since the Strolls took over.

    1. @pweb87 umm.. they are actually letters.

  5. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    22nd May 2022, 11:49

    It would be quite amusing if Aston went all gas no brakes on this and claimed that Red Bull copied them.

    1. @barryfromdownunder:
      And then interview Horner right after the moment he finds out AM are suing RBR

  6. Why are all these people so quick to jump into accusations that AM copied the concept from Redbull, after the FIA had already cleared them from any wrongdoing? Why the arrogance to assume that only Redbull could come up with that design? AT doesn’t look too different either.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      22nd May 2022, 12:59

      Because of the pink Mercedes from two years ago

  7. Electroball76
    22nd May 2022, 13:00

    I’m totally surprised that they copied MY design.. (hastily scribbles sketch and adds last year’s date).

  8. It came as a shock, a surprise that Red Bull came out with a similar concept, as well.

    Well you cannot deny the man a sense of humour at least

  9. I see no problem with the design, does looks like the RB but it is nowhere near a copy, it has some elements that sauber have just introduced too down where the sidepod meets the floor, that said Green might be digging himself a hole, Aston might be confirming when they were “received” this information. Let’s say the early version of the rb design looked very much like the aston, rb can now show the fia their early design and match with this claim by Aston and confirm a leak.

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