Sebastian Vettel has come to the defence of Aston Martin’s technical director Dan Fallows in reaction to questions raised over the design of the team’s car.
Red Bull raised concerns over how their rivals had managed to produce a car which resembled theirs so closely. Team principal Christian Horner said they would begin an internal investigation to ensure none of their intellectual property could have been leaked.
“What isn’t fair and what is totally unacceptable, which we wouldn’t accept, is if there has been any transfer of IP [intellectual property] at all,” Horner said last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, when the upgrades were first introduced.
Aston Martin has hired a number of staff from Red Bull over the past year, including Fallows, previously head of aerodynamics at the Milton Keynes-based team. He arrived in the last month, but Aston Martin stated that work began on the Catalunya upgrade during 2021.
Horner raised concerns over the possibility information could have gone with a former team member to Aston Martin.
“What is permissible, and we see it up and down the paddock, individuals move from team to team after a garden leave period, what they take in their head, that’s fair game,” he said. “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.”
Vettel said insinuations which had been made about the team’s design were “not fair, especially towards first of all the effort that went in.
“Second, I think on a personal level to Dan Fallows – I don’t think it was fair. Some things that were said I think were not right,” Vettel added.
The four-times world champion worked with Fallows during his six-year spell at Red Bull, which ended in 2014.
“He’s a very good guy,” said Vettel. “I remember him from my time at Red Bull and obviously he’s joined the team, he’s with us now, so I think some of the things that were said are just not right.
“I would like to hear… not an apology, but just you will never hear anything but what I mean is I think some of the things that he said were just not fair.”
Vettel’s team mate Lance Stroll, who is the son of Aston Martin co-owner Lawrence Stroll, praised the work done to ready the upgrade for both cars at the last race.
“We designed the car. The FIA said it was okay and legal, they let us compete. We started designing this car many, many months ago. Parts of it look similar, I guess, to the Red Bull but it was us back at the factory that designed it.
“I think the team did a good job getting all the bits out to Barcelona because it was flat-out for many weeks leading up to the race and very challenging to get all the parts to Barcelona for both cars. So really well done to the whole team, it was an extremely great effort from everyone to do that.”
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