Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023

Horner “flattered” by similarity between Aston Martin and Red Bull designs

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it was “good to see the old car going so well” after Aston Martin emerged as the closest rival to his team in the season-opening race.

Max Verstappen led Sergio Perez in a dominant one-two for Red Bull yesterday. Fernando Alonso took third for Aston Martin, delivering on the potential the team had shown in pre-season testing and practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Aston Martin’s automotive division was previously a title sponsor of Red Bull, before the brand acquired its own Formula 1 team. Last year former Red Bull designer Dan Fallows joined Aston Martin’s F1 operation. At the Spanish Grand Prix the team revealed an updated design with outward similarities to Red Bull’s 2022 car, though the team said work on it began before the RB18 appeared.

Aston Martin’s new AMR23 also resembles Red Bull’s car. The team has made a larger step forward than any of its rivals over the last 12 months, cutting almost two-and-a-half seconds off its lap time in Bahrain.

Interactive: Compare all 10 F1 cars of 2023 side-by-side
Asked yesterday whether Aston Martin’s leap forward made him regret the loss of Fallows, Horner said: “No, because I think we have a wonderful team and everything has to evolve. Nothing stands still.”

“I think that it’s flattering to see the resemblance of that car to ours,” he added. “So it was great to see the three of them on the podium.”

Aston Martin’s progress “demonstrates to all the teams that it’s possible,” said Horner. “They’ve obviously done a good job over the winter.

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“They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery and it’s good to see the old car going so well.”

Perez also referred to the similarity between the two teams’ cars during the post-race press conference, saying it was “nice to see three Red Bull cars on the podium”.

When a journalist addressed a question to “Fernando and the Red Bull drivers” Perez interjected to quip: “We are all Red Bull drivers.”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack declined to respond to Perez’s comments. “We always decided we will not go into any war of words,” he said. “So we’ll leave it there.”

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2023 Bahrain 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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36 comments on “Horner “flattered” by similarity between Aston Martin and Red Bull designs”

  1. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
    6th March 2023, 12:49

    Just wait until Mercedes turns up with a Red Bull style sidepod in a few races time. Toto is in for a torrid time with Christian…

    1. Considering Mercedes has already given up on the current design after one race, and wants to advance the Imola upgrade, who knows how many Red Bull lookalikes will be on the grid by the end of the season.

      1. MB’s no-sidepod design generates no downforce whereas RB’s deeply undercut sidepods are actually stubby airfoils that produce lots of downforce. It’s shocking that MB stubbornly refused to see this. If Toto is bold then they can add interim airfoil sidepods very quickly and achieve 2 to 3 tenths per lap within 2 to 3 races, then optimize the design over the following 3 to 4 races. This will at least allow them to catch Ferrari.

    2. I must say… the car is a Ferrari clone actually, just look at the side pods!

  2. Good to see Mike Kracks reply…. Just waiting for Alonso to tangle with a RB and Horner will be…. well Horner. Alonso strikes me as someone who will not entertain any bs from RB.

    1. Ah well it’s just banter from Red Bull. They know AM is no threat to them.

    2. Hilarious that a former Pink Mercedes driver came up with that wise crack. I mean Aston still looks like it took a lot from Red Bull, but different enough to accomodate a Mercedes engine…. but its not even close to taking a Mercedes chassis and painting it pink for the 2020 season.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        6th March 2023, 16:10

        @todfod – Yeah absolutely. The 2023 AM is clearly based on the Red Bull concept but it’s also clearly a different car. There are lots of differences whereas if you compare the 2019 Mercedes and the Pink Mercedes, it’s identical.

  3. I understand RedBull engineers being petty about it, after all the cars are fruits of their ingenuity and labour, BUT Perez?! Why the hell would he as a driver stick his nose in there I don’t know.

    1. Does everything have to be so serious? Maybe he was just having fun…….

  4. petebaldwin (@)
    6th March 2023, 13:07

    There’s not really much to say – the majority of the cars look just like the Red Bull now because that’s the obvious thing to do…. Copying Adrian Newey isn’t a spectacularly bold decision to make! Aston Martin did a good job of it and now have a fast car whereas Mercedes decided they knew better than Newey and are now faced with another wasted season.

    Horner and Perez can make quips about it but make no mistake, if Newey was at Mercedes and they’d just blown the field away in 2022, Red Bull would be copying everything they could from it…

  5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th March 2023, 13:15

    It drove like a Red Bull – the way the car was finding lines during the overtakes was eerily reminiscent of Red Bull last year. It did that with a Mercedes and a Ferrari and the difference between the two was immediately highlighted by the Merc’s inability to pass the Ferrari.

    I guess it makes sense that Red Bull feels the same way ;-)

  6. the 2 most competitive cars in this team’s history are copies.

    They are GOOD at that, no doubt. And this very likely will be better than the pink Mercedes as it seems to be a more predictable concept. Pink Mercedes was good but they obviously weren’t able to setup it well on numerous weekends.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      6th March 2023, 15:58

      True but they’re two different situations – the pink Mercedes exactly that whereas this year, they’ve copied Red Bull’s concept but the car itself is clearly quite different. They know how to set this car up because they designed it themselves and understand how it works.

  7. Mark in Florida
    6th March 2023, 14:34

    I’m sure Ross Brawn was flattered when you copied his double diffuser design. Oh wait you forgot didn’t you!
    Everybody copies each other endlessly. If it works, they are going to copy it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery Christian.

    1. Yes, that is exactly what he said.

  8. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    6th March 2023, 15:10

    At some point Fernando is going school Perez in driving skill and then we will see how much of a smile is on Perez’s face.

    1. The joke will be on Checo when Lance beats him.

      1. Coventry Climax
        6th March 2023, 15:51

        You mean like Lance beat Alonso in the opening laps?
        He was very close to being the joker of the pack once again, and very lucky that Ocon so persistently claimed that title this time.

        1. Thats a bit unfair, the man was nursing broken wrists and a broken toe in a car he’d not driven before.
          Not saying he’s Alonso-class, but he’s not the worst driver on the grid by any stretch.

          1. Coventry Climax
            6th March 2023, 18:19

            There’s absolutely nothing unfair about it.
            First of all, the decision to brake -early or late- is made in the mind, not by the wrists or toes.
            Secondly, he himself made the decision to drive and declare himself fit and capable, even saying the toe did not hamper him in any way.
            Now, there’s lot’s more I can say about his mind and capability, but I won’t.

            I will say something though, about the people that declared him fit to drive after such a short recovery time, and that too has to do with their minds and judgement. Or a bit of money by Stroll Sr. perhaps?

        2. That was way too close to disaster… but apart from last year’s anonymous rubbish he’s usually been good for an occasional podium appearance, even with Williams. Might coincide with Perez going off the boil.

  9. You can’t beat the best by just copying them. It stinks just like pink Mercedes but of course it is good for Aston Martin as still brand newbie racing team, a win, a pole and more podiums are highly predictable.

    1. You can spend your whole life searching the universe for the next good idea and fail every single time. Technical developments that work well are copied, everywhere, in every single environment. It’s just the reasonable thing to do.

      Sticking to F1, everyone saw the benefits of carbon fibre, everyone saw the benefits of the turbos, ground effect, active suspensions, pneumatic valves, F-ducts, blown diffusers, and so on… every single thing spread out to the whole field like a virus…

      People that complain about teams copying others don’t understand a thing, honestly.

    2. I think Merc could. They have the resources that the Pink Mercs didn’t have. Merc’s problem is that they seem to have kept their concept because they are trying not to copy anyone else. This year would have been good to have a good copy while looking for the next thing.

  10. People that know what they’re talking about don’t actually think the car is a copy of the RB. Look at some of the reviews for when the AMR23 was launched, there are many differences between it and all the other cars. Armchair fans commenting that it’s just a copy shows how little they know.

  11. Aren’t Red Bull such a delightful team!

  12. The Aston was better on the braking and traction than even the Red Bull, see the published GPS data traces, so they didn’t copy that. That car will be strong in Baku, Monaco, Hungary and Singapore.

    1. Doubt they’ll be special in Baku as their straight line speed is a major weakness.. but you’re probably right about Monaco and Singapore. Their aero isn’t strong enough for tracks like Hungary and Britain yet.

  13. if they bark it means we are walking in the right direction.

    1. Cows don’t bark, they moo.

  14. Horner is angry because, after the race, his drivers went with Alonso to the press conference and 11 out of 13 questions were directed at Alonso.
    And the 12 was for “Alonso and the other two”!!

  15. The Dolphins
    7th March 2023, 5:22

    Besides the fact that it’s not at all like the Red Bull I think they’ve got a point

  16. Can’t wait for Alonso to school Perez in ‘last year’s car’ . Would love to see the look on Perez’s face. It’s going to happen for sure this season.

  17. How about Dr Marko’s accusations from last year against his former personnel that went to Aston Martin. What about the evidence he spoke about? Has there been any follow up on that? That, mister Horner, is called defamation en there is nothing funny about that.The only team caught cheating in recent history is Oracle Catering.

  18. It is striking though that RB’s secret about cars can be copied after all. I guess all teams tried that though, AM even copying the Mercedes entirely without being able to replicate its performance.

    I guess there will now be a war on engineers, everyone willing to offer large amounts of money to lure RB engineers.

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