Sport Car

Spanish GP: Aston Martin’s ‘Red Bull lookalike’ car cleared after FIA investigation into upgrades

Red Bull accused Aston Martin of copying their car as upgraded AMR22 debuts in Barcelona; Car had been dubbed a ‘green Red Bull’ but FIA – while noting similarities – absolve Aston Martin of wrongdoing; Watch Spanish GP live on Sky Sports F1

Last Updated: 20/05/22 3:06pm

Sky F1's Ted Kravitz comments on accusations that Aston Martin have developed a 'green Red Bull' car.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz comments on accusations that Aston Martin have developed a ‘green Red Bull’ car.

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz comments on accusations that Aston Martin have developed a ‘green Red Bull’ car.

Aston Martin have been cleared to use their new-look car despite its similarities to Red Bull’s after an FIA investigation confirmed there had been “no wrongdoing” and that the upgrades were “compliant”.

Many teams have brought major upgrades to the Spanish GP but Aston Martin’s significantly different AMR22 has stood out because of its several similar features to the Red Bull, which is currently F1’s fastest car.

F1 has been keen to stamp out ‘copycat’ attempts in recent years, and Aston Martin, formerly known as Racing Point, were actually penalised back in 2020 for a car dubbed a ‘Pink Mercedes’.

With the new car nicknamed a ‘green Red Bull’ this week, Red Bull had been questioning the updates.

But Aston Martin had been insistent that they designed the car over the winter, and the FIA confirmed the car passed a a ‘pre-event legality check’ in Barcelona.

“During this [legality check], it became apparent that a number of features on the Aston Martin resembled those of another competitor,” read a statement from F1’s governing body.

“The FIA therefore launched an investigation to check compliance with Article 17.3 of the Technical Regulations, and in particular the topic of ‘Reverse Engineering’ and potential illicit IP transfer.

“Both teams collaborated fully with the FIA in this investigation and provided all the relevant information.

“The investigation, which involved CAD checks and a detailed analysis of the development process adopted by Aston Martin, confirmed that no wrongdoing had been committed, and therefore the FIA considers that the Aston Martin aerodynamic upgrades are compliant.”

The FIA said Article 17.3 “specifically defines and prohibits ‘Reverse Engineering’, i.e. the digital process of converting photographs (or other data) to CAD models, and prohibits IP transfer between teams, but equally, this Article permits car designs getting 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 requirements.”

Red Bull respond to FIA statement, Horner on ‘copying’

In their own statement, Red Bull say they “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’,” the team said.

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

Aston Martin's new team principal Mike Krack has described their development process as 'transparent' following accusations they've copied Red Bull's car design.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Aston Martin’s new team principal Mike Krack has described their development process as ‘transparent’ following accusations they’ve copied Red Bull’s car design.

Aston Martin’s new team principal Mike Krack has described their development process as ‘transparent’ following accusations they’ve copied Red Bull’s car design.

Before the FIA released their statement, Red Bull boss Christian Horner had accused Aston Martin of “copying” their car.

“Copying is the biggest form of flattery,” Horner told the BBC. “It’s quite a thing to instruct your team to come up with a very close-looking clone of our car.”

Horner, who cheekily had green cans of Red Bull next to him on the pit-wall in first practice, also pointed out that Aston Martin have recently hired several ex-Red Bull staff.

One of them is Dan Fallows, formerly head of aero at Red Bull and now technical director at Aston Martin. However, he only officially joined the team in early April.

Sky F1's Ted Kravitz reports on what upgrades Mercedes and the other teams will be bringing to their cars ahead of this weekend's Spanish GP.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz reports on what upgrades Mercedes and the other teams will be bringing to their cars ahead of this weekend’s Spanish GP.

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz reports on what upgrades Mercedes and the other teams will be bringing to their cars ahead of this weekend’s Spanish GP.

Aston Martin say their car was a result of “legitimate independent work”, while Lance Stroll spoke to Sky Sports F1 earlier about the AMR22.

“I’ve heard some people say that [it looks similar to the Red Bull], but we really did our job back at the factory,” Stroll said.

“We designed it over the winter and we brought it to the track this weekend.

“It wasn’t easy to bring it here, it’s been flat out for the last few months to get all the bits…but hopefully it brings improvement.

“We designed two cars over the winter. We tried the first one and now we’re trying this one.”

Explaining the Aston Martin controversy

Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz

“Many were calling it a Red Bull lookalike Aston Martin

“Red Bull were questioning because there has been some movement from some people from Red Bull to Aston Martin over the winter and over the last few months and there were some questions from Red Bull over whether those people had taken any data with them.

“Of course that would be breaking their contract with leaving Red Bull.

“That is hotly denied by Aston Martin and they say they have shared the detail of their latest update with the FIA and all their people.

“The FIA have been to the factory at Silverstone to look at the data and all of the processes used to create this new update package which looks like the Red Bull and the FIA have confirmed to Aston Martin, in writing, that their new update has been generated as a result of legitimate, independent work by Aston Martin themselves within the technical regulations.”

Related Articles

Back to top button