The Aston Martin team has had a major update on the car for the Spanish Grand Prix, including completely revised sidepods. They look a lot like the sidepods on Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. The Dutchman’s team therefore complained to the FIA, but according to the enforcer, the British team operates within the rules.
The FIA looked at the drawings of the sidepods, among other things, and came to the conclusion that there are enough differences with those on the Red Bull. It is therefore a proprietary design, which is “highly inspired by that of a competitor”. And that is allowed, according to the rules.
The sidepods house, among other things, the cooling of the engine. They play a vital role in the aerodynamic performance of the car. Aston Martin started the season with a different design, but due to poor performance has switched to the form that Red Bull has on the car.
Red Bull said in a reaction that it had received the findings of the FIA with “interest”. Verstappen’s racing stable calls “imitation the best form of flattery”. The team would be concerned if it turns out that Aston Martin actually had important information about Red Bull’s sidepods. However, there is no evidence for this.
Aerodynamics chief switched from Red Bull to Aston Martin
That Aston Martin is copying parts from Red Bull is especially salient as head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows moved to the team this winter. He was employed by Red Bull the previous years.
Aston Martin, previously known as Racing Point, already has a reputation for copying behaviour. In 2020 the team appeared at the start with a complete copy of the 2019 Mercedes. That car was then jokingly called the ‘pink Mercedes’. The team also got away with that stunt.
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