(GMM) Red Bull is preparing to go to war with Aston Martin over what Dr Helmut Marko describes as an “incredible copy” of the energy drink company’s 2022 car.
“We will look into the matter in detail,” Marko told Sky Deutschland, after free practice in Barcelona where Red Bull officials drank from green Red Bull cans on the pit wall.
The ‘green Red Bull’ on their minds is Aston Martin’s much-anticipated ‘B’ car, whose wraps were pulled off in Barcelona after an uncompetitive start for the Silverstone-based team.
Sky Deutschland even asked Sebastian Vettel what it felt like to be driving a Red Bull once again.
“There are always similarities between the cars,” the quadruple world champion said.
“We reserved the opportunity to design the car differently from the start. Both concepts were in mind in the winter; otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible.
“We kept the door open for that.”
Vettel’s former boss Marko, however, was not shy to reveal his own feelings from Red Bull’s perspective.
“We now have to clarify how this incredible copy came about,” said the 78-year-old team official.
“There is evidence that data was downloaded.”
Apart from the obvious visual similarities between the cars, Aston Martin poached several employees from Red Bull last year, including key Aerodynamicist Dan Fallows.
Marko says Fallows was wooed by a “disproportionate fee”, adding: “The sums were are talking about are incomprehensible.”
Upon being notified in advance about the Aston Martin upgrades, the FIA headed to Silverstone earlier this week to check the team owned all intellectual property.
“It was brought to our attention actually by the FIA earlier this week,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner confirmed. “They said ‘There is a car that looks remarkably like your car’.
“It isn’t fair and in fact it’s totally unacceptable if there has been any transfer of IP. It would be a criminal offense because IP is a team’s lifeblood, it’s what we invest millions of pounds into,” he added.
Aston Martin were reportedly able to prove to the FIA that everything is above board based on CAD data and last year’s wind tunnel model.
Lance Stroll, the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll, says Aston Martin always planned to scrap the initial 2022 car if it proved uncompetitive.
“I’ve heard what people are saying,” said the Canadian driver. “But we worked so hard over the winter to design two cars.
“First we tried one, now the other.”
Stroll also defended Fallows from any wrongdoing, insisting he only started work at Aston Martin last month.
“So there’s no way he’s behind this,” said the 23-year-old. “It’s not possible to do what we’ve done in a month.”