Red Bull opens internal investigation into suspected Aston Martin data leak
By Mat Coch
Saturday 21st May, 2022 - 8:28pm
Red Bull is conducting its own internal investigation into whether it has a leak following the FIA’s declaration that the Aston Martin sidepod design is legal.
The F1 paddock in Spain was awash with suggestions the Silverstone team had copied, or even stolen, its upgraded sidepod design from its Milton Keynes rivals.
Noting the similarities, the FIA conducted an investigation into the process Aston Martin used to arrive at the design which shares more than a passing resemblance to those on the RB18.
That cleared Aston Martin of any wrongdoing, and while Red Bull has stated it is happy to take the governing body’s word, it has also triggered its own internal process to determine whether any of its intellectual property has been stolen.
Concerns stem from that fact a number of technical staff from Red Bull have joined Aston Martin, with questions surrounding the timing of the AMR22’s updates appearing on track and those personnel starting with the team.
“I was surprised, quite surprised, to see a copy [of our sidepods],” said Pierre Wache, Red Bull’s technical director.
“I feel quite satisfied they copied us, to be honest, means we didn’t do a so bad job.”
Rules introduced into F1 now prevent teams reverse engineering rivals’ designs, while outright copying by use of their intellectual property is also banned.
They are, however, allowed to draw inspiration from one another, though Aston Martin argues that is not what happened in this instance, and it was one of two concepts it arrived at independently in 2021.
“I think for us, the main aspect was to be sure that it was done in the rules. FIA checked and it looks like [it is],” Wache said of the FIA finding the design process to be above board.
“We have, on our side, now to check if we don’t have any IP leak.
“That is a main asset of the team, we want to make sure of that. That is what we are investigating at the moment.
“But as a personal and engineering aspect, it was quite satisfying that some other team copied us. Means our concept is not so bad.”
As Red Bull works through its internal investigation, Wache warned that it may not be the end of the saga.
“We will for sure inform the FIA [if we find a leak], that in the rules is clear: that IP transfer could not happen,” Wache said.
“I think clearly the FIA will be part of the process if we find something, for sure.”
From the other side of the fence, Aston Martin chief technical officer Andy Green believes the matter is now closed but equally has nothing to hide should the FIA want another look.
“We expect it to this this to be the end,” he said.
“But we if the FIA want to come back in again and do further investigations where we’re more than happy for them to do so.
“We’ve been completely open and honest with them through the whole process, we’ve given them every access that they’ve requested.
“If they want to come back and do some more than that, I’m more than happy for that to happen.”