The FIA says it has investigated Aston Martin as a result of the latest upgrade to a car very similar to the Red Bull design, but found no violations.
Aston Martin has unveiled a heavily revised AMR22 at the Spanish Grand Prix, with a side-by-side and rear-end body design that is different from the previous concept and very similar to Red Rull’s RB18. One CTO told RACER that it was “unpleasant” to see such an update, and pointed to the recruitment of several Red Bull employees recently – including former head of aerodynamics Dan Fellows – but the FIA says it has already considered any potential violations. and cleared the Aston Martin.
“The FIA has conducted a routine check of the legality of the planned aerodynamic modernization of the Aston Martin team for the Spanish Grand Prix in Formula 1 in 2022,” – said in a statement the governing body. “During this process, it became clear that a number of features on the Aston Martin resembled the characteristics of another competitor. The FIA has therefore launched an investigation to verify compliance with Article 17.3 of the Technical Regulations, and in particular on the topic of “Reverse Engineering” and potential illegal IP transfers.
“Both teams fully cooperated with the FIA in this investigation and provided all relevant information. The investigation, which included a CAD check and a detailed analysis of the development process by Aston Martin, confirmed that there were no violations, and therefore the FIA believes that the aerodynamic upgrades of Aston Martin meet the requirements.
Article 17.3 specifically defines and prohibits “reverse engineering”, i.e. the digital process of converting photos (or other data) into a CAD model, and prohibits IP transfer between teams, but equally this article allows car design to influence the design of competitors, as has always been the case in Formula One. In our analysis, we confirmed that the processes followed by Aston Martin met the requirements of this article. “
Red Bull team leader Christian Horner told the BBC he could accept the copy until any former employee took the Red Bull intellectual property with him.
“Copying is the biggest form of flattery,” Horner said. “It’s quite a matter of instructing your team to come up with a very beautiful clone of our car, and of course a few people have moved over the winter, and what you can’t control is what they take in their heads.
“But what would be a serious concern for us would be if any IP somehow passed from hand to hand. That’s where we rely on the FIA to do its job – they investigate, they have all the access, and we will rely on them to ensure that no Red Bull IP address is found in this machine. “