FIA clears Aston over Red Bull F1 similarities after investigation

The FIA has cleared Aston Martin after carrying out an investigation into the similarities between its updated Formula 1 car and Red Bull’s car ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

FIA clears Aston over Red Bull F1 similarities after investigation
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Aston Martin debuted a number of upgrades for its AMR22 F1 car on Friday in opening practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, including changes to its sidepod, floor, halo and rear wing.

But the similarities between the updated Aston Martin and Red Bull’s RB18 car were quickly noted, leading to the design being dubbed a ‘green Red Bull’.

It is not the first time the Silverstone-based team has seen similarities be drawn between its car and another design. In 2020, the Racing Point car was known as a ‘Pink Mercedes’ after being based off the 2019 title-winning car.

The FIA clamped down on reverse engineering car designs in the wake of the Pink Mercedes case, and revealed in Barcelona on Friday that it did look into the updated Aston Martin car.

F1’s governing body said that during a “routine pre-event legality check” of the planned Aston Martin updates, “it became apparent that a number of features on the Aston Martin resembled those of another Competitor”.

This led to an investigation of the car to confirm compliance with Article 17.3 of the technical regulations, relating to reverse engineering and "potential illicit IP transfer”.

Through the investigation, the FIA found that Aston Martin had complied with the regulations through its process, making the new updates legal.

“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 statement from the FIA reads.

“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.”

A spokesperson from Aston Martin said: “We have shared details of our update with the FIA technical people. Having analysed the data and the processes used to create the update, the FIA has now confirmed in writing that our update was generated as a result of legitimate independent work in accordance with the technical regulations.”

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