Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed his team will conduct an internal investigation to make sure no intellectual property has been stolen, as Aston Martin debuted a revised AMR22 strikingly similar to the RB18.
The FIA may have cleared Aston Martin of any wrongdoing as they presented their Green Bull to the public in Barcelona ahead of the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix, but Christian Horner is still concerned that his team’s intellectual property has been violated.
Horner was speaking to Sky Sports F1 after practice in Barcelona on Friday, in the context of the numerous transfer of personnel who moved from Red Bull to Aston Martin, with aerodynamics guru Dan Fallows being the one of the most high profile moves.
Horner said: “Imitation is the biggest form of flattery at the end of the day. And it’s no coincidence we’ve had a few individuals who have transferred from Red Bull to Aston Martin over the winter and the early part of this season.
“It was actually brought to our attention by the FIA earlier in the week when they said, ‘We’ve got a car which looks remarkably like yours, can we have a list of your leavers to see where they went?’,” he revealed.
“Of course, that immediately raises alarm bells,” Horner admitted, adding: “We will have an internal investigation.
“We’ve got our own software protections, we know exactly where our software is looked at and where it is controlled.”
IP transfer totally unacceptable
The Red Bull boss called on the FIA to keep these matters in check and said: “It’s the job of the regulator, the FIA, because they have the access and we rely very much on them to ensure there is no transfer of IP (intellectual property) and no abuse of that.
“We see it up and down the paddock individuals move from team to team after a gardening leave period. What individuals take in their head, that’s fair game and is their knowledge.
“What isn’t fair and totally unacceptable is if there has been any transfer of IP,” the Briton insisted.
Pushed to reveal whether Red Bull have evidence of intellectual property violation, Horner stated: “I’m not going to disclose exactly where we are with certain individuals, but it would be a criminal offence.
“Ideas are a team’s lifeblood, it’s what we invest millions of pounds into and you wouldn’t want to see that just turning up in a rival organisation,” the 48-year-old mainatained.
On the other hand, Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack described the team’s upgraded car as a “normal development process”, saying: “I think there you have to ask Red Bull if they have a problem.
“We have been clear, we have been transparent, we have been open, and we have been given the green light [by the FIA].
“So from that point of view, we pursue our path, continue developing and try to move up the grid,” Krack insisted.