Red Bull begin leak investigation as Aston Martin plead innocence in sidepod debate

Red Bull have begun an internal investigation to ascertain whether there has been a leak of intellectual property that has led to Aston Martin’s new sidepod design, though the team in green has denied any such information was received by them.

The Spanish Grand Prix weekend always attracts interest around car updates, with every team bar Haas bringing new parts to bolt onto their machines this time around.

This year’s race carries extra intrigue, too, given the new era of cars and high development rate, with us now having a good idea of whose designs have done well and whose needed some work from the first quarter of the campaign.

Among the changes on show here in Barcelona this weekend, Aston Martin revealed an overhauled sidepod design, which left some wondering whether it was too similar to Red Bull’s for it to be just a coincidence.

Indeed, some have wondered whether foul play is at work but the FIA has cleared Aston Martin for the design, and said that there’s no flouting of copying rules in this instance.

Even so, the debate isn’t going away in Barcelona and on Saturday morning, in the Teams’ press conference, Aston Martin’s Andy Green and then Red Bull’s Pierre Wache later on were asked about the controvesy.

On Aston’s side, Green protested the team’s innocence and explained that this design had actually been in the pipeline since last year, but they had just opted to go with a different concept to begin this campaign:

“I don’t know what these accusations are that Red Bull are talking about.

“All I can say is that at no stage did we ever receive any data from any team or anyone.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MAY 20: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 20, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“This car was conceived in the middle of last year as a dual route with the launch car, and the majority of the releases were made before anybody from Red Bull even turned up [to join Aston Martin.]”

As for Wache, he revealed that Red Bull would now be conducting an internal investigation into any potential leak between the teams, whilst accepting the FIA’s ruling on the matter.

“For us, the main aspect was to be sure that it was done within the rules,” Wache said.

“The FIA checked, and it looks like [it was copied]. We on our side now are to check that we don’t have any IP leak. That is the main asset of the team. We want to make sure of that, that is what we are investigating at the moment.”

This may well not be the end of the matter but ultimately the FIA has found nothing wrong with the Aston and the Silverstone team feels it has worked completely within the guidelines.

It remains to be seen what comes of Red Bull’s investigation, meanwhile.

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