When Red Bull’s Helmut Marko said that it was good to see “three Red Bulls on the podium” after the season-opening Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, it was easy to see the headlines coming. Sergio Perez made a similar remark during the post-race press conference in front of Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso. Now, it’s team principal Christian Horner who is acknowledging the resemblance between the Astons and the Bulls.
“They have obviously done a good job over the winter, and they say imitation is the biggest form of flattery and it is good to see the old car going so well!” Horner told the media, according to Motorsport.com.
“I think the operating windows of these cars is very narrow and every team in the top three looks like it has developed its own theme. One team has adopted our theme and it made a gain, so I guess at one point it is going to converge and that can happen during a season,” added Horner.
In case you’re wondering why Red Bull is being so open with its remarks, it all stems from having one of its key team members poached by Aston Martin over the winter. Former Red Bull head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows left Milton Keynes at the end of 2022 and walked down to Silverstone to set up shop for 2023.
While Fallows surely has to abide by an incredibly tight confidentiality agreement with Red Bull, it certainly won’t stop him from working his magic in ways that don’t get him thrown in jail.
“Everything has to evolve, nothing stands still,” said Horner in regard to Fallows’ involvement. “I think it is flattering to see the resemblance of that car to ours, so it was great to see the three of them on the podium.”
Don’t let the cheeky comments fool you for a second, because Horner and Red Bull’s legal team will act in an instant should they believe the team’s intellectual property has been infringed. It’ll then be up to Aston Martin to prove that their newfound performance is the result of many more improvements and not just Fallows’ hiring.
Of course, there’s also a chance that Alonso and Lance Stroll’s Bahrain performance was a fluke, and they get back to Aston’s mid-field ways as the season progresses. Sounds unlikely, but it’s possible. Should they continue to dominate, however, it’s very likely that Red Bull will stop being less playful about this whole thing.
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