It just wouldn’t be a Formula 1 season without some kind of inter-team spat. And while Ferrari and Red Bull have been bickering over each other’s spending habits in the cost-cap era, Aston Martin has been quietly readying an updated car that is bound to kick off some fresh drama.
When the first practice session got under way in Barcelona this morning, Aston Martin wheeled out an updated car that shocked onlookers. Shocked, because the new racer looks nothing like the car Aston showed at the beginning of the 2022 season, and instead bears a striking resemblance to one of the fastest cars on the grid: This year’s Red Bull.
It’s a design that many onlookers are familiar with, as it’s awfully similar to that of the Red Bull driven by Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.
There’s no surprise that Aston Martin was going to updates its car in Barcelona. The team launched its season with lofty ambitions as it sought to make the most of the rule change in 2022. But so far, Aston has only managed to score six points across the first five races.
Red Bull, on the other hand, sits second in the standings and has taken three wins so far. So if you were going to copy one car on the grid, Red Bull’s wouldn’t be a bad one to pick.
And the likeness hasn’t gone unnoticed by the energy drink firm. During first practice in Spain, team members — including Christian Horner — sat on the pit wall drinking cans of lime-flavored Red Bull in an apparent nod to the Aston Martin’s new nickname: the Green Red Bull.
The other juicy little nugget here has to do with the people who designed the new car. And that’s because Aston Martin recently appointed Red Bull’s former head of aerodynamics, Dan Fallows, to the position of technical director.
Fallows joined the team in April after leaving the reigning champions at the start of this year.
Despite this crossover in talent, and the undeniable similarities between the two cars, F1’s governing body has cleared Aston Martin of any allegations of wrongdoing.
According to Motorsport.com, during a “routine pre-event legality check” of the updated Aston Martin car, “it became apparent that a number of features on the Aston Martin resembled those of another Competitor.”
As a result, the FIA carried out a thorough analysis of the updated car before releasing a statement that said it had found “no wrongdoing.”
But this isn’t the first time the Aston Martin squad has been caught up in a similar spat. In 2020, when the team was in its former life as Racing Point, it was accused of copying the championship-winning Mercedes car of the previous year.
In that case, the team was found to have copied elements of the Mercedes W10 racer and was subsequently fined. But, the team was ultimately allowed to continue fielding the car, which was dubbed the Pink Mercedes by racing fans.
That year, we were all treated to a Bond villain-style rant about the proceeding from Aston Martin boss Lawrence Stroll. Here’s hoping we get another one of those one day soon!