Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hinted that the Austrian F1 outfit are looking into Aston Martin’s new car design, which looks similar to their own.
The FIA have - for now - given the greenlight to Aston Martin, with suggestions that they had broken rules by copying the Red Bull design.
Horner spoke to Sky Sports over the controversy, suggesting he wanted further investigation on his own side, and hinted that he believes that the governing body, the FIA, should do more.
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“Imitation is the biggest form of flattery and it’s no coincidence that 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,” he began.
“It was brought to our attention by the FIA earlier in the week, who said: ‘We’ve got a car that looks remarkably like yours. Can we have a list of your leavers to see where they went.’
“That immediately raises alarm bells. What is permissible is individuals move from team to team. What they take in their head, that's fair game, that’s their knowledge. What isn’t fair and is totally unacceptable is if there has been any transfer of IP [intellectual [property].”
Horner gave a stern warning over the possible implications should anything illegal have transpired.
“I'm not going to disclose where we are with certain individuals, but it would be an offence - a criminal offence - because IP is a team’s lifeblood,” he stated. “It's what we invest millions of pounds into. It’s not what we’d want to see in our major rivals, or we might as well franchise it. We might as well sell aerodynamics.
“We will have an internal investigation. We have our own software protections, we know exactly what software is looked at and where that software is controlled. But it's the job of the FIA , because they have the access. We’re relying on them to ensure there’s no transfer of IP and no abuse.
“The look of this wasn’t even released until a month ago, so the work on this started way before that.
“You haven’t reversed engineered it from a picture, because it wasn’t on our car.
What we want to ensure and what we have a duty to do is ensure IP has not transferred from one organisation to another.
“In reality it’s the precedent it sets. For the teams that are in that midfield it could have a material effect on them. If any evidence of foul play came to light, it becomes a different issue.”
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