Aston Martin’s upgraded AMR22 car given all-clear by FIA after investigation into Red Bull similarities
The FIA say Aston Martin’s heavily updated car, which they revealed ahead of Friday practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, is compliant with the rules following an investigation into the similarities between the AMR22 and rivals Red Bull’s RB18.
Billionaire Lawrence Stroll’s British outfit have had a tough start to the season and have scored just six points to leave them ninth of 10 teams in the constructors’ championship.
But they unveiled a new concept at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the AMR22 featuring a new floor, sidepods, engine cover, rear wing and halo.
When the FIA did a routine legality check of the planned upgrade package ahead of the event, they decided to investigate improvements as some parts “resembled those of another competitor” – widely understood to be Red Bull. However, they concluded that there was no breach of the rules, clearing Aston Martin to race the design.
“The FIA carried out a routine pre-event legality check of the planned aerodynamic upgrade of the Aston Martin team for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix,” said the FIA.
“During this process, it became apparent that a number of features on the Aston Martin resembled those of another Competitor. The FIA therefore launched an investigation to check compliance with Article 17.3 of the Technical Regulations, and in particular the topic of ‘Reverse Engineering’ and potential illicit IP transfer.
“Both teams collaborated fully with the FIA in this investigation and provided all the relevant information. The investigation, which involved CAD checks and a detailed analysis of the development process adopted by Aston Martin, confirmed that no wrongdoing had been committed, and therefore the FIA considers that the Aston Martin aerodynamic upgrades are compliant.
“Article 17.3 specifically defines and prohibits ‘Reverse Engineering’, i.e. the digital process of converting photographs (or other data) to CAD models, and prohibits IP transfer between teams, but equally, this Article permits car designs getting influenced by those of competitors, as has always been the case in Formula 1.
“In the analysis we carried out we confirmed that the processes followed by Aston Martin were consistent with this Article’s requirements.”
Shortly after the FIA released the statement, Red Bull responded with one of their own, saying: “Red Bull Racing have noted the FIA’s statement with interest.
“While imitation is the greatest form of flattery, any replication of design would obviously need to comply with the FIA’s rules around ‘Reverse Engineering’. However, should any transfer of IP have taken place that would clearly be a breach of regulations and would be a serious concern.”
Lance Stroll, who along with team mate Sebastian Vettel ran the updates in first practice in Barcelona, said Aston Martin worked on two cars over the winter, and the concept revealed in Spain is the second iteration.
“Over the winter we had two philosophies that we developed,” he said. “We tried the first car in the first part of the season and we haven’t been as competitive as we wanted to be so there was this other philosophy of car that we had on paper and it was a big flat-out push for the whole team to get it here this weekend – design, manufacture it and, you know, get the car to Barcelona.
“So a big thank you to everyone. It was really tough, and you know we are pretty short on spares and all of those things. It was flat-out to get it here this weekend but hopefully it goes a bit better.”