FIA satisfied B-spec Aston Martin is legal despite Red Bull similarities

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The FIA is satisfied the new B-spec Aston Martin does not break any regulations despite its striking Red Bull resemblance.

Almost every Formula 1 team has brought significant upgrades for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, with Haas and AlphaTauri the only exceptions.

But on Thursday, Aston Martin grabbed the attention of the paddock when its revised car was seen in the pit lane sporting sidepods and other parts that look almost identical to the Red Bull.

Given the Silverstone-based outfit is the same one that created the so-called 'Pink Mercedes' in 2020, it immediately led to questions about how Aston has appeared to have now done the same with this year's RB18.

And now, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport confirms the FIA, who already had prior knowledge of the upgrade, sent officials to the team's factory this week to investigate.

The concern was whether any information regarding Red Bull's 2022 car had been illegally passed on by former employees who now work at Aston Martin.

Among them is the former Red Bull head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows, who recently joined Aston Martin as technical director. Although his arrival only last month means he will have had no influence on this latest upgrade.

However, the governing body discovered that the Barcelona-spec car was a second design route that Aston has been exploring since November last year, and has been developing ever since it became clear the A-spec concept wasn't working as intended.

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“We went low and hard [with the original design]. In our simulations, this rewarded us again and again,” said chief technical officer Andrew Green.

“The car got better with each step. We could see the goal, so it seemed the right way to go. None of our tests suggested that it would give us a problem with the instability of the car.

“Other teams that have gone our way now have big problems because our car concept loses massive amounts of lap time when it falls out of that window of car height that it was designed for.

“The problem was only identified when the cars went out on track. Now we’re all trying to get back out of the trap in reverse."

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Another clear reason that proves the B-spec AMR22 isn't a simple RB18 copy is the internal redesign, including new placements of the radiators.

"The chassis had to be built to accommodate two different cooling systems. If we hadn't done that, it would have been impossible to switch to the new sidepod geometry," Green added.

“It’s not a job that gets done overnight. It’s a complex process because you have to leave your development concept and go a different way.

"By now we have all realised that this phenomenon is a legacy of these rules. Some have managed it well, others not so much. We belong to that group at the moment.”

Aston Martin made the bold decision to change concepts after Jeddah, allowing them the time to create enough parts to give both drivers the upgraded car for Spain.