Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was not best pleased about the upgraded Aston Martin car design when he spoke to Sky F1 on Friday.
Aston Martin raised eyebrows with their updated AMR22B at the Spanish Grand Prix, with the side of their car looking particularly similar to Red Bull's 2022 challenger.
With Red Bull team personnel having moved to Aston Martin over the winter, suspicions are high at Red Bull that Aston Martin have copied their 2022 design - and Horner said that their suspicions could even go as far as "criminal offences".
F1: Christian Horner says "alarm bells" are ringing about Aston Martin
The Spanish Grand Prix is traditionally a race where teams will introduce their first major upgrade packages of the year. Aston Martin have long hinted that they would bring a completely new car to the Barcelona track, and that's what they did on Thursday.
When the car was uncovered, however, F1 punters were quick to notice that the ridged sidepod design, as well as plenty of other aerodynamic elements, bore more than a slight similarity to Red Bull's car design.
We've had the Pink Mercedes, now have we got the Green Red Bull 👀 pic.twitter.com/SJ4SbPbtfX
— WTF1 (@wtf1official) May 19, 2022
Red Bull appeared to be seriously unhappy with the updated Aston Martin design, and Christian Horner slammed what many have called the 'Green Red Bull' in an interview with Sky Sports on Friday afternoon.
Dan Fallows, who was previously head of aerodynamics at Red Bull, recently became technical director at Aston Martin, and Horner hinted that the team are concerned some data may have been brought from Red Bull.
Imitation is the biggest form of flattery at the end of the day. It's no coincidence that we have had a few individuals that have transferred from Red Bull to Aston Martin in the winter and the early part of this season.
It was brought to our attention by the FIA earlier in the week - they 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...individuals move from team to team after a garden leave period. What they take in their head, that's fair game, that's their knowledge. What isn't fair, and what is totally unacceptable, is if there has been any transfer of IP [intellectual property] at all.
I'm not gonna disclose exactly where we are with certain individuals, but it would be a criminal offence. IP is a team's life blood, it's what we invest millions and millions of pounds into, you wouldn't want to see that turning up in a rival organisation. Otherwise, we may as well franchise it and be able to sell aerodynamics.
"Imitation is the biggest form of flattery at the end of the day"
Christian Horner shares his thoughts on the similarities on the Aston Martin and the Red Bull and says there will be an "internal investigation" into the matter 👇 pic.twitter.com/F11do6UaJE
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) May 20, 2022
Horner did not hold back, and the accusations of criminal activity obviously have huge implications for the F1 sphere.
This is not the first time the team based at Silverstone have been accused of copying another team's designs. In Aston Martin's previous guise of Racing Point, the team were penalised 15 points after they were found guilty of copying the brake ducts from Mercedes' 2019 car. The points deduction would ultimately cost them third place in the championship.
The team have struggled since the transition to running under the Aston Martin name and, regardless of their legality, the upgrades didn't exactly work in Saturday's qualifying. Aston Martin drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll could only manage 16th and 18th respectively.
After the poor performance of the Aston Martins on Saturday, Red Bull appear to have had the last laugh this weekend. Christian Horner and the other members of the Red Bull pit wall were seen drinking green cans of Red Bull during Friday practice - seemingly a jab at their Silverstone-based rivals.
Time will tell if Aston Martin face legal action for their upgrades - or if the upgrades even work at all.