But Mercedes says 50% is its car: PlanetF1

Fernando Alonso is unfazed by Red Bull’s knockoff comments about his AMR23, as he says the differences are clear to see, especially as Mercedes also claims “half” of the car is theirs.

Alonso took to the podium on his Aston Martin debut, the double world champion joining the two Red Bull drivers in Bahrain Grand Prix celebrations.

This led to some jokes from Red Bull about the Aston Martin, a car designed by former Red Bull head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows.

“They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” said team principal Christian Horner, “and it’s good to see the old car doing so well.”

Sergio Perez and Helmut Marko spoke of “three Red Bulls” on the podium, with the latter adding to Sky Deutschland: “There’s a reason for that. Not only Fallows has changed but so have some of the other staff and they obviously have a good memory.”

The 79-year-old questioned the legality of the car, saying that “it is not forbidden to copy the focus, but is it possible to copy it in such detail without having documentation of our car?”

He later backtracked, calling his comments “just funny comments”.

In any case, Alonso is not the least bit perturbed that they are “clearly” different cars.

“I don’t care about the comments one bit,” he told Marca. “I’m not worried except to focus on my team and improve… But you can clearly see that there are differences between the two cars at first glance.”

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Mercedes claims ‘half’ of AMR23

Red Bull isn’t the only team patting the back for the AMR23, with Toto Wolff claiming half of the car after Bahrain.

Speaking after Alonso’s podium, he told the media that the car is “half ours, from the engine, gearbox and rear suspension”. And, he added, it was designed in “the same wind tunnel.”

As Alonso points out, it is not possible to find two contrasting car concepts other than Red Bull and Mercedes.

Asked to expand on his belief about the AMR23 being different, he said: “Visually they are different and an example of that is Mercedes saying 50% of their car is ours. [engine, gearbox and suspension] and Red Bull says 50 percent is theirs… and there can’t be two concepts more different than those two.

“This clearly indicates that neither theory is true.

“We have a different concept of these two cars, although it is true that visually all cars are a bit similar. If you take the black cars, well, Ferrari, Haas and Alfa Romeo are also very similar to each other.”

In fact, in the game of who’s car looks like who, he recognizes his old Alpine team, which took inspiration from Aston Martin.

“I would say the closest car to ours, to be honest, is the Alpine, with the sidepods with those tunnels,” he said.

Downplays expectations ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

One of the most talked about teams after Bahrain, Alonso says it has been good for Aston Martin as people have noticed the work the team has done to get to the podium.

But, he warns, they need to stay on the ground as the Jeddah circuit is very different from Bahrain and might not suit the car.

“All the teams struggle with the budget cap, trying to improve here and there and when they see another one that improves two seconds or one second, they have to look where it is possible”, he said.

“And it’s good in a way, because the work done is being praised.

“But you have to stay calm and we are curious to know if the same will happen here, because the fast corners and the straight were our weak points in Bahrain and it is what prevails here and maybe we can have a negative surprise.

“We have to wait and improve the car in all the weak points that we identified in these first races.”

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