The Formula 1 world is abuzz with speculation: Is Red Bull Racing covertly sharing its cutting-edge technology and insights with sister team Alpha Tauri? This burning question has been fueled by Alpha Tauri’s noticeable surge in car development and performance in the latter half of the season, as observed by Auto Motor und Sport. The concern is whether Alpha Tauri is transforming into a mere extension of Red Bull, given their growing ‘synergy’.
Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s single-seater director, stepped in to address these rumblings in a conversation with motorsport-total.com. “We vet teams that are in close proximity to each other much more closely than completely independent teams to make sure something like this doesn’t happen,” he assured.
Despite Alpha Tauri’s significant leap forward in 2023, Tombazis doesn’t pin it all on their partnership with Red Bull. “I don’t think this is due to collaboration,” he clarified. This issue of collaboration, he noted, extends beyond just these two teams, as other team pairs also fall under similar scrutiny. He pointed out, “We believe Alpha Tauri has very different aerodynamic solutions than the other team.”
Tombazis further explained the FIA’s ongoing efforts to tighten its watch over such team collaborations. With new guidelines in the pipeline, the FIA aims to provide clearer instructions to teams on maintaining independence. “We want to give teams more information on how they can convince us that nothing like this is happening,” Tombazis stated, acknowledging the challenges in policing these intricate relationships.
The suspicion isn’t just about outright car cloning; it’s also about subtler forms of information and strategy sharing between teams. Tombazis was clear on this: “This is of course highly illegal,” but he doesn’t believe such practices are currently occurring.
Addressing concerns about potential loopholes, Tombazis emphasized that it’s not just teams under common ownership that might collaborate, but any two teams could potentially decide to help each other. “I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I’m just saying that our tools to prevent that can’t just be tied to physical components sold from one team to another,” he concluded, highlighting the complexities involved in ensuring fair play in F1.