Christian Horner expects more Red Bull copycats: ‘One team adopted our theme and made gains’

Michelle Foster
Adrian Newey and Christian Horner in front of the Red Bull gantry. Bahrain March 2023

Adrian Newey and team boss Christian Horner in front of the Red Bull gantry. Bahrain March 2023

Christian Horner believes at some point the designs of the new generation of cars will “converge” especially after Aston Martin’s moment of glory at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Although this season the Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes F1 cars once again feature very different design concepts, further down the grid – at least based on last year’s standings – a few teams have integrated Red Bull’s philosophy.

The most noticeable of that is the Aston Martin AMR23, the car that finished third at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Its striking resemblance to the Red Bull has Helmut Marko questioning the legality as the AMR23 was brought to life by two former Red Bull people, Dan Fallows and Andrew Alessi.

Although it is still too early in the season to judge, the AMR23 looks as if it could be Red Bull’s closest competitor this season, or at the very least the third fastest car also behind the Ferrari.

What does seem clear, based on Bahrain, is that it has overhauled the Mercedes prompting the Brackley squad to consider changing their car’s concept.

Asked if he was “surprised” Red Bull’s main rivals hadn’t moved towards the Red Bull design given that it appears to be the “best”, Horner said he expects more teams will following in the weeks and months to come.

“I think the operating windows of these cars are very narrow and every team in the top three looks like it’s develop its own theme,” he told the media including

“And one team has adopted our theme and it made a gain, so I guess at some point is going to converge and you know that can happen during a season.”

Asked if that could happen within the ‘lifecycle’ of the current regulations, Horner insisted: “It can converge in two weeks.

“So let’s see a few more circuits, a few more surfaces, the tyres how they work at these different venues. “I think, again, things can change quickly.” recommends

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However, team boss Toto Wolff admits it won’t be easy for Mercedes to bring another concept to the track this season given Formula 1’s budget cap means they cannot just throw money at the problem.

Horner reckons if they’re “effective and efficient” they can do it.

“I think the budget cap adds challenges,” he said, “but you just got to be effective and efficient with your spend and your commitment.

“I think 2014 was different because that was a fundamental difference in the engine whereas the chassis is much more swift to develop the engine.”

But will Mercedes go down that route?

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few days about Mercedes adopting a new concept, effectively a B-spec car. While the timeframe for that is not known, Toto Wolff has revealed alternate designs have “been done” in the wind tunnel and the team now just needs to look at the data and decide on a direction.

But could that direction be the Red Bull route?

Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz has urged the Brackley squad to do what Aston Martin have done.

“And you look at the Aston,” he added, “it’s a Red Bull copy that’s more or less influenced by the Red Bull. So that’s what Mercedes will have to do.”

Wolff, though, has hinted that whatever changes Mercedes bring will have more to do the things we cannot see, rather than the things we can such as the sidepods.

“It’s not just about the sidepods or how the car looks from the outside,” he told ORF.

So don’t expect a Red Bull-esque W14 when Mercedes finally call time on the current concept. While other teams may opt to go down the route in the weeks or months to come, Mercedes aren’t likely to join the list.