As Lewis Hamilton applauded McLaren for going down the Red Bull path with their upgrades, Christian Horner says more rivals copying Red Bull is “inevitable” given their record.
Red Bull have cemented their role as the team to beat in Formula 1’s ground effect aerodynamic era with a run of 10 wins from 10 races to begin this season which has followed on from last year’s championship double.
That has seen other teams begin to adopt Red Bull-esque bodywork, perhaps even the floor after Sergio Perez’s Monaco reveal, with some having more success at the cut-away sidepods than others.
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Revised McLaren bears a striking resemblance to the RB19
McLaren is the latest team to go down the Red Bull-esque path with their MCL60’s updates that saw Lando Norris score points in Austria before taking up the role of Max Verstappen’s nearest challenger at the British Grand Prix.
The Briton not only qualified P2 to his team-mate Oscar Piastri’s third but brought his car home in second place ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Piastri.
It had Hamilton applauding them for their “very, very similar down the side” look to the Red Bull RB19.
But while in days gone by Horner has landed a dig or two at Mercedes for taking a more Red Bull path, with McLaren the latest to adopt that philosophy he says that is “inevitable” given Red Bull’s success.
“I looked at their car on the grid, which was the first time this year I’ve really looked at it closely, and you can see the philosophy is very similar,” Horner told media including PlanetF1.com.
“So yes, they have clearly chosen to follow the same path with the car as we did.
“It is inevitable that that will happen. And why wouldn’t you? When you see a car performing as well as ours, it only makes sense to try to replicate it, as some teams have decided to do.”
The Silverstone race saw a new rival emerge for Red Bull in McLaren with the team having previously held off attempted charges from Aston Martin, Ferrari and Mercedes.
Horner reckons the ever-changing position of Red Bull’s nearest rival is actually a blessing for reigning World Champions.
“No, it makes it easier in many ways,” he said. “Because it forces us to focus on ourselves when it’s someone else every weekend. It is interesting to see how the mutual power relations keep changing.”
With Sunday’s win marking Red Bull’s 10th of this season but 11th in a row, the Milton Keynes squad matched McLaren’s 11 in succession from 1988 with Horner saying: “It’s an incredible record and McLaren-Honda achieved those 11 wins with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. To think that we have now done that…
“It is thanks to the hard work of the team, the dedication with which the drivers do their job and the fact that we have our reliability and strategy in order.
“Make no mistake: it’s hard to win just one Grand prix. To win 11 in a row – and I believe we’ve now won 20 of the last 21 races – is a phenomenal streak. And to do that at our home circuit in Silverstone is absolutely amazing. The whole team should be very proud of this.”
But while McLaren acknowledge they took inspiration from Red Bull’s race winning car, team boss Andrea Stella is adamant the MCL60 has copied nothing from the RB19.
“Yes, like every team that takes inspiration from any other team,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.
“Teams are equipped to try and absorb IP from looking at the photos, from looking at the cars on display on Friday. So you do take inspiration from the other cars.
“But taking inspiration or even looking at the photos doesn’t mean that you copy the geometry, you install it in your CFD runs, in the computer simulation, or in a wind tunnel, and the car lights up in terms of downforce.
“Normally what happens is it goes down, because your car is already optimised around what you have done up until that point.
“The key element is understanding that some concepts add more potential that will allow you to develop faster and for longer.
“Here is where you need to have the right people in the right place and I think I would like to mention one name here – Peter Prodromou.
“He is leading the aerodynamic development at McLaren and is doing an exceptional job in terms of setting the conceptual direction but also having organised and inspired the entire aerodynamic group. So really well done to Peter.”