Fernando Alonso on Red Bull’s copy quips: But Mercedes say 50 percent is their car

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso surrounded by Aston Martin mechanics. Bahrain March 2023

Double World Champion Fernando Alonso surrounded by Aston Martin mechanics. Bahrain March 2023

Fernando Alonso isn’t fazed by Red Bull’s copycat comments about his AMR23 as he says the differences are clear to see, especially as Mercedes also claim “half” the car is theirs.

Alonso raced his way onto the podium in his Aston Martin debut, the double World Champion joining the two Red Bull drivers in the champagne celebrations at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

It led to a few quips from Red Bull about the Aston Martin, a car designed by former Red Bull’s former head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows.

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

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

The 79-year-old went onto question the car’s legality, saying that “copying the focus is not prohibited, but can you copy in such detail without having documentation of our car?”

He later backtracked, calling his comments “just humorous remarks.”

Either way Alonso isn’t at all fazed as he says they are “clearly” different cars.

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

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Mercedes lay claim to ‘half’ the AMR23

Red Bull aren’t the only team patting themselves on the back for the AMR23 with Toto Wolff laying claim to half the car after Bahrain.

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

As Alonso points out, one cannot find two contrasting car concepts than the Red Bull and the Mercedes.

Asked to expand on his belief about the AMR23 being different, he said: “Visually they are different and an example of this is that Mercedes says that 50 percent of their car is ours [engine, gearbox and suspension] and Red Bull says that 50 percent is theirs… and there can be no two more different concepts than those two.

“That clearly indicates that neither of the two theories is true.

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

In fact in the game of who’s car looks like who’s, he reckons his former team Alpine who have drawn inspiration from Aston Martin.

“I would say that the car most similar to ours, to tell you the truth, 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 that’s been good for Aston Martin as people have noted the work that the team has done to get themselves on the podium.

But, he warns, they need to stay ground as the Jeddah circuit is a very different one to Bahrain and may not suit the car.

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

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

“But you have to be calm and we’re curious to know if the same thing will happen here, because the fast corner and the straight were our weak points in Bahrain and it’s what prevails here and perhaps we can get a negative surprise.

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