Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan concedes his team cannot stop rivals from copying Red Bull’s race-winning concepts, after all that’s not copyrighted.
Red Bull have dominated this year’s championship with their Formula 1 car becoming the template for rivals to copy. While Aston Martin did so last season, this year has seen more teams put out their versions of Red Bull’s downwash sidepods with Mercedes and Ferrari the latest to do so.
While Mercedes put a B-spec car onto the track in Monaco, the W14 featuring bulky sidepods, a new floor, and front suspension, Ferrari ran more Red Bull-styled sidepods at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Neither team though was able to challenge Red Bull for the win with Max Verstappen romping to his fifth of the season to keep the team’s race-winning streak going with seven from seven.
With Christian Horner having previously predicted convergence would come with the new cars, Monaghan was asked if teams have to adopt the Red Bull philosophy if they want to be fast.
“I don’t know if it’s unavoidable. You would have to talk to other people,” he told Motorsport.com.
“If you don’t understand [the concept], you can copy it, but you won’t get any faster.
“Other people look at our car and try to be influenced by it if they think it makes them faster. That’s fine. It’s been happening for many, many years.
“Ask McLaren about 2011 and what their car looked like when it wasn’t fast. Then it showed up with an exhaust that looked exactly like ours and it was pretty fast.”
He added: “There are no copyrights, are there? You take it as flattery.”
The topic of Red Bull’s sidepod concept had Verstappen joking after Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix that his team’s “next upgrade will be without sidepods! Then everyone can go back to that.”
Adding that Red Bull’s success is “not only the sidepods”, he believes “there are a lot of things that have to come together.
“I think we’ve learned a lot over the years and now, with the new rules [since 2022], we were quick right away and understood what it was all about.
“We’re never satisfied from our side either, we always want more.”
Verstappen’s comments came as George Russell announced he’s “sure Red Bull could put no sidepods on their car and still be the quickest.”
The Briton at the time explained that a faster car depends on more than just the sidepods.
“It’s not the sidepods that make the difference,” he insisted. “It may be a factor, but the magic isn’t in the sidepods.
“We brought that design to the car to kind of rule it out, the sidepods. The magic was done underneath the car, on the floor. That’s the same for every single team.”