Revealed: What Adrian Newey really thinks of Red Bull’s copycats

Sam Cooper
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

Adrian Newey has insisted it is a “serious compliment” whenever another F1 team copies one of his designs.

Given the supremacy of the Red Bull car over its competitors since shortly into the 2022 season, it is no wonder to see other teams’ cars start to look a lot similar.

Aston Martin, Ferrari and Mercedes have all take inspiration from the RB18 and its successor the RB19 but while team boss Christian Horner likes to point out the copycats, the car’s designer insists it is a compliment.

Speaking to Sky Italy, chief technical officer Newey said it was a common practice in the history of F1.

“It’s a serious compliment when people copy. It’s part of F1 of course. We all look at each other. In truth, we have copied things from other people as well,” Newey said.

“Some of that copying is visual, some of it is occasionally from people moving around – we have seen that this year.

“It’s part of F1, it’s an intense competition. You can’t have pride. You have got to always evaluate what others are doing. You might end up directly copying it or it might give you ideas of ‘why have they done that’ and does that make you do something differently.”

A good example came recently when it was revealed that Newey took inspiration for an upgrade from Williams despite the relative performance difference between the two constructors.

That came from one of Newey’s many pre-race grid walks and he explained just what it is he is looking for.

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“More often than not it’s, ‘this looks interesting. Let’s have a look at what our car does in this area in detail and does what they have done spark any ideas of how we might develop our own car.’ Not necessarily by simply copying but why have they done that and does that bring any ideas.”

It seems Red Bull have no issue with who they copy as chief engineer Paul Monaghan told Motorsport.com that it was impossible for the team to get everything right.

“We cannot assume that we have the best solution in all areas of the single-seater when you put a new car on the ground for the first time,” Monaghan said.

“We as a parameter have the lap time to evaluate a solution, and if you find that Williams introduced a floor design that others then copied, so it was a sign that it had to give an advantage.”