McLaren: Accusations of Mimicking Red Bull F1 Car are Unjustified

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The team based in Woking has shown significant improvements with its MCL60 following a series of upgrades since last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Their advancements, leading to Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri landing second and third spots on the grid at the British GP, have triggered comments on its design, which appears akin to Red Bull’s RB19.

Post-qualifying, Lewis Hamilton remarked, “If you put it next to a Red Bull, the similarities are striking down the sides. It’s successful, and that’s terrific.”

However, Andrea Stella, McLaren’s team principal, insists that while their design shares some core principles with Red Bull, it would be unjust to label it as a mere replication.

“Every team draws inspiration from the others,” Stella commented. “They are prepared to capture IP by studying photos, as well as inspecting the cars on display on Friday. Hence, one does take cues from other cars.

“Nevertheless, gaining inspiration, or even examining a photo, doesn’t mean you replicate the design, integrate it into your CFD runs in computer simulations or in the wind tunnel, causing the car to surge in terms of downforce.

“Usually, the performance deteriorates, as your car has already been optimized based on your previous work.”

Photo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri in McLaren MCL60 in the pit lane

Photo by: Mark Sutton / F1 Flow Images

Rather than cloning others directly, Stella believes that teams should grasp others’ fundamental concepts and figure out how to advance their own car’s development paths.

“The crux is recognizing that certain concepts have greater potential for faster and prolonged development,” Stella further elaborated.

“Here, having the right personnel in place is essential. I want to highlight Peter Prodromou, who is heading aerodynamic development at McLaren.

“His contribution in determining the conceptual direction and inspiring the entire aerodynamics team has been remarkable.”

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While events such as the reveal of Red Bull’s floor at the Monaco Grand Prix have enlightened other teams about F1’s top team’s strategies, Stella maintains that grasping the rationale behind particular designs is more crucial.

“I believe all teams gain inspiration from examining the Red Bull car, just like they do from photographs of any other car,” he added.

“Almost all teams employ professional photographers to capture as much as possible, which serves as inspiration.

“To say ‘we saw that, and now we have the answer,’ would discredit our aerodynamic department.

“You observe it and generate ideas that maybe you can execute. But then you have to proceed with your own work, your own iterations, otherwise you won’t arrive at something truly effective.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about McLaren Red Bull F1 design controversy

What are the claims regarding McLaren’s F1 car design?

The claims suggest that McLaren’s MCL60 design bears similarities to Red Bull’s RB19.

How did McLaren respond to these claims?

McLaren’s team principal, Andrea Stella, stated that while their design does adopt some key elements from Red Bull, it would be unfair to label it as a direct copy. Stella emphasized that teams often draw inspiration from each other but that inspiration does not equate to replication.

How does McLaren approach car development?

Rather than directly copying others, McLaren focuses on understanding the outline concepts of other teams and then finding ways to develop their own car based on those insights. They believe in identifying concepts with high potential for faster and prolonged development.

What role does Peter Prodromou play in McLaren’s aerodynamic development?

Peter Prodromou leads the aerodynamic development at McLaren and is credited for setting the conceptual direction and inspiring the entire aerodynamic group. His exceptional work has been instrumental in McLaren’s progress.

Do other teams also gain inspiration from Red Bull’s car?

Yes, according to Stella, all teams draw inspiration from studying the Red Bull car, as well as photographs of other cars. However, he emphasizes that it’s crucial to take inspiration and generate their own ideas and iterations rather than simply replicating what they see.

What impact do incidents like the Red Bull floor reveal have on other teams?

Such incidents provide other teams with insights into the strategies of F1’s benchmark team. Stella, however, believes that understanding the reasoning behind certain designs is more important than just gaining knowledge of what others are doing.

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speeddemon77 July 10, 2023 - 7:57 am

red bull and mclaren, two top teams in F1. they study each other’s cars, learn from each other. inspiration is important, copying is not. stella explains it well.

racingfan91 July 10, 2023 - 1:54 pm

mclaren and red bull both good but not copycat come on, they got inspiration from each other. stella says it, teams see pics and cars, get ideas but not copy, need own work and iteration!

racinggeek12 July 10, 2023 - 7:59 pm

interesting controversy! mclaren denies copying red bull design. they say they just take ideas, not geometry. aerodynamic development is key, and peter prodromou is a star!

F1lover23 July 10, 2023 - 8:23 pm

mclaren doing well with their mcl60, looks similar to red bull rb19, but not exact copy. they take inspiration, make their own improvements. peter prodromou leading aerodynamics, great job!


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