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RB F1 Copying Allegations

RB F1’s Shift Stirs McLaren’s Copying Claims

26/02/2024

Amidst allegations of part copying by RB F1, a strategic shift to Milton Keynes sparks debate and scrutiny within the F1 community.

This development is likely to fuel Zak Brown’s concerns. The McLaren F1 executive has been seeing red for weeks, accusing RB F1 of ‘copying’ too many parts from the parent team Red Bull’s car, potentially distorting fairness on the F1 grid, especially in an era of capped budgets.

Further evidence of the tightening relationship between RB F1 and Red Bull Racing: aerodynamicists based in Bicester are set to relocate to a facility in Milton Keynes.

It’s worth noting that while the Toro Rosso – AlphaTauri – RB F1 structure has its historical roots in Faenza, Italy, it has also operated out of Bicester, UK, since 2009.

A key feature of the Bicester site was its wind tunnel, albeit the oldest in use among the teams. This facility will soon be retired, allowing RB F1 to utilize the parent team’s more modern wind tunnel in Milton Keynes. Hence, the aerodynamics team from Bicester will be relocating. The teams based in Faenza, however, will see no changes.

The decision to move from Bicester to Milton Keynes raises questions. Why Milton Keynes over other locations in the UK, if not to facilitate closer information sharing with Red Bull Racing? And how does this address the allegations from McLaren and other teams that are sure to arise?

Laurent Mekies, the team’s director, has taken on this challenging task.

“It’s quite straightforward; we have excellent facilities in Faenza, where Franz Tost has done a remarkable job modernizing the team’s headquarters, rebuilt around 2015 or 2016.”

“We believe this is a strong foundation to build upon, but we’re not satisfied with our current infrastructure in Bicester; it doesn’t position our team in the best possible light.”

“This is mainly due to the site’s history; it was a very small setup, and we’ve outgrown the space. We’re there primarily for the wind tunnel use, but that’s no longer the case.”

“We’ve decided to close this site, which effectively houses the aerodynamics department, design department, and a few other units, and move on.”

“In its place, we’re building a brand-new headquarters in Milton Keynes, outside the Red Bull campus, which will be a state-of-the-art facility, much like our high-level facilities in Faenza.”

Mekies carefully notes that the RB F1 building will be located off the Red Bull campus…

Beyond real estate considerations, he also touches on human resources arguments, carefully avoiding any suggestion that engineers between Red Bull and RB F1 could share information more freely.

RB F1’s Bold UK Relocation Strategy

“The plan is for the team to move from Bicester to Milton Keynes, and in the new headquarters, we’ll have increased capacity, allowing us to tap into the engineering market for those wishing to stay in the UK, regardless of their background.”

“This could include race engineers, simulation engineers, and those in aerodynamics and design.”

Wouldn’t it be simpler to consolidate all team operations in Milton Keynes, rather than splitting the team across two different countries?

“We’re now of the mindset that it’s feasible to have a single department spread across two locations.”

“Historically, this has been a significant disadvantage in F1, with few success stories, something we’re fully aware of.”

“We’re not ignoring history; we just believe the world has changed dramatically, not just technologically but also in people’s mindsets.”

“We’re trying to make this work and see it as a potential advantage.”

“We’ve recruited people who wanted to be in Italy and others who preferred the UK – we want to turn this into a strength rather than a weakness.”

Mekies confirms: the Faenza site is secure. But controversies are likely to reemerge if RB F1 shows too much performance.

RB F1 Copying Allegations .RB F1 Copying Allegations.

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