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Horner: No 'Pink Mercedes' risk in Red Bull/AlphaTauri F1 collaboration

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has rubbished suggestions that his team's closer collaboration with AlphaTauri will open the door for a repeat of Formula 1's 'Pink Mercedes' controversy.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

As part of a revamp that Horner has helped provide input to, a relaunched and renamed AlphaTauri team in 2024 will forge closer ties with its sister team – and take more Red Bull parts than it has done recently.

But the new closer alliance has raised eyebrows in the paddock amid concerns that the collaboration will deliver both teams an advantage – as they can share development ideas and shortcut solutions.

Rival teams have already voiced private worries about the matter and urged the FIA to take a very close look at what is happening to ensure that nothing unfair is going on.

But Horner has insisted nothing untoward is taking place, and the relationship between Red Bull and AlphaTauri will be nothing like that between Mercedes and Racing Point which produced the infamous 'Pink Mercedes' controversy in 2020.

Back then, Racing Point, which was using the Mercedes wind tunnel, produced an RP20 that bore a striking resemblance to the 2019 Mercedes car.

Rival teams eventually protested the design, and Racing Point was found guilty of breaching IP rules with its rear brake ducts, being fined 400,000 euro and losing 15 constructors' championship points.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11, Lance Stroll, Racing Point RP20

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11, Lance Stroll, Racing Point RP20

Horner said what his team is doing with AlphaTauri is a world away from what happened in the past.

"We're an awfully long way from a 'Pink Mercedes'," he said. "There are some transferable components that are clearly listed within the regulations that you're allowed to supply and that's what they get.

"When you look at the car, there are quite fundamental differences between that car and a Red Bull Racing car. And, arguably, there are other cars on the grid which are far closer in concept than an AlphaTauri is.

"You've only got to look at an Aston Martin or even a McLaren. If you look around the rear suspension of a McLaren, it's very close in concept to that of our own."

Horner also said AlphaTauri's performance on track was ultimately in its own hands, as how it developed from here would be decided at its Faenza factory.

"It's down to the quality of people that will be in the team," he said. "Of course, there are certain components that we can supply, as is the case with Mercedes and Ferrari that supply current grand prix teams with gearboxes, suspension and simulation tools and wind tunnel.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

"And that is an identical relationship between the companies.

"Of course, it is then down to them how they use those tools. You can see that McLaren have used those tools, in certain respects, better than their supplier has done in half of the year.

"It's really down to them how they make use of what they're permitted within the regulations."

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