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Brown: “Big concerns” over Red Bull and AlphaTauri common F1 ownership

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says he has “big concerns” regarding the alliance between sister Formula 1 teams Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

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

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

As the 2023 campaign drew to a close, AlphaTauri brought a string of aggressive upgrades to climb from last to eighth in the constructors’ championship. Meanwhile, Red Bull did not meaningfully update its car from August.

With the upgrades giving AlphaTauri major gains in low-speed corners - an area of weakness for Red Bull - rivals considered how high the junior team might climb and whether any sharing of resource might also help Red Bull eke out its restricted wind tunnel testing allowance.

While Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner has rubbished the suggestion that any rules are being broken, and the FIA has completed compliance checks, Brown says he still has “big concerns” over the alliance.

Speaking exclusively to Autosport, the McLaren boss said: “The million-dollar question that none of us know is how early did they [Red Bull] turn off this year’s car?

“We know we’ve outperformed the others in the development race, and we know we’ve closed the gap to Red Bull but what none of us know is: did Red Bull stop, and we just caught up, or were they still developing?

“Also, we have some big concerns over the alliance between AlphaTauri and Red Bull. I think that is something that needs to be addressed in the future.

“So, I still think the sport has a way to go to make sure that everyone is truly independent.”

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04, battles with Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04, battles with Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Teams may form technical alliances (currently the most notable is the working relationship between Haas and Ferrari) to buy specified components, including hydraulics, gearbox and suspension.

Fears that Red Bull and AlphaTauri have overstepped have been fuelled by AlphaTauri moving personnel from Faenza to the UK as it seeks to save money by consolidating around its aerodynamics facility in Bicester.

PLUS: How F1's political battles played out in 2023

Brown continued: “It is two teams with common ownership, which you wouldn’t have in other sports. 

“[It could benefit Red Bull in] a lot of different ways. There is a reason why they are moving a lot of their people from Italy.

“As Helmut [Marko, Red Bull motorsport advisor] has said, they are going to do absolutely everything they can to benefit from having two teams.

“I get that because that’s what the rules say. But I think we need to look at the governance of the sport around technical alliances.”

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