BARCELONA, SPAIN (REUTERS) - Aston Martin hit back at Red Bull accusations of copying their car on Saturday (May 21), saying they had been working on it long before any key staff joined from their rivals and no data had been leaked.
The under-performing Silverstone-based team rolled out an upgraded car at the Spanish Grand Prix with aerodynamic changes that bore a strong superficial resemblance to the race-winning Red Bull.
That triggered Red Bull suspicions of an illegal intellectual property transfer, although the governing FIA found no breach of the rules.
"At no stage did we ever receive any data from any team, from anyone," Aston Martin's technical head Andrew Green told reporters.
"The FIA came in and did a thorough investigation, examined all the data leading up in the history of this car, they interviewed all the people involved and concluded that it was a completely independent development.
"This car was conceived in the middle of last year, as a dual route with the launch car, and the majority of the releases were made before anybody from Red Bull even turned up," he added.
"So I think the accusations are very wide of the mark."
Owned by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin have big ambitions and have recruited some high-profile names from other teams including Red Bull.
They include technical director Dan Fallows, Red Bull's former head of aerodynamics who started at the Silverstone factory last month.
Green said the FIA were the only ones who could really make a judgement, with access to data on both sides, and expected their ruling to be an end to the matter.
He said it had been a shock to Aston Martin when Red Bull started the season with a similar concept to what they had worked on but that reinforced the feeling that a change of philosophy was required.
Aston Martin's previous car was closely based on a winning Mercedes, with the two teams using the same engines and having a close relationship.