Brown admits "big concerns" over Red Bull/AlphaTauri relationship


McLaren boss, Zak Brown believes that the symbiotic relationship between the two Red Bull-owned teams is "something that needs to be addressed in the future".

His call comes at a time the FIA is set to introduce further guidelines in terms of teams sharing information, with Guenther Steiner having admitted concern at AlphaTauri's late-season improvement.

"I think, right or not right, it needs to be discussed," said the Italian recently of the Faenza outfit's relationship with sister team Red Bull. "Obviously, there are a lot of other sports where that is not allowed.

"Up to now there was not an issue with this," he added.

"We check teams that are in close proximity to each other a lot more closely than we check completely independent teams, exactly to make sure this thing doesn't happen," the FIA's single-seater chief, Nikolas Tombazis told Autosport in reaction to the comment.

"That is a concern," he admitted. "It has been a concern not only between the two teams mentioned, but also among other pairs of teams.

"We believe that AlphaTauri specifically does have quite different aerodynamic solutions to the other company, and we don't think there's any sign of any direct collaboration. Clearly, they are working hard and they have made a step forward. But I don't think it can be said it's due to collaboration.

At McLaren, Zak Brown is concerned that Red Bull was able to stop development of its 2023 contender around the time of the summer break, while AlphaTauri continued to introduce upgrades until the final race.

"The million-dollar question that none of us know is how early did they turn off this year's car?" the American tells Autosport. "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?

"We have some big concerns over the alliance between AlphaTauri and Red Bull," he admits. "I think that is something that needs to be addressed in the future. I still think the sport has a way to go to make sure that everyone is truly independent."

Red Bull bought Jaguar from Ford in 2004 and entered the sport the following season, later that same year also buying Minardi from Paul Stoddart.

Following the death of Dietrich Mateschitz last year it was thought that his son, Mark, who owns 49% of the company, might look to sell the Faenza-based outfit but has thus far resisted internal company pressure to do so.

While there has been talk of a name change, the team known to have held talks with numerous high level sponsors, including JP Morgan and Hugo Boss, the recently released entry list still shows the team as AlphaTauri.

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Published: 28/12/2023
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