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FIA responds to concerns over Red Bull and AlphaTauri with new guidance on collaborations

Collaborations between Formula One teams will be policed more by the FIA with new plans on the horizon

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Nikolas Tombazis, the Single-Seater Chief within the FIA, has admitted that Formula One’s governing body will be putting new guidance in place to police teams collaborating with each other due to concerns over Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

Red Bull and AlphaTauri collaboration - FIA plans
Christian Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull, and Franz Tost, Former Team Principal of Alpha Tauri. (Photo by Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images)

Within the 10 Formula One teams, there are both works teams and customer teams. Mercedes is a works team and provides the engines for the likes of McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams. Ferrari and Red Bull are also works teams.

Whilst Mercedes and Ferrari have some distance between their customer teams, there are questions surrounding Red Bull and their junior/sister team, AlphaTauri.

In 2024, AlphaTauri will be undergoing a rebrand. After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month, Franz Tost left the Faenza outfit and it was the final race where AlphaTauri was called AlphaTauri.

During the later part of the 2023 season, AlphaTauri brought some upgrades to their car. This saw their performance improve immensely as they jumped from 10th to eighth in the standings.

The improvements AlphaTauri made have raised questions because the team is set to use more parts from Red Bull as a customer team in 2024 than they have before.

The FIA has now confirmed that due to the concerns of other teams, there will be new guidance in place to stop teams breaching the regulations when it comes to collaborating.

Tombazis’ confirmation

Nikolas Tombazis of the FIA has spoken out on the concerns about Red Bull and AlphaTauri’s partnership. He commented on how the FIA police collaboration between teams, saying:

“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 doesn’t happen.

“That is a concern. 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 had made a step forward. But I don’t think it can be said it’s due to collaboration.

“That said, collaboration, or making sure that no such thing happens, is one of the tricky parts of policing teams.

“We do need to audit and make sure that all of these teams are well segregated and so on. And we will be issuing some further guidances quite soon to just provide further information to the teams about how they can convince us none of that is happening.

“We’re not underestimating the challenge and it is one of the difficulties we have.”

Tsunoda of AlphaTauri - FIA
Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri finished eighth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023 after making it into Q3 in Qualifying. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Collaboration to fast track a solution

As reported by Motorsport.com, Tombazis also commented on theories about teams collaborating to “fast track” development to the right solution. The FIA’s Single-Seater Chief said:

“That is obviously heavily illegal, because we have at times in the past checked similar components between teams and then got into their development process to see how they evolved.

“I don’t think there’s something like that happening at the moment. We have checked and we have a process to check. Is it easy? No. I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s always sort of a challenge.”

Tombazis went on to talk about independent teams rather than pairs of teams. He said that it’s not only “pairs of teams that could collaborate.

“You could have two independent teams who decide to mutually gain by helping each other. I don’t think that’s happening.

“But I’m just saying that our tools to prevent this happening don’t need to be just linked to physical components that are sold by one team to the other.”

The new guidance will be put in place soon to ensure teams aren’t breaching the regulations when it comes to collaborating.

Headline image: GettyImages

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