Did McLaren copy Red Bull after photos of the RB19 in the air in Monaco?

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has denied that photographs of an airborne Red Bull in Monaco, revealing its floor, enabled them to copy it.
(L to R): Pole sitter Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in qualifying parc ferme with second placed Lando Norris (GBR)
(L to R): Pole sitter Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in qualifying…

Sergio Perez’s car was hoisted by a crane earlier this season, giving away the complexity and potential secrets of F1’s most successful machine.

At the F1 British Grand Prix in qualifying, McLaren stole the show as Lando Norris finished on the front row in an upgraded car which Mercedes claim is similar to the Red Bull.

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“I’m sure all teams got inspiration from looking at the Red Bull car,” Stella said about Red Bull’s floor reveal several weeks ago. 

“Like they get inspiration from all the photos that all teams get of any other car.

“Pretty much all teams have their professional photographers that take as much as possible.

“And this is inspiration, I would detract from our aerodynamic department if I said: ‘Yes, we saw that, now we have the solution’.

“You see that and ‘maybe you can do this’, but then you have to do your own job and your own iteration, otherwise you don’t get to something that actually works.”

Lewis Hamilton noted about McLaren’s upgrades: “If you just put it alongside a Red Bull, it looks very very similar down the side, so it’s working.”

Stella insisted: “Teams are equipped to try and absorb IP from looking at the photos, from looking at the cars on display on Friday.

“You do take inspiration from the other cars.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, British Grand Prix, Silverstone, England,
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11,…

“But taking inspiration, or even looking at the photos, doesn’t mean that you copy the geometry, you install it in your CFD runs, in the computer simulation, or in a wind tunnel, and the car lights up in terms of downforce.

“Normally what happens is it goes down because your car is already optimised around what you have done up until that point.

“The key element is understanding that some concepts add more potential that will allow you to develop faster.

“Here is where you need to have the right people in the right place.

“Peter Prodromou is leading the aerodynamic development at McLaren and is doing an exceptional job in terms of setting the conceptual direction but also having organised and inspired the entire aerodynamic group.”

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