There was added intrigue in F1’s development war at the recent Monaco Grand Prix as both Mercedes and Red Bull had their secretive-floor designs exposed for all to see.
Rival teams have admitted to closely inspecting the hi-res images caught by photographers to see if they can discover any key secrets they might have missed.
But Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan has warned rival teams that “ignorant copies” of the RB19’s concept will not necessarily make their own cars go any quicker.
“It’s not great, we don’t put our car up [in the air like that] but it has happened, and we’ll move on,” Monaghan said.
“But there is a phase lag between people seeing it, getting it onto their car and actually going faster with it.
“A better description is that an ignorant copy isn’t necessarily going to go faster, it has to integrate. It is not just a bit of floor geometry, but it is certainly sensitive on these cars.
“Don’t forget, people carry floors in and out of garages, lift the front of the cars up, so it is not as if it is the first time.
“Our development path is reasonably well laid out in terms of the timings we wish to try to deploy things if they’re going to make us go faster.
“If we change someone else’s development plan, then we probably increase the phase lag by which they can get it to the car.
“So around about Japan time, we’ll see where everybody is, but we’ve got to maintain our discipline and our development path.
“It’s only our car that we can change. We can’t influence what those guys do. So, we’ll keep plugging away in our own manner and we’ll try to be quickest.”
Monaghan was keen to point out that convergence of design is nothing new in F1.
“It’s a form of flattery isn’t it?” he said.
“You go back to 2009, 2010, 2011 or even 2014, we were winning races with an overall similar package to what Mercedes had, so we’re not immune to doing it.
“Other people will look at our car and try to, if they think they’re going to go faster, take influence from it. It’s fine.
“Ask McLaren in 2011, they put their car on the ground, and it was not quick, it then appeared with some exhausts that looked just like ours and it was quite quick.
“It’s happened for many years, it will carry on and it is a method of levelling the sport, there are no copyrights, are there?
“I’ll take it as flattery, which is very nice.”