The battle has been brewing in the background for some time, perhaps since Red Bull’s former head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows switched to Aston Martin.
The AMR23, which Fernando Alonso masterfully drove to a podium finish at the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, has clear design similarities to the RB19.
“It’s nice to see three Red Bull cars on the podium,” teased Perez afterwards causing Alonso to chuckle.
Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko told Sky: “If you compare the cars, the Aston Martin is most similar to our Red Bull. There’s a reason for that.
“Not only did Fallows change, but also some other employees and they obviously have a good memory.”
Team principal Christian Horner also had something to say on the emergence of a new rival.
He said about Aston Martin’s rise into contention: “I think it demonstrates to all the teams that it’s possible.
“So, they’ve obviously done a good job over the winter. They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery! It’s good to see the old car going so well!”
Horner was asked if he regretted allowing key employee Fallows to leave, but replied: “No, because I think we have a wonderful team and everything has to evolve, nothing stands still.
“And I think that it’s flattering to see the resemblance of that car to ours, so it was great to see the three of them on the podium.”