Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan said the team were annoyed by the pictures which circulated of its car floor design, but they do not think “ignorant copies” will make any of their rivals go faster.
The underside of the dominant RB19 was photographed after Sergio Perez crashed out of qualifying and his car was lifted into the air.
Rivals such as Mercedes have admitted to studying the floor, which is an area teams can find big aerodynamic performance gains.
When asked about the photos, Monaghan said: “It’s not great. We don’t put our car up [like that], but it has happened and we’ll move on.
“But there’s 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. And it’s not just a bit of floor geometry.”
Formula One upgrades are not a quick fix and lead times for new aerodynamic concepts take time. For example, Mercedes identified the need to go in a new direction after qualifying for the first race in March, but did not introduce an upgrade until May.
Monaghan said it might take rivals until October’s Japanese Grand Prix to fit a Red Bull-inspired floor on its car.
He added: “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 Japan time we’ll see where everybody is.
“But we’ve got to maintain our discipline and our development path. And 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.”
On the prospect of F1 teams copying each others designs, Monaghan said: “It’s happened for many years, and it will carry on. It’s a method of levelling the sport. There are no copyrights, are there?”
Red Bull not worried by ‘ignorant’ car copies