Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has revealed he views Dan Fallows’ exit to Aston Martin last year as a positive for providing the opportunity for other staff to step up in his absence.
Fallows elected to depart Red Bull in 2021 when Aston Martin approached him with the prospect of becoming the team’s new technical director.
With Red Bull determined to ensure Fallows would see out the remainder of his contract through to 2023, a legal dispute erupted between the two sides, eventually concluding with a settlement allowing the highly sought British engineer to move to Aston Martin in April last year.
The impact of Fallows’ arrival witnessed Aston Martin launch a hugely revised car for 2023, enabling it to emerge as a surprise front-running force in Formula 1 this season.
Despite previously striving to delay Fallows’ arrival at Aston Martin, Horner believes Red Bull’s technical department is now the strongest it has ever been.
“In the UK you’ve got seven teams within probably a 50-mile radius, so inevitably there’s going to be competition,” Horner told Sky Sports.
“We’ve had a very low turnover of staff in our history at Red Bull, and it’s great that we’ve given talent a chance to develop and achieve great things.
“When they go to other teams, I’m pleased for Dan that he’s doing a good job, but his departure has given other engineers an opportunity and everything is about evolution. The team we have now is even stronger than the one we had two years ago.
“We’re always looking inwardly and looking ahead.”
While Fallows was held in high esteem within Milton Keynes and played a huge role in the team’s success at the start of the latest rules cycle last year, Red Bull’s domination of F1 has emphatically continued since his exit.
The reigning Constructors’ champions have cruised to all three race victories at the start of the year and have subsequently already opened up a substantial 58-point lead at the top of the standings.
But rather than Ferrari or Mercedes providing the evolutionary RB19’s main competition, Aston Martin has established itself as Red Bull’s closest threat in the early stages of 2023, with star signing Fernando Alonso taking three consecutive podiums.
The Silverstone entity’s resurgence caused Red Bull driver Sergio Perez to remark there were three of the teams’ drivers in the FIA press conference after the race in Bahrain, while Horner also commented that it was “nice” to see the old car still performing strongly.
However, Aston Martin’s improved competitiveness hasn’t been the spark for the origin of the war of words between the two camps.
Following its troublesome beginning to the latest technical era last year, Aston Martin unveiled a B-spec car at the Spanish Grand Prix that strikingly resembled Red Bull’s eventual Championship-winning RB18.
The similarities between the two packages resulted in Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko suggesting that the team’s IP had been transferred along with Fallows’ move.
However, the FIA swiftly dispelled the notion that any illegal activity had been undertaken, declaring that Aston Martin was able to prove its revised concept had been worked on ahead of the 2022 campaign getting underway.