Formula 1 teams will do pretty much anything to get an idea of what the other guys are doing. Sometimes they’ll ask drivers to sniff around competitors the cars on the grid. Other times they send engineers to each other’s garages with cameras. This outright espionage sometimes has humorous results. Race mechanics occasionally stand in a line at the garage entrance to prevent snapshots. On the racetrack, however, there’s nothing you can do about prying eyes. That’s what happened in 1989 when a Leyton House car – put together by legendary designer Adrian Newey – had a crash at the start of the French Grand Prix.
I used the photo of the upside down Leyton House to copy the diffuser design which was the diffuser used on the world championship winning McLaren MP4/5B https://t.co/niZvXiwHk0
— Mike Gascoyne (@MikeGascoyne) April 20, 2020
It’s rare that an F1 engineer would admit to copying another car, but it’s been more than thirty years. Also, stealing from Adrian Newey to make the world championship-winning MP4/5B (driven by Ayrton Senna) seems like a good idea–especially in hindsight.
This also happened to Newey in 2015
Although I can’t find any evidence of anybody copying this design (it’s only been five years and I doubt anyone would admit it) I’m sure the cameras were snapping away when Max Verstappen’s engine cover blew off at the Italian GP in 2015. Newey also designed this car.