Aston Martin has been cleared by the FIA of copying Red Bull's RB18 in the wake of a full investigation being carried out by motor sport's world governing body.
The Silverstone-based team previously fell foul of the FIA's copying regulations in 2020 when, as Racing Point, it was found guilty of replicating parts of the previous year's Mercedes, leading to a penalty of 15 points being docked and a €400,000 fine.
On this occasion, the FIA discovered during "a routine pre-event legality check of the planned aerodynamic upgrade" it resembled the Red Bull.
In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "It is quite a thing to instruct your team to come up with a very close-looking clone of our car.
"A few people have moved over the winter period, and what you can’t control is what they take in their heads.
“But what would be of grave concern to us would be if any IP had in any way changed hands.
“That is where we rely on the FIA to do their job. They have all the access and we will be relying on them heavily to ensure that no Red Bull IP has found its way into that car.”
Horner's inference was that a number of his staff had joined Aston Martin over the winter, notably Dan Fallows, previously chief aerodynamicist at Red Bull and now Aston Martin's new technical director, albeit he only started his new role a month ago.
During the checks, the FIA state "it became apparent that a number of features on the Aston Martin resembled those of another competitor" sparking an investigation.
Under article 17.3 of the technical regulations, and in particular the topic of 'reverse engineering' and potential illicit IP transfer, Aston Martin has been found not to be at fault.
An FIA statement read: "Both teams collaborated fully with the FIA in this investigation and provided all the relevant information.
"The investigation, which involved CAD checks and a detailed analysis of the development process adopted by Aston Martin, confirmed that no wrongdoing had been committed, and therefore the FIA considers that the Aston Martin aerodynamic upgrades are compliant.
"Article 17.3 specifically defines and prohibits “Reverse Engineering”, i.e. the digital process of converting photographs [or other data] to CAD models, and prohibits IP transfer between teams, but equally, this article permits car designs getting influenced by those of competitors, as has always been the case in Formula 1.
"In the analysis we carried out we confirmed that the processes followed by Aston Martin were consistent with this article’s requirements."
Via their own statement, a Red Bull spokesperson said: “We have shared details of our update with the FIA technical people.
"Having analysed the data and processes used, the FIA has confirmed in writing that our update was generated as a result of legitimate independent work in accordance with technical regulations.”