If this amounts to anything Max Mosely should be subject to some kind of scrutiny to determine who pays him for what services. The idea that two or ten teams of highly paid individuals, given a set of rules and budgets are not going to have similar "ideas" on how to go about solving a problem within the rules is absurd. They are all constrained by Mother Nature at one end, and their budgets at the other. In the middle lie skill, cleverness and insight. And all of it works with persistence and tenacity.
I used to participate in the local high school FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - Home
) Team, where you have a similar set of rules, a budget and a box of "must use parts" for storing, controlling and converting energy on a robot designed to "play" a game every year. To keep things interesting the organization drastically changes the game, makes very peculiar scoring rules designed to encourage cooperation and understanding your opponent, and they add technical features each year, while making standard assemblies now and then. My team's drive system, for example, has become the standard drive arrangement since it was very robust and reliable, and fast, which proved to be an almost unfair advantage as it evolved over 4 or 5 years.
In the end, given the similar challenges and the harsh environment of competition, with a regulating agency seeking to avoid any team developing an overwhelming advantage - surprise! The finalists have many similar features, not the least of which is the most well funded teams have the best robot drivers (they make a second machine to practice on while the competition unit is shipped off to FIRST on a deadline, and only available for between competition work after it passes inspections), the most complete sets of spares and so on. All very much like F1 or NASCAR or any other similar competition where the answer is forced to be in a relatively small box that can only be "enlarged" with an ever enlarging budget, which is held in check by changing the "formula" periodically to preclude really long term investments in any particular set of problems to be solved.
When you get down to it, all the answers to everything are dictated by f=ma. If that doesn't work, neither does the solution that doesn't comply with it. Jim