‘Stroll pushed the rules, must pay the price’

Date published: August 15 2020

Lance Stroll Racing Point

Bernie Ecclestone says Lawrence Stroll should stop complaining and be grateful for what Formula 1 has given him.

Stroll hit out at the sport and Racing Point’s rivals after the FIA found his team guilty of copying Mercedes’ rear brake ducts.

Racing Point was fined 400,000 Euros and docked 15 World Championship points.

The team, though, has been permitted to continue running the ducts, earning a reprimand with every race weekend, as while the team broke a sporting rule, the ducts meet all the technical requirements.

Ferrari and Renault have lodged their appeals with the FIA, unhappy with the lenient verdict.

Team owner Stroll is livid.

“I felt this horrible occasion deserved clarification,” he told Sky Sports.

“We are infuriated by the accusations that we cheated. There were rules that were some clearly defined, some less clearly defined, and we have no doubt we played within those rules.”

He added: “The other teams are certainly entitled to their opinions. I think the other teams are equally as upset that we are performing very well and have a very, very strong car.

“I think if we were running seventh, eighth, ninth or 10th these same teams would not be protesting at all. So I don’t find it a coincidence that we are outperforming them and hence their complaints.

“I think if they focused on trying to do a better job themselves and less about complaining on me it would be efforts well placed.

The FIA last week came up with this ‘grandfather’ clause which we cannot find it existing anywhere ever before. It seems to be a new rule they made up last week. We believe that rule to be non-existent.”

Ecclestone, however, says the Canadian has no reason to complain, saying his team pushed the rules with its pink Mercedes and must now face the consequences.

“Stroll doesn’t have to be upset,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

“Racing Point has pushed the rules a little too far and has now paid the price.”

Added to that the former F1 supremo reckons Stroll should be grateful because if he was still the man in charge of Formula 1, Stroll would never have been able to take over Force India while keeping all the team’s “rights”.

Stroll bought Force India midway through the 2018 season after the team was placed into administration.

Changing Force India’s name to Racing Point in 2019 would have, under Ecclestone’s reign, meant becoming an entirely new team, losing out on the previous team’s rights.

“He can be glad that two years ago he made his way into Formula 1 so easily,” said the 89-year-old.

“He was allowed to buy a team out of bankruptcy with all of its rights.

“If I was in charge, he would have started from scratch with this team a year later when he changed its name.”

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