Racing Point owner, Lawrence Stroll, has broken his silence on the RP20 copycat saga and said the suggestions of cheating are “completely unacceptable”.
In a lengthy and rare public statement from the team owner, Stroll has followed in the footsteps of Racing Point’s team principal Otmar Szafnauer in vigorously defending the process of how the RP20 was created.
The FIA has deducted 15 points from Racing Point in the Constructors’ Championship and fined them 400,000 Euros for breaching the Sporting Regulations in relation to their Mercedes-inspired rear brake ducts.
The appeal process is splitting the Formula 1 paddock in two distinct groups Racing Point and Mercedes versus the rest of the paddock.
Racing Point’s rivals have made no secret of just how unhappy they are with the RP20, but Stroll Snr has replied on record saying just how “appalled” he is that his integrity, as well as the team’s, is under question.
“I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated,” Stroll said in a statement.
“Particularly those comments coming from our competitors.
“I have never cheated at anything in my life. These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true.
“My integrity – and that of my team – are beyond question. Everyone at Racing Point was shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling and firmly maintain our innocence.
“This team, under various names, has competed in F1 for over 30 years, and today employs 500 people. We’ve always been a constructor and will continue to be so in the future.
“Throughout those 30 years, this team has been an underdog, punching well above its weight with a fantastic group of people.
“Between 2016 and 2018, this was the fourth best team on the grid, operating on the smallest budget, and scoring regular podiums.
“Emerging from administration, with stability and fresh investment, this team’s competitive form should not be a surprise to anybody. The team can finally realise its potential and should be celebrated for its strong performance.”
He added: “There was an absence of specific guidance or clarification from the FIA in respect to how that transition to listed parts might be managed within the spirit and intent of the regulations.
“The rules, as they are written, state that after 2019, no further information on brake duct design can be shared or acquired. At that point, what you know and have learned, is your own information. From that point onwards, you are on your own. Which is exactly what we have done.
“So, to clarify, there was no guidance in place by the FIA surrounding the transition of non-listed to listed items and Racing Point received in March 2020 written confirmation from the FIA with regards to our compliance on the matter.
“This week I was also shocked to see the FIA introduced a new grandfather clause, which had never previously existed.
“Beyond the clear fact that Racing Point complied with the technical regulations, I am appalled by the way Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams have taken this opportunity to appeal, and in doing so attempted to detract from our performances.
“They are dragging our name through the mud and I will not stand by nor accept this. I intend to take all necessary actions to prove our innocence.
“My team has worked tirelessly to deliver the competitive car we have on the grid. I am truly upset to see the poor sportsmanship of our competitors.
“I understand that the situation in which the FIA finds itself is difficult and complicated for many reasons, but I also respect and appreciate their efforts to try and find a solution in the best interests of the sport.”