McLaren team boss wary of ‘copying championship’

Michelle Foster
McLaren ahead of Racing Point 2020

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has predicted Formula 1 will have up to seven “serious contenders” when the sport’s new regulations kick in.

McLaren didn’t protest Racing Point’s ‘pink Mercedes’ but that doesn’t mean Andreas Seidl isn’t keeping a close eye on proceedings.

Last time out at the Styrian Grand Prix, Renault officially protested the Racing Point RP20, a car that draws heavily from Mercedes’ W10.

The stewards declared the protest admissible and impounded parts of the RP20 as well as asking Mercedes for their corresponding brake parts from last year’s car.

Renault alleges that Racing Point’s front and rear brake ducts, which all teams have to design themselves, are an exact copy of Mercedes’.

Seidl is interested in seeing how the protest plays out, fearing that if the RP20 is deemed legal, more teams will copy others’ designs.

“This protest is another key element on making some clarifications, on the FIA and Formula 1 side of what they want Formula 1 to be in the future,” the McLaren team boss told Autosport.

“Do they want that Formula 1 is ending up in a copying championship?

“In a championship where you end up with two or three constructors’ or manufacturers’, and we simply have then more cars of one manufacturer or constructor on-track?

“We definitely think [it] is the wrong way to go for Formula 1, and is not a sustainable way for us.”

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He added: “Formula 1 always has been a competition between 10 constructors’, where the final car in the end is the result of the know-how, the power, the engineering power you have built up within your own team over years.

“When you think about sharing suspension bits for example, it’s not just about sharing a part or sharing a design.

“A suspension part is the result of experience you build up within the team over many, many years.

“Each part of a Formula 1 car is part of the entire car concept. That’s something Formula 1 simply has to decide which way they want to go.

“I think our position is clear, what we want to see, and it’s important to get these clarifications now in order to also make up our mind on how we see our future as a team.

“But we clearly want to be our own independent team with our own identity, and yeah. So looking forward to the outcome of this.”

Seidl, however, suspects the RP20 will be cleared given the team’s insistence that the FIA has already told them that everything is above board.

“To be honest with the way how outspoken and proud Racing Point has also been about their coping job, running a one-year-old Mercedes, I would be surprised if there’s anything being done, which was not according [with] what is possible within exploring the limits of the regulations,’ he said.

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