‘No bad blood’ between Mercedes and McLaren

Mark Scott
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl (left) and Toto Wolff

Andreas Seidl (left) and Toto Wolff

Mercedes and McLaren have “no bad blood” between them over the ongoing Racing Point copycat saga.

It appeared the two teams were on opposite sides of the fence in the RP20 debate which is now set to go all the way to the International Court of Appeal.

McLaren had stated their intention to appeal the FIA verdict – Racing Point was deducted 15 points and fined 400,000 Euros after their rear brake ducts breached the Sporting Regulations – alongside Williams, Renault and Ferrari. The protesting quartet felt the punishment should have been stronger.

McLaren boss, Zak Brown, in particular was heavily critical of Racing Point once the initial verdict was delivered, calling out the team for a ‘BS’ explanation as to how the Mercedes-inspired brake ducts ended up on their car.

Otmar Szafnauer and Zak Brown
Otmar Szafnauer, Racing Point, and Zak Brown (McLaren)

“Racing Point has been found guilty [and] I am concerned they still have those [parts] that were deemed illegal in Austria on the race car now,” said Brown during the constructors’ press conference at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone.

“I think that’s confusing for the fans. How is something that is not legal in Austria still on the car?

“They claimed they had copied the car via photography. It’s clear from reading the document that that’s BS. And therefore you have to question anything else around that car.

“So I think this is potentially the tip of the iceberg, the starting point of looking at what’s happened here because I don’t think it’s healthy for the sport.”

But by Wednesday morning ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, it was confirmed that the two teams who will be powered by Mercedes next season in McLaren and Williams have both withdrawn that intention to appeal the Mercedes-powered Racing Point.

“McLaren Racing has decided not to appeal the decisions of the FIA Stewards in relation to Renault’s protests of Racing Point,” McLaren said in a statement, as reported by Motorsport.com.

“The team welcomes the Stewards’ decisions and findings in this case and importantly that the FIA has demonstrated that transgressions of the rules will be investigated and punished.

“Moreover, McLaren Racing is pleased that the FIA will further clarify the sporting and technical regulations to protect Formula 1 as a sport where teams are clearly defined as Constructors, and removes the potential that the Formula 1 World Championship includes cars that are, in effect, copies of other competitors’.

“Taking the above and a broad view of all factors into account, McLaren Racing will not continue with an appeal in this case.

“Additionally, McLaren Racing respects the decisions of Ferrari and Renault to pursue their appeals and will follow proceedings with interest.”

Racing Point RP20 PA
McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes there could be other issues surrounding the legality of the Racing Point cars after saying their defence was ‘BS’.

Williams’ statement said: “After careful consideration, Williams have elected not to proceed with the formal appeal.

“We believe the FIA’s decision to seek the prohibition of extensive car copying for 2021 onwards addresses our most fundamental concern and reasserts the role and responsibility of a constructor within the sport, which is fundamental to Formula 1’s DNA and Williams core beliefs and principles.”

With McLaren returning to Mercedes power in 2021, there were questions being asked if they were risking damage to the relationship with the Silver Arrows if they continued to protest the Racing Point.

But McLaren team principal, Andreas Seidl, has categorically dismissed that suspicion.

“We have a great relationship with Toto (Wolff; editor’s note), with Mercedes and with the boys in Brixworth,” Seidl is quoted by Motorsport-Total.com.

“There is absolutely no bad blood between us and Mercedes.”

Ferrari and Renault are continuing with the appeals process, while Racing Point are also appealing as they want to clear their name. They are adamant that their RP20 car breaches no regulations whatsoever.

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