Racing Point: We copy but within the rules

Michelle Foster

From criticising Haas to designing a pink Mercedes, Racing Point’s Otmar Szafnauer says his past comments are not “ironic” as the RP20 is within the rules.

Racing Point, formerly known as Force India, has been one of the more vocal critics of the Haas model.

Haas entered Formula 1 in 2016, running what Force India billed as a B-spec Ferrari as the American team’s car carried every possible part that the team was permitted to purchase from another, namely Ferrari.

Now, however, the tables have turned a bit as Racing Point unveiled its 2020 car, the RP20, otherwise dubbed the ‘pink Mercedes’.

The car bears a striking resemblance to the Mercedes F1 cars, sporting some parts from the 2019 design, such as the sidepods, and some from the 2020 car; the nose, front wing and rear wing.

Asked if his previous criticism of Haas is ironic given that Racing Point are now the ones being accused of copying, Szafnauer told Racer: “I don’t think it is ironic. We copied the Red Bull in the past too, but we copy it within the rules.

“So we see what they are doing, we take pictures, we try to understand it, we run it in the tunnel, and we do it ourselves.

“I think it is different. We are adding people. We are soon going to be at 500 (employees). The people that we are adding is all about design, development and manufacturing so we can develop our own.

“So although everyone says you copied a Mercedes, it is our own. It is our own design and it is our own development. It is our own wind tunnel model. It is our own concept.

“Yes, we look to see what is fast. We thought: that’s fast, can we do the same. No different than what we did with the Red Bull when we ran a high-rake concept.

“But the development is our own. We will add another 100 people so we can continue our own development. It is a little bit different than what they do.

“You can’t have a couple of hundred people and design your own car and develop your own car. It just doesn’t work that way.”

Szafnauer insisted that Racing Point design everything in-house, it is only the build that takes place outside.

He went on to question how Haas can be doing the same if Racing Point’s design team is “bigger” than Haas’ entire F1 workforce.

“We don’t have a massive manufacturing capability, we buy as well,” Szafnauer continued. “But we buy from people that machine the parts.

“It is about design and development. It is the size of your model design and making capability for a wind tunnel. It is the size of your aerodynamic team.

“Our aerodynamic team total – total – is bigger than their entire team. So where are they getting it from? It is different, trust me it is different.”

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