Renault’s Racing Point protest successful

Mark Scott
Racing Point Renault

Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul has stated exactly what sanction he thinks Racing Point deserve for the ‘copying’ controversy surrounding their brake ducts

Racing Point has been deducted 15 points, fined 400,000 Euros, and were reprimanded for two races after their brake ducts were deemed illegal by the FIA.

The brake ducts are only illegal from a sporting regulations perspective, though, not a technical one. In other words, the process of how Racing Point put the Mercedes-inspired brake ducts on their car is not within the rules, but the parts themselves are legal.

The FIA delivered its verdict on Friday morning, one hour before FP1 was due to get underway at Silverstone for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, after weeks of investigation following an initial protest from Renault.

The Enstone team targeted the front and rear brake ducts of the RP20 – which has been dubbed the ‘pink Mercedes’ due to its likeness to the W10 – as part of its protest and claimed that Racing Point received drawings from Mercedes in order to copy them.

Racing Point strongly denied this claim and said that both the front and rear brakes were created within the boundaries of what the FIA regulations allow.

However, while the FIA declared that Racing Point’s Racing Point were allowed to copy the Mercedes front ducts as they used them in 2019, they did not use Mercedes’ rear brake ducts last year and therefore copying them to place on the 2020 car was deemed illegal.

The verdict was that Racing Point would lose 7.5 points in Constructors’ for each car, 200,000 Euros for each car, and reprimanded for using the illegal rear brake ducts at the Hungarian and British Grands Prix. The initial protest by Renault was launched at the Styrian Grand Prix, round two of the revised 2020 calendar.

The penalty is ‘proportionate for the violation of the design process which led to the breach of regulations and a further penalty of reprimand is sufficient for the Hungarian and the British Grands Prix’.

Racing Point go from having 27 points in the Constructors’ to 12 points, moving them from P6 to P7.

However, they are expected to appeal the decision from the FIA and Racing Point will not have to redesign the brake ducts for future races as the aforementioned punishment covers the entire 2020 season and not just the protested races.

Brake ducts became a ‘listed part’ for the 2020 season, meaning teams had to design the part themselves. But, in 2019, it was legal to effectively copy another team’s brake ducts and use them on another car.

Racing Point bought the brake ducts from Mercedes in 2019, a fact which formed part of Racing Point’s defence, and used them, as well as CAD data from the Silver Arrows, in order to recreate their own.

Racing Point were allowed to do this for the front brake ducts, but not the rear as the team did not use Mercedes’ information for the 2019 version of that ‘particular listed part’.

The FIA say that Racing Point were given an opportunity to further explain the process between themselves and Mercedes over the continued use of the Silver Arrows’ data and, had they taken that opportunity, the governing body would not have allowed it to happen.

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