Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Stewards request Mercedes supply parts of 2019 car after Renault protest Racing Point

2020 Styrian Grand Prix

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Racing Point’s sixth and seventh place finishes in the Styrian Grand Prix remain provisional as the stewards have ruled a protest submitted by rivals Renault is valid for consideration.

The stewards confirmed Renault raised queries over the front and rear brake ducts on the Racing Point RP20. Renault’s protest alleges Racing Point’s car does not comply with the rules governing listed parts.

A statement issued by the stewards after the protest was revealed gave the first confirmation that Mercedes have been connected to Renault’s complaint. The world champions have been asked to supply examples of the front and rear brake ducts from their 2019 Formula 1 car for the FIA technical department to examine in relation to the protest.

The stewards have also sealed and impounded “relevant parts” from the cars driven by Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll in today’s race.

The representative of the FIA technical department has been given authority to call upon technical assistance from Renault, Racing Point and Mercedes in order to supply a report to the stewards on the substance of Renault’s protest.

A meeting to discuss Renault’s protest will be arranged to discuss the technical department’s assessment of the parts, once it has been made.

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Stewards’ response to Renault protest

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2019
Mercedes must supply the brake ducts from their 2019 car
Having received a protest from Renault DP World F1 Team against BWT Racing Point F1 Team concerning an alleged breach of the following Articles of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations 2020
– Article 2.1
– Article 3.2
– Appendix 6, Paragraph 1
– Appendix 6, Paragraph 2(a)
– Appendix 6, Paragraph 2(c)

with regards to front and rear brake ducts used on cars 11 and 18, the Stewards summoned and heard from the team representatives of both teams and a representative of the FIA Technical Department. The Stewards determined that the protest met all requirements specified in Article 13 of the FIA International Sporting Code and is, therefore, admissible.

The FIA Technical Department representative was directed to seal and impound the relevant parts of cars 11 and 18 in preparation for conducting a detailed analysis of those pieces. The representative is further directed to provide a detailed report to the Stewards with the findings and to include an assessment that matches those findings against the alleged infringements outlined in the protest.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Is any team prepared to resist the ‘rise of the clones’?
The representative is authorized in the name of the Stewards to call upon such outside technical assistance, including representatives of the following teams
– Renault DP World F1 Team
– BWT Racing Point F1 Team
– Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
in the conduct of their assessment.

Furthermore, the Stewards ordered the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team to provide the front and rear brake air ducts of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ used by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in the 2019 season to the FIA Technical Department for examination.

When the likely submission date of the assessment can be determined, the FIA Technical Department representative will communicate that to the Chairman of the Stewards so that the next meeting to assess the claims can be scheduled.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Stewards request Mercedes supply parts of 2019 car after Renault protest Racing Point”

  1. This may take a while….

    Prediction: it will fizzle away

    1. I don’t know about that… Would be easy for the Stewards to simply say they are satisfied that the car is legal as they have done previously… However Renault may have played a blinder here by protesting a part that is really easy to impound and compare to the Mercedes car.

      Assuming Mercedes have any 2019 parts left after sending them all to Racing Point…

      1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        12th July 2020, 23:26

        Ha ha. The wording sounds complicated but maybe the test is that simple, ask Mercedes to supply 2019 parts and if they can’t we know why!

  2. *Microwave bell*

    Alright, popcorn’s ready!

    1. Sorry, it is burned.

    2. Reminds me of Prost back in the 80s:

      If I can’t win I’ll go to the stewards and get somebody else disqualified.

      1. He didn’t have to do that as long as Jean-Marie Balestre was in charge.

  3. There will probably be several versions of every important part over the year.
    If Mercedes has indeed handed out their exact design specs or parts to Racing Point then they will know well which versions are safe to hand over to the FIA and which are not.

    So nothing will result from this, one way or another.

    1. Also, the Albon test already proved Perez’s Racing Point is not a Mercedes.
      A tap on the rear wheel did not force Albon out of the points. Instead Perez lost his wing.

      1. it’s the 2019 merc tho… and it’s pink! so it is entirely different, right?

      2. That’s only means that 2020′ mercedes is a foward step when compared to the 2019’s version.

        1. The wet qualiflier is also clear RP isn’t a Mercedes that both cars were awefull and the 2019 one was quit good.

          1. That may not be the case. It could be that RP don’t understand their car properly. I couldn’t speculate why that might be….

  4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    12th July 2020, 20:29

    I really can’t imagine this going anywhere. What even happens if the protest is successful? Would Racing Point have to redesign their car?

    1. just the brake ducts i guess. and according to racing point, the DID design their own car ;-)

    2. disqualified from previous races,for a start
      not redesign but substastially modify the design after that

  5. I fail to see how Brake Air Ducts are not a part of Braking system, which Racing Point officially buys from Mercedes…

    1. Probably they are counted towards aero-parts, which should be designed by teams themselves.

      Anyway, checking basic photos show that W10’s and RP20’s Brake ducts are different.
      Let’s see what stewards think.

  6. Which team(‘s protest) caused Renault’s disqualification last year?

    1. It rhymes with tracing point.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        13th July 2020, 12:43

        Also rhymes with prancing point. That was a horrible blow by RP but Renault were clearly doing something illegal.

  7. So the brake ducts are the key to success. Easy fix for Renault then. Lucky Alonso.

    1. @zomtec you’ve got to start your investigation somewhere. If the ducts are not legal, you can keep searching until you peel off the racing point sticker to see the Mercedes AMG logo.

      1. @fer-no65 that would be a really funny cartoony scene for Drive to Survive xD

      1. Pretty sure it was a joke.

  8. RocketTankski
    12th July 2020, 20:57

    First the brake ducts, then every other part of the car (except the paint and decals).

  9. Renault may think everything, but even looking at W10 and RP20 – it is clear the air ducts are not the same.
    Yes, they look similar, but that’s about it.

    Don’t think this will go anywhere.

  10. What’s the background here? Is the allegation here that the 2020 Racing Point is essentially a rebadged 2019 Merc?

    1. Yes, I think. Renault is arguing that Racing Point does not own the intellectual property to the parts that are outside of the listed parts section in the rules. You are perfectly allowed to buy those from another team and RP did so from Mercedes (gearbox, suspension, etc).

      The parts outside of that list can be delivered from a third party, but cannot be a competitor in the sport. Haas for instance outsources the rest of its design to Dallara.

      Racing Point’s argument is that they simply copied the design and Mercedes had nothing to do with it and does not protest the copying of their IP. It’s a loophole in the thought process of the Haas philosophy, but if the FIA interprets this the other way this could cost RP dearly.

      1. Thank you – great explanation.

    2. No.
      The assume brake ducts are violating IP ownership violations.

      Nothing about any other part or “cppy” of Mercedes

  11. Can’t wait until the bubble bursts and Mercedes with the Racing Point will be disqualified from the season for illegally sharing tons of technical information.

    1. Mercedes laughs at your animosity, and just keeps winning, year after year after year.

    2. Keep waiting then, I guess. I hope you have a lot of time on your hands.

    3. lol, even if they are disqualified they will still have more points than Ferrari by the end of the season with than engine and team dynamics :)

  12. This will amount to nothing. The FIA has already looked at both Racing Point and Mercedes designs side by side and agree they’re fine. The only issue is if the Racing Point car is actually different to the designs they sent to the FIA, or if the Mercedes part is different to the designs the FIA saw – and then only if they are considered “identical” enough to be a problem.

  13. If you can’t beat them, try to get them banned.

    It is the Renault way. Politics and sleaze.

    1. Or get your second driver to crash allowing your lead driver to inherit a win.

    2. Sounds a little bit like the 2019 Japanese GP, doesn’t it? ;)
      Store up a protest until you can benefit from it.

    3. It’s actually the Ferrari way.. but I guess other teams have to follow their lead.

    4. Like RP did to Renault last year?
      I really liked Force India – lean, fast and good performers even when things are tough. Haven’t appreciated how RP have acted from inception – send FI broke rather than pay a fair price. Then grift payments you’re not entitled to from FOM. Smacks too much of the way Bernie like things done.

  14. I wonder if they’ve done some smart cad modelling using huge amounts of photo and video data to create a model that is close and then fine tuned the model until overlaid in all directions the surfaces mapped correctly. They would then just need to run it through simulations to fine tune and run some wind tunnel tests to understand the philosophy. If they’ve legitimately come up with a way to model another competitors designs from 2d then no car design is safe now or in the future and others will follow this method.

    1. Photogrammetry is a thing, and the technology has improved massively over the last decade or so. If you just videofilm an object from all angles, using a modern ultra HD camera with a known lens specification, you can then process the frames as separate still photographs and recreate the shape of that object very accurately. Glare and lighting could be an issue, but there are workarounds. All you need then is a scale reference, say the wheels for example since they are the same size for all F1 teams, and there you have it. It is then a matter of manually creating cad models that match the photogrammetry data, and I suspect that is what RP has done. There is no way the cad models are created in the exact same way as the originals. It is also unclear how much under the skin that is as similar to last years Mercedes as the external bodywork.

      Could RP have cheated? As I see it yes, if they received drawings / cad data from Mercedes. That would however be easier proven by comparing cad data rather than actual physical parts, I think. This seems to be more of a clarification request of the rules. Is it allowed to recreate other peoples work, even if you make everything from scratch? Then the followup question is, where do you draw the line? If someone introduces something new, like a T-wing or whatever, how closely can other teams adopt the same idea legally if you are not allowed to copy anything?

      1. I would have assumed it’s not. The rules require you to “design” the parts yourself; the process you have described is not “design” in any meaningful sense any more than in would be if they’d snuck into Brackley after hours and made off with a couple of servers full of CAD data…

        1. I think my point was, other than describing one process of how it could be done, that if different teams come up with the same design, how do you PROVE that they didn’t just find the same solution to be the optimal? When have you illegally copied something? In reality it looks very much as if RP has copied last years Mercedes, I totally agree with that, but that doesn’t matter unless it can be actually proven to be the case. The big picture here is questioning the entire rule book because it is contradicting itself by very specifically describing and restricting what you are allowed to do yet demand that you don’t do the same as someone else.

  15. Good to Mclaren staying away from this.

    1. I don’t think McLaren cares, since they seem to be able to beat the Tracing Point anyway!

    2. And Haas… just think about how ironic it would be if the team that started this whole copycat philosophy in recent times actually launches a protest at the next team that copied their approach.

  16. I very much expect this will be a case of

    RP- ‘Hey Mercedes, Can we copy your homework?’
    MB- ‘Ermm, i don’t know…’
    RP- ‘Toto says it’s ok’
    MB- ‘Well, ok, i guess, just change it a little bit so the teacher…i mean, erm, FIA doesn’t notice, ok?’
    RP- ‘Way ahead of you…’.

    Even if there has been any wrongdoing, It’s going to be totally unprovable unless somebody whistleblows that Mercedes handed over some blueprints to RP.

    There’s no way RP are running any spec of any Merc designed parts (aside from what’s allowed) unaltered.

  17. Briatore still manages Alonso?
    Hmm……..
    I smell a rat here.

    1. Do you mean two rats?

      1. Yes, thanks for the correction. :)
        So he’s still allowed in a F1 paddock !??
        With their history I wouldn’t be surprised if we see ‘Renault’ protest all the other teams, his client’s going to need all the help he can get.

  18. Renault is smart. Their specific protest leave the door open for themselves and other teams to log another protest on various other parts.

  19. They need to send the molds and CNC details to the FIA, not just the parts.
    It’s always been ok to copy designs and ideas and make them your own. But you have to make them your own, not use the drawings, molds, CNC programs, or actual parts from a competitor. This will drag on.

  20. What I don’t understand is the double standard between Haas and Racing Point. Heavens fell down on Haas because of how they operate, from acquiring all the parts legally allowed by the regs to the design of the car by Dallara. How many articles, opinion pieces, critics, outcries were done because they were benefiting from their relationship with Ferrari and a suppose unfair advantage? With this whole situation with this year’s Racing Point car, the most we see are dad jokes and funny puns about a clear plagiarism (which is not a lighthearted issue) of Racing Point and the compliance of Mercedes team. If this is acceptable by Mercedes HQ, I guess they are okay if a new automaker just blatantly copies their design and starts selling cars that look alike. Plagiarism is a serious issue (it’s cheating) whether in motorsports or in our daily lives. This is not a case of copying a concept, like the double diffuser or the front wing.

    1. Probably because Haas set a precedent that it was okay so its not seen as a big deal now.

      Also plagiarism is only an issue when the original source has a problem. Ferrari and Mercedes do not appear to have a problem here with Haas/RP so plagiarism is not the right word to use because thats usually there to protect the source.

      Now if you do not design some part’s yourself, it is against the rules but RP on the surface appears to comply with this. The FIA has already checked their designs out, what is not certain is whether they built the car to their design – or rather the FIA now have to do a more through check because of a protest.

      1. @yaru The term when the originator doesn’t have a problem with it is collusion. I don’t see how that’s better than plagiarism.

  21. Spoiler alert
    ” THE FIA AND RACING POINT F1 TEAM HAVE RESOLVED THE ISSUE CONFIDENTIALLY ”
    🤭🤭

    1. Good one. The precedent has been established.

      Next week, RP brakes will be 0.7 seconds slower on the straights. :)))))

      1. @svianna yes it has. I think the FIA in hindsight must be really rueing that Ferrari decision. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t?

  22. All right FIA lads, a 3D scanner can do the trick, even in parc ferme, without making any fuss about it. The check could last couple of minutes to complete.

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