Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Racing Point expects FIA to dismiss “misconceived” Renault protest against its cars

2020 F1 season

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Racing Point has responded to Renault’s protest against its cars following the Styrian Grand Prix, calling it “misconceived and poorly informed”.

Renault lodged a protest against Racing Point, whose cars finished sixth and seventh in yesterday’s race. Their result remains provisional while the FIA examines Renault’s protest, which concerns similarities between the design of the brake ducts on the RP20 and those on last year’s championship-winning Mercedes.

“BWT Racing Point F1 Team is extremely disappointed to see its results in the Styrian Grand Prix questioned by what it considers to be a misconceived and poorly informed protest,” said Racing Point in a statement received by RaceFans.

“Any and all suggestion of wrongdoing is firmly rejected and the team will take all steps necessary to ensure the correct application of the regulations to the facts.”

The outward similarities between the RP20 and last year’s Mercedes W10 has made Racing Point a target for speculation since the car first appeared during pre-season testing. While the team has openly admitted adopting the same aerodynamic philosophy as the world championship, whose power units and gearbox it uses, it has insisted the design of the RP20’s ‘listed parts’ are original, as required by F1’s rules.

“Prior to the start of the season, the team co-operated fully with the FIA and satisfactorily addressed all questions regarding the origins of the design of the RP20,” the statement continued.

“The team is confident that the protest will be dismissed once it has presented its response.”

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Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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69 comments on “Racing Point expects FIA to dismiss “misconceived” Renault protest against its cars”

  1. Exactly.

    I feel Renault’s protest is just a revenge for last year, and a sore taste after being beaten by yet another team.

    More so, I even think Alonso has some special clause in contract, voiding it, in case Renault does finish lower than some designated position (I would guess 3rd or 4th) in the Championship in 2020.

    1. Correction – 4th or 5th (after two awful races, I have forgotten about Ferrari).

  2. renault’s suzuka penalty was dumb, this is not, same for haas and tauri. Renault shouldn’t have to do this. F1 should be strong enough to not let Mercedes and RB dictate everything, but the money these 2 names bring is massive and fleeting, they can leave without notice. ferrari has a lot of influence but they are tied to the sport and there are 2 reasons they have not won a thing in 10 years.
    As much as I like that pink mercedes, as a fan I’d rather have a new car on the grid, it is no use for f1 to have this situation, by default they are slower than a current year car, no point in competing then, this only makes f1 look better, like a drs, they only look to be closer to the top, they have no chance anyway, just look at what happened to perez in the austrian gp, couldn’t pit as he could have actually won.

    1. *facepalm*

      Mercedes is not dictating anyone anything here.
      RP is just following what is allowed. Nothing more.

    2. Liberty isnt strong enough to strip Veto and Mafia tax of Italian outfit. What makes you think they will do be able to strip the special benifits of RBR, Merc and Ferraris which Bernie had given them few years back.

    3. Renault penalty was justified as it broke the rules, this doesn’t break the rules.

      Also “let Mercedes and RB dictate” everything? Funny there is one brand that you omit to mention that have more money than those two and gets an even bigger bonus…..

      1. hoiw do you know it doesnt break the rules? look at the photos of the brake ducts, they look the same. also look at the cars, they look the same. The fact that the stewards are investigating it instead of dismissing the protest says something dont you think?

    4. There is no rule limiting how much a team can copy another by way of viewing and copying open source information. I wish all the teams had done this from the get go. We’d have a lot more good racing.

      1. in question here is how much inside the car is from mercedes handing racing point information. there is heaps going on under the skin, not just the obvious outside copy. many teams have visually copied other cars over the years to completely fail, while racing point are fast.

    5. There is no rule limiting how much a team can copy another by way of viewing and copying open source information. I wish all the teams had done this from the get go. We’d have a lot more good racing. I can’t wait for this to be declared legal and see all the other back markers adopt the same philosophy for 2021.

      1. So essentially you want to see more teams copying the mercedes. How would it then be different than a spec series? Just let mercedes supply each team with their car and there will be a lot of good racing

  3. Spoiler alert
    “THE FIA AND BWT RACING POINT F1 TEAM HAVE REACHED A CONFIDENTIAL AGREEMENT AND SETTLEMENT “. R.P drops performance levels, and conspiracy theories follow.

    Would be hilarious!😄😄

    1. Haha!

      That would be hilarious!

    2. Not going to happen

  4. I genuinely hope that Racing Point have designed it themselves – we need another team in the hunt for podiums.

    1. @sham

      Seriously doubt that Racing point are capable of designing the 3rd fastest car on the grid… they’ve never managed it before, but suddenly a partnership with Mercedes emerges, and the next season they have a Pink version of Mercedes’ 2019 car and are the third fastest car on the grid?!?

      This is even more blatant than Ferrari’s engine cheat.

      1. @Todfod Last time Racing Point had the money to attempt to design the 3rd fastest car on the grid, they were called Jordan. Remember there’s a lot more money there than there’s been for a long time.

      2. @todfod this is absolute nonsense, Force India were 4th in 2016 and 2017 and were fighting for 4th in 2018 until they ran out of money. The only change is Ferrari have no longer got a cheating engine and RP have strong funding so this is not at all surprising.

  5. Off track is more entertainment than on track already!

  6. Spoiler Alert….

    Crossing of t’s and dotting of i’s is all that is required here.

    Once they have checked the ducts all will be found to be in order.

    Case closed. No foul play found.

    Just some very talented reverse engineering.

    Mercedes really would not be stupid enough to assist another team to cheat. If they’ve somehow got the designs and used them then we have another spygate on our hands. Highly unlikely.

    1. The point is: even if they completely reverse engineered it, can that be considered “designing”? Who designed the car, or parts of it, in first stance? In my opinion, and this is where Renault can push, the designer is the original one. The copy is of course a design itself, but lacks the originality part.

      So in my opinion, Racing Point didn’t designed that car, it was Mercedes who designed it. It must be clarified if the Racing Point project has been directly supported or not by Mercedes, but from my point of view, if Racing Point is using non-listed parts that are copied (with assistance or not) from another team, they should be disqualified.

      1. Red Bull is openly talking about copying DAS. Should they also be disqualified, if they use it? Lots of teams copied the double diffusor. Lots of teams copied parts of the Red Bull, McLaren even once ran an almost identical front wing.

        This has been part of the game forever and there is no way – and no reason – to stop it. With their push to open source the FIA is even encouraging it.

        I am surprised that copying a brake duct design is even an issue. In their defence all Racing Point has to say is: yes, we took pictures of the Mercedes and then copied their brake ducts. The FIA will say: fine by us. Which they have probably already said to Racing Point prior to the season.

        Maybe this protest it similar to the one by Red Bull against DAS. It is aimed more at getting further information, than at really succeeding. If Racing Point has to divulge information on exactly how they did it, then Renault can use this information for future designs. That is probably also the reason why no other team is interested in a protest.

        1. @uzsjgb copying a concept is different from copying the entire car though

        2. If Racing Point have looked at publicly available pictures and have simply copied what they could see then they have worked it out for themselves. Fine. It seems very strange that despite nearly a decade of dominance by Mercedes, no other teams have tried this though!

          If Mercedes have provided any information to Racing Point regarding these parts then Racing Point haven’t done it on their own.

          For me, it’s either supplied parts (illegal), some sort of spygate scenario (illegal) or Racing Point have done what I expect all midfield teams to do going forward – copy the previous season’s winning car.

          1. The issue is other teams may inspire you to create something new but you can’t create a fully identical copy because if you do, you’re in violation of “In the case of the Outsourcing of design, such third party shall not be a competitor or a party that directly or indirectly designs Listed Parts for any competitor”.

            IE you didn’t design it, they did. Yours is just a knock-off.

    2. I haven’t yet understood the “reasoning” behind these conspiracy theories. Why would Mercedes risk everything it has built up just to assist another team? Especially in such an obvious way? It just doesn’t make sense.

      I also think that it is impossible that Racing Point somehow got the designs. They can’t hide what they have done, it is clear for all to see. It seems logical, that they would have gotten the go ahead from the FIA early on. Anything else would have been much too risky.

      But here’s my conspiracy theory:
      With all the shiny new cash Racing Point built up a second design team. While the first design team was working on the designs by Mercedes, the second design team was drawing up fake designs, which could be presented to the FIA as originals. And then Racing Point established a super secret third team, which came up with a fool-proof way to keep all the people from teams one and two from talking about what they know.

      1. @uzsjgb

        I haven’t yet understood the “reasoning” behind these conspiracy theories. Why would Mercedes risk everything it has built up just to assist another team? Especially in such an obvious way? It just doesn’t make sense.

        Playing the devil’s advocate : Lawrence Stroll who bought Racing Point has also bought Aston Martin. His friend Toto Wolf holds a minor stake in Aston Martin. I think his friend wouldn’t mind help him get his new team up and running closer to the front so his son start scoring some podiums and who knows maybe some wins.
        Guess what, that would be an incredible story that every investigator would fall in love with :)

    3. On the contrary, Mercedes helping a team to be quicker would aid them. Red bull previously just had to concentrate on trying to catch Mercedes, but now have to be looking over their shoulders for a car capable of getting past them or qualifying in front of them. It makes tactical sense. If RP take points from Red bull over the season it will help the Silver Arrows.

      1. And not just that – the Mercedes brand would benefit from having more cars with their engines further up the grid.
        How’s Ferrari looking now, with their own team in the mid-field and their two customers at the back…

        1. People looking to buy a Ferrari are influenced by how well Haas does in Formula 1?

          Do Mercedes buyers really ignore the success of the Mercedes team and instead think that Mercedes builds bad cars because Williams is so slow?

          Weird, but on the other hand I’ve never owned a car, so I wouldn’t know how car owners think.

          1. Well, I don’t buy into the marketing and hype, but a lot of people do.
            Mercedes, and indeed the other 3 manufacturers, are not in F1 just for racing. F1 is a marketing venture and it’s mostly about brand awareness for them. F1 is their advertising, and losing isn’t sending a good message.

      2. So what you are saying is that sometime in the middle of last season, when Mercedes had won almost every single race, they decided they would need help from a second team in order to keep on winning?

    4. Let’s be clear – Mercedes can do whatever they wish with their intellectual property. Sell it, share it, make it public and downloadable through Torrents and Dark Web.

      It is all up to RP to prove to FIA (and anyone), that they hold IP rights and designed particular car parts.
      So, there’s no potential for any Spygate here (of course unless RP stole the designs)

  7. This is so bad. No technical nor legal defense whatsoever.

    1. Ok, that’s all cleared up then. I’m so happy that we have an insider on both teams design departments.

    2. And you are part of Technical commission set to investigate the case based on public announcements?

  8. Even if Racing Point is cleared (and I expect they will be) that doesn’t mean that they didn’t receive data from Mercedes and modify it just enough to appear as though it’s their own design.
    There’s only two ways that Racing Point could know for sure that their car is different to the Mercedes – either they really did design it themselves (or reverse engineer it via visual means only), or they had data from Mercedes and modified in order to avoid any technical/regulatory issues.

    If Mercedes don’t protest (and why would they – given their ‘technical partnership’ and the fact that Racing Point are no threat to them) then there’s no case to be answered, I’d imagine.

    It’s sad that F1 is devolving into a copying game rather than an innovation/development competition – but with so much money to be gained, who can blame a mid-field team for doing it that way?

    1. It’s always been a copying game, since the very beginning. With the of innovation thrown in.

      1. This is true.
        But rarely, if ever, has it been this blatant and all encompassing – not since F1 was mainly an engine formula, rather than an aerodynamic one, at least.

        1. Hundreds of examples, even watching Ted’s notebook pointing out the new parts… “First seen on the Red Bull/Ferrari/Merc etc etc”. They are constantly copying, improving, being copied and so on. By having it first, you understand it best and capitalise most.

          1. When was the last time you saw an entire car copied?

          2. @ S : Off the top of my head? Ligier Renault JS37 (1992) and Williams Renault FW14 (1991).
            Copying is in F1’s blood. Admittedly, RP is doing it quite blatantly, as did Ligier back then. But as someone else posted: with Mercedes doing its own design thing for so long and yet winning all the time, I’m surprised it took this long for someone to try and copy the winning formula.

  9. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    13th July 2020, 12:26

    Copying is fairly normal in F1 but I can’t think of an instance like this where a team has copied someone’s ENTIRE car. The Haas/Alpha Tauri’s clearly use a lot of pieces of the older Ferrari/Red Bulls but they’re obviously not direct fabrications – neither team can replicate the same pace of the parent car. Racing Point’s RP20 doesn’t have the pace of the W10 but it’s not that far off. If they did ‘reverse engineer’ the W10, does that mean they designed it or does the IP of whatever part still belong to Mercedes, as they created it originally?

    Thing is I doubt there’s anything in the rules that explicitly says you CAN’T do this. So while not breaking a rule it’s probably not in the spirit of them. Renault may be trying to close a loophole than actually damage RP.

    1. @rocketpanda

      I can’t think of an instance like this where a team has copied someone’s ENTIRE car.

      The 2004 Sauber was a near identical copy of the 2003 Ferrari & I believe Sauber’s explanation as to why was the same as Racing points.

      1. The Toro Rosso team debuted with the STR1, which was a near identical copy of the previous year’s Red Bull RB1.

      2. To add, I’m pretty sure the next Toro Rosso was another Red Bull copy (the RB3 this time). It got protested by Williams, IIRC but Red Bull created a loophole by forming Red Bull Technologies as a separate entity that Adrian Newey worked for, & so on paper both teams used an “independent” third party as allowed by the rules.

        1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
          14th July 2020, 0:45

          Tbh I didn’t count much of the earlier Toro Rosso’s as Toro Rosso didn’t copy the previous Red Bull, it literally was the previous Red Bull. Same with the Super Aguris ‘copying’ the previous year’s Honda – it literally was last year’s Honda. Both teams tweaked it a little but it was barely a secret that they were the same machine.

          If this is a case of RP accurately duplicating the previous Mercedes then they presumably extrapolated the design from photos in a similar way to how other tech innovations are replicated, meaning it may be the first or at least one of the first ENTIRE cars to duplicated in such a manner. Unless RP did in fact get their hands on a W10 or a blueprint like TR/SA did… in which case isn’t that hardcore cheating?

  10. If i was to copy a car i would copy the championship winnong car. Why would i copy the second best?

    1. Why not have some challenge and copy Haas? :D

  11. You can use photogrammetry, run it through a program and you can get a design within a few mm of another car. Only thing I can think of is would the Arrows vs Shadow situation where if the designs are so similar would UK copyright law be trumping the F1 sporting regs.

  12. Everyone’s political until the true facts start to surface. We have to be patient.

  13. If the Pink Mercedes is declared legal, the 2007 Metallic Ferrari should be deemed legal too. F1 is in a really bad situation here, because they would have to turn back a decision they made 13 years ago to disqualify McLaren.

    Like Helmut said, it is not a copy! It is the original. They have either spied on Mercedes, or they have been given it by Mercedes. The fact that Mercedes are not raising questions themselves, how some team can drive their exact same car, points towards the design being handed to RP.

    I can see it. I can smell it. And this entire thing stinks!

    1. Silly.
      The car is different. You just look at the car and see it. Check photos if you wish. Except similarities you will not find anything identical.

    2. The difference between the 2007 McLaren and the 2020 Racing Point is that in 2007 there was proof of cheating. My understanding is that the FIA has already looked at the Racing Point and is happy that there isn’t cheating.

      Also, in 2007, there was no proof any of the Ferrari intellectual property ended up on the McLaren.

      The way I see this is that Racing Point have either been…
      a) very clever, and used images and videos to make a fast car based on a fast car.
      Or…
      b) rather stupid, using stolen property to make a clone.

      I don’t think any of the top staff at Racing Point are stupid enough to race a car that is almost guaranteed to be protested if there were any reasons to be concerned.

      1. Also, in 2007, there was no proof any of the Ferrari intellectual property ended up on the McLaren.

        Except for a ~700 pages design document with all the necessary information (design, floor,suspensions, wings, weight distribution, aero…) found at the disposal of McLaren chief designer’s wife.

        1. They had the information, that was proved. It was never proven to be on McLarens car.

          1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
            14th July 2020, 0:54

            I mean in 2007 McLaren were booted out the championship for having used Ferrari IP in their design, so… there was proof they had it and enough to say they used it. In fact I remember the FIA were meant to take a look at the 2008 McLaren as well to ensure no further Ferrari IP was used but couldn’t reasonably separate which parts were McLaren and which were Ferrari, so allowed it. But OP’s kinda right. If the Pink Mercedes is legal, then you could probably make a reasonable argument that 07’s Silver Ferrari is too.

    3. @spafrancorchamps The 2007 McLaren was demonstrated to have included another team’s intellectual property, by way of the document being printed off media at a local copy shop.

      The idea of anyone being that careless in 2020 is absurd, and without evidence that intellectual property changed hands, a non-identical pair of components would be said to have different intellectual property attached.

  14. Wasn’t Sauber’s first car inspired by the FW14B? I see no reason for racing point to be concerned. This has been done a lot over the years and afterall they share a lot of merc architecture so it makes sense that if the dimensions are still the same on the engine side that they can try and copy what can visually be seen. Brake ducts included.

  15. I don’t think they have simply copy pasted the design of last year merc… Yes their design referencr is based on last year’s which they openly admitted. Green told in the beginning of the season that they wanted to take up the design philosophy of merc i.e. low rake angle as this will work well with the gearbox and the engine but from the beginning of force India they were following RBR philosophy (high rake) and they have realised that have hit the limit with their design( this also Green admitted).. but till last year they never had the budget to switch to merc design philosophy… Now that they have got their funds they thought of doing that… And given their nature of providing more in less money they have come up with the idea of taking the reference(not copies of design from merc straight away) of last year’s merc instead of going from scratch(which even Green said)… And they built this car… I believe they can do this coz this is the same design team who has come up with innovations even when they were cash strapped (Remember the nostrils of Vjm09 2016) and they gave a car under those conditions which finished fourth in construction championship more than once.. so I guess they have done a good job again with the cash in hand, time in hand( it was only for this year as the rules were completely about to change in 2021) and ofcourse the study of W10… 😊

  16. The fact that no one has copied another team’s car to this extent before, at least recently, doesn’t mean it’s illegal to do.

    First, every year we get better and more advanced photography and computer modeling software, so the ability to create a nearly 1:1 replica through legal means becomes easier. Second, the teams hire and pay an army of engineers, who tend to believe they can create a better solution than anyone else. That’s why they entered an explicitly competitive engineering field. Generally, that means copying someone else’s entire car is not an appealing idea. Third, it’s a year-old car. There’s a ceiling on how competitive that will be, especially as the season progresses and you have to try to develop it even more.

    So the point is that I suspect the Racing Point is legal, but also that there’s no reason to overreact to this like the sport is ending. It’s a product of the transitional phase before the new car concept comes out in 2022.

  17. Alfa Romeo should copy Ferrari as well, as current car is a disaster.

  18. I’m happy the protest has been lodged.

    Let’s get the official ruling and put this to bed one way or another.

    If it’s dismissed, all credit to RP for being able to “copy” so we’ll from photos and other means.
    If it’s upheld and they’re found to be doing something illegal, credit to Renault for using proper channels rather than whinging to the media.

    With luck – this should be a non issue by the end of the week.

    1. @dbradock

      If it’s dismissed, all credit to RP for being able to “copy” so we’ll from photos and other means.
      If it’s upheld and they’re found to be doing something illegal, credit to Renault for using proper channels rather than whinging to the media.

      There’s no way they can prove that Racing point cheated unless there is a whistleblower.. so I expect them to be acquitted of all charges. It’s a waste of time to be honest… we all know the Racing point copied every aspect of last year’s Mercedes… every F1 fan can see that, but there’s no way of proving it without a rat.

      1. @todfod A quick look at the sidepods suggests that Racing Point did not copy “every aspect” of the Mercedes.

        1. @alianora-la-canta

          Sorry.. they copied 99% of the car.

          1. @todfod Deliberate resemblance is not copying, and in IP cases that is a critical distinction.

          2. @alianora-la-canta

            Personally, I don’t have the knowledge or experience to comment on the legal angle of IP theft. But ‘deliberate resemblance’ just sounds like synonym of “copying” in non legal language.

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