Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Hungaroring, 2020

Racing Point prove teams with small budgets can be competitive – Wolff

2020 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Racing Point’s performance shows it is “absurd” to claim Formula 1 teams with smaller budgets cannot compete with the front-runners, says Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

The two RP20s, which are the subject of a protest by Renault owing to their similarity to Mercedes’ championship-winning 2019 car, achieved their strongest qualifying performance so far this year in Hungary. Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez claimed the second row of the grid, nine-tenths of a second slower than the Mercedes drivers.

“I am happy for Racing Point because we were hearing in the past years always that the smaller teams on the smaller budgets were not able to compete at the at the front,” said Wolff. “And here we go, somebody with a vision and with an idea of where to prioritise has managed to really make the jump from the midfield into the top teams.

“The Racing Point is a podium contender, if not a race-winning contender going forward. And it proves that with the right leadership, the right decision making process and the right funding, you can actually accelerate your development curve. So [there’s] lessons to be learned and I’m happy to see them there.”

The FIA stewards asked Mercedes to supply examples of the brake ducts from its 2019-specification car in order to rule on renault’s claim against Racing Point. But Wolff said he has no concerns about the legality of the RP20.

“I can’t judge it because I’m not looking under the bodywork,” he said. “I think that from our side everything has been within the regulations.

“Racing Point has been in close contact, as far as I understand, with the FIA about the whole process. They seem to have re-engineered our car, they have bought non-listed parts from us last year and they’re just doing a good job.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Wolff said he agrees with the FIA’s head of single seater matter, Nikolas Tombazis, that the row of the car is “less a technical discussion, more philosophical discussion.

“Should the smaller teams to be allowed to be supplied parts from the bigger teams for less R&D, and the bigger teams to make out to make some business out of it? Or should everybody just develop their own chassis in their own R&D? Which, as a consequence, would mean there is probably a two-tier society even with a cost cap.”

Racing Point’s approach has shown other teams the best way to become competitive, Wolff believes.

“All the complaining we heard last year that the smaller teams are never able to compete for pole positions and podiums and race wins is being shown it’s absurd.

“Because Racing Point is right up there, they are faster in some corners than we are. And it’s a good challenge to see that. I have no doubt that Racing Point will be a hard nut to crack on some of the circuits for us as well.

“So take the right decisions and deploy your resources where you think they are well-deployed and then I think you can have a quick car. So in that respect, I’m happy that there is that there is a process in place that will clarify those regulations, will make it transparent for all stakeholders what the FIA and FOM wish to happen in the future and then we move on from that.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

58 comments on “Racing Point prove teams with small budgets can be competitive – Wolff”

  1. Don’t know how he said that with a straight face.

    1. And why not?
      Everything is within regulations. If other teams don’t want to do the same – who is there to blame?

    2. He said teams with an insider trader can be competitive. Is this the future of f1 under budget caps? A team with a small budget being competitive, the fact the car was created and built by another team is just a detail.

    3. Agreed.

      For 2 reasons.
      1) Gifted drawings of proven winning cars …
      2) Toto was whining loudest about the incoming budget cap a year ago.

  2. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    18th July 2020, 20:24

    I’m sorry but this is absolute rubbish. With the amount of investment that Racing Point are getting – and soon to be essentially a manufacturer backed outfit, they are not a ‘small team’ anymore – and that’s without going into the point the only reason they’re fighting for poles, podiums and race wins is because they have literally duplicated an existing car!

    1. They is not and will not be a manufacturer-backed team.

    2. @rocketpanda It is not a duplicate, it is a w10b.

      1. @peartree Just a look-alike from the outside, but not the actual W10.

  3. Well basically he says they are just within the rules. And he is taking a go at past Force India Management and current Williams Management while he’s at it.

  4. Just wait till some less than smart bearers of ill feelings will vent their frustration in comments here.

    On his words – well, F1 is going to become stock-racing anyway with 2022 regulations, so whatever is allowed to be purchased now – makes perfect sense for team to exploit.
    First it was Haas, they had a good starting season. Then it went worse because their engineering team couldn’t make every bought part work with their own ideas.
    The RP realized they can buy parts and copy ideas of the design from the original – now they reap their rewards.

    We either ban sales of any components, or everybody should have been ready for RP situation.

    1. Don’t know if it’s illegal or not, but this RP seems something more “ellaborate” than the cooperation between Haas and Ferrari.

    2. @dallein : we do not criticise RP (well, I guess at least the majority here), but the ill system

      1. “ill system” because it does not trigger new fans (nor old ones) to enthusiasm of former decades, when all cars look the same => no design is outstanding — nor technology

    3. [a feature for voting up / down comments would be nice — instead of (let me look) NO feature at all to rate comments]

  5. Have I missed something?

    Since when a car that’s 9 tenths off the pace is competing for poles or wins? Because we’ve seen midfield cars get within 1 second of the pole in the past (or even take a pole), and they didn’t exactly win that many races (a grand total of 0 if my memory doesn’t fail me).

    I guess since Red Bull and Ferrari are too slow to be a “credible” threat, Toto needs to exaggerate Racing Point’s pace.

    1. This was my thought too. They are still a mile away, well several miles at the end of the race. Just cause RB and Ferrari can’t build a decent challenger and they end up 2 row.

      1. Well isn’t that a convenient business model for Mercedes? If they copy you, then they are always one step behind..

  6. Something stinks here.

    1. Yep. Redbull and Ferrari.

  7. He’s taking a massive blow to the face to the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull for what he believes is “overspending”, basically… using a lot of money only to end up behind budget friendly copies of the top car.

    It’s like saying “Red Bull should’ve saved money and copied our car, they’d be doing better…”.

    1. Perfectly agree with you. There’s a specific word for Toto Wolff’s current behavior, it’s hubris. That’s a very unfortunate declaration by Wolf, very arrogant. Recall that RP is currently under investigation by FIA, given Renault official protest, but instead of being careful with that, Wolff arrogantly declares that RP should be a model for RBR and FE.

  8. Wolff’s an awful snake.

  9. Racing Point has been in close contact, as far as I understand, with the FIA about the whole process

    So the FIA do have all the details about the RP magic photocopier. This trick is getting old. Involve the FIA for pretending the process transparency and hide the actual truth (technology transfer), the FIA then can’t contradict itself especially with Nikolas Tomabazis in charge.

    1. Wild imaginations…

  10. It’s not the fact that they copied the 2019 Mercedes that gets me. Teams copy parts from other teams all the time. It’s the fact that they used the same aero concept of the 2019 Mercedes for the entire car essentially making a copy of the entire car and got it working as well as the 2019 Mercedes in real world results suffering no correlation issues and no teething problems whatsoever. That’s what gets me. How similar it performs to the Mercedes on track. They’ve had no setup issues, no drivability issues, no correlation issues, nothing. In a sport where minute details can cause the balance to become unstable and the car to behave completely different, it’s hard to believe that they merely just copied from photos

    1. That’s a very good point

      1. But Hass did the same no?

        Romain came 6th in their first ever race. Did you complain then?

        1. @lums haas never copied parts 1:1 from Ferrari. Even so, they did get quite a lot of flack for it in the beginning. But later in the season when they couldn’t develop it like Ferrari did, the flack died off because we knew then that they have no insight into what Ferrari is doing. They bought everything they could and designed the aero themselves. The car didn’t just work out of the box all the time like the RP does. They had issues, brake issues spring to mind and of course they couldn’t match Ferrari’s development through the season. It also seems that since the 2017 regs came they’ve been struggling with the aero. Even Williams was fast in 2014-15. Seems the older regs suited them better.

          If the RP turns out to be 100% genuine, so be it, I’ve got no issues then. In that case they’ve got some very talented engineers which need a pay rise. And teams such as Red Bull and Ferrari and Renault should be looking to hire them straight away, not for inside info about the car, but for pure talent in copying a car from photos, understanding and reproducing it’s aero and mechanical philosophy so well not only in the wind tunnel but also one track, and exploiting its maximum in car setup, not making any errors along the way, not being put off by warm or cool temps, wind conditions, track layout, and driver preferences. Because in that case m, that’s exactly what they’ve done. And for me at the moment, that’s pretty hard to believe.

          1. RP or force India is one team that genuinely punches way above its weight, we had seen that many times over and over again.

            RP is going to be 100% ok, as they are dealing with stuff from last season. Nothing irregular with 2020 rules. I’m pretty certain the talented squad will know how to develop the car over the season, but lookin at how Redbull make a lot of noise with not much substance and Ferrari crippled by massive covid situation at their base, RP don’t really need to much.

            Please don’t compare HAAS to RP, they tried to buy success overnight, without a good proven ground staff.

          2. The fact that the pink Mercedes failed to operate in the rain last week as against the W10 is convenient to forget I suppose.

            May be the W10 was inherently much more stable than the Ferrari that Haas copied? Haas never got their brakes right in half a decade, so it is probably their incompetence and lack of ingenuity as compared to RP which has always had some creative engineers who have repeatedly punched above their weight.

    2. That’s exactly my problem with the Racing Point. Copying is ok. But copying at such a scale that you don’t have any issues with your new car and basically are a 100% running replica of your competitors last years car, shouldn’t be allowed.

      1. On that note.. the racing point didn’t exactly perform well.in the wet last weekend. :) Whereas the mercedes of 2019 was good I’m arts.

    3. Adding to what I said, how has a team gone and changed their car concept completely, binning the old one and adopting one that they’ve never ever built before, never seen before, never tested before, and got it working to the extent that they’re faster than the car they’ve copied? No issues with parts correlation, no issues with setup, no issues with tyre management, no issues with car behavior, it’s like they know the car inside out and can set it up easily without breaking a sweat, while teams like Ferrari and Red Bull with renouned engineers like newey are having problems with evolutions of last years car let alone completely new designs

      It’s strange

      1. It’s not strange. It’s perfectly clear they have acquired the design concept of the 2019 Mercedes. It’s Mercedes that should have an issue with a team that is running a replica of their own car. They should be worried about a potential spy gate. The fact Toto is making these statements, show that Mercedes are involved in this themselves. It’s a shame for the sport really. We have got teams like Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams, designing their own car. Putting a lot of effort and funds into this, as it is in the Roots of F1 that constructors are in a developing competItion among each other. Here, we have got a team that is handed designs by the world champion, so that RP can take away points from rivals who work hard to design, build and race their car.

        This is not Formula 1.

        1. This is not Formula 1.

          Granted. I thought Formula 1 is all about independently throwing everything you can at the job of building a car according to the rules and trying to end up fastest of all. Guess what? Mercedes did exactly that and having been doing it since 2014. But judging from the comments on this site (see the comments on the Qualifying Report article), you’d think the excellence they’ve achieved is not F1 and they are in fact killing it and so on… So what exactly is F1?

      2. +1.Pretty well pointed all the aspects.

        1. Unless you lot have factual evidence, its all speculations and assumptions at best.

          I do sympathise with you guys tho. Cos it must be really hurting seeing how RP is stretching the rules and making gains. But as long as they have done nothing illegal, Its all fair game. We’ll know the truth soon.

          But for now: hate the game not the player.

          1. @lums
            What makes your argument valid and the observation made by the folks speculations and assumptions at best ? RP still didn’t prove that they have copied the W10 from photo alone.

          2. The fact that FIA cleared the RP to race after going through the designs is presumption of innocence for now. Let us see how the protest on brake ducts pans out but for now they have the benefit of the doubt.

            I appreciate any kind of ingenuity in F1 including whatever Ferrari did with their PU last year and I think that is indeed F1. The “this is not F1” comments indicate that this is not what you personally don’t like to see but that doesn’t go against what the sport has been about over the decades.

            Every team takes inspiration and nudges the scale forward. This too will encourage more teams to evaluate their approach and will probably result in a closer field.

          3. Now there it is? !! ??
            Unless there is factual evidence ????
            The factual evidence criterion is valid depending on what suits you best?!?
            I realized … a long time ago

      3. 2019 : Best time in Qualifying for Mercedes and Racing Point
        Valteri Bottas : 1:14.590
        Sergio Perez : 1:17.109

        2020 :
        Lewis Hamilton : 1:13.447
        Lance Stroll : 1:14.377

        Racing point found approximately 3 seconds in a year with their “own aero design” which almost matches with last year’s Bottas’s time. While there are teams struggling to gain .5 seconds in a year throwing huge money in R&D this team managed to find a humungous 3 seconds in a year.

        1. Proves Stroll is faster than Bottas and Hamilton in the same car :)

          1. I believe Lewis or Bottas would have gone faster than Stroll in that pink car. The pink car must have an upgraded engine and also few upgraded aero parts on their car, for example, their rear wing is similar to this year’s Mercedes.

    4. Very good point. Makes me remember a similar episode of some time ago, when a white-red team copied and reverse engineered Ferrari’s car. They presented a perfect copy of the previous year red car, but unfortunately for them, they couldn’t get nothing out of that. It was just not working. The reason it’s obvious: supposing you decide to copy the aero of one car, there are still aspects you cannot reverse engineer, like the inner fluidodynamics of the air ducts, which influences quite heavily the whole aero of the car. Well, RP isn’t affected by any of that issues, and that’s the point: you cannot just make some photos and get your perfect copy out of the box.

    5. Very good point. Makes me remember a similar episode of some time ago, when a white-red team copied and reverse engineered Ferrari’s car. They presented a perfect copy of the previous year red car, but unfortunately for them, they couldn’t get nothing out of that. It was just not working. The reason it’s obvious: supposing you decide to copy the aero of one car, there are still aspects you cannot reveverse engineer, like the inner fluidodynamics of the air ducts, which influences quite heavily the whole aero of the car. Well, RP isn’t affected by any of that issues, and that’s the point: you cannot just make some photos and get your perfect copy out of the box.

    6. Great argument. If it’s look like a duck, set like a duck, drive like a duck, worked like a duck, then…

      They’ve had no setup issues, no drivability issues, no correlation issues, nothing.

      1. @f1g33k ‘ The fact that the pink Mercedes failed to operate in the rain last week as against the W10 is convenient to forget I suppose.’

        To be honest this is their only poor showing in any session so far. But it could be explained by going all out dry setup for the dry race seeing their race pace the next day and how they came through the field. It could also be explained by the drivers not being able to drive the car in the wet, whereas top tier drivers like Hamilton can adapt their driving style to the conditions and the car.

        Having said that we don’t really know either way. All of what I said is just observation and of course speculation. Add in the recent article by mr renken about the RP CAD drawings not having a designer name and it starts to seem fishy. But let’s see what the investigation yields

  11. Well RP can not photocopy the 2022 Mercedes car so this will be short lived.

  12. With its comments makes Everybody hate Mercedes and makes any great driving from Hamilton looks cheap.

    1. To you it does bring out the hate, don’t rope us all with ‘everybody’

      Mercedes/Racing Point/Lewis fans are probably loving it all.

      RP is doing a good job Hass failed to do.

    2. Not at all.
      Why would anyone not love the best machine and best driver on the grid, unless you are tormented and jealous and need medication.

      1. Comments straight out of 1984. Keep it up, O’Brien.

  13. He’s not complimenting RP here. Wolff is a master of communication. Mercedes dominance is good for the team as they can win races easily, but it makes the rest of the field look like idiots and is generally perceived by the outside world, media and fans as a negative for the sport (i.e. Chamionship fight looks hopeless already bar which Mercedes driver wins it, but honestly we already know in our hearts)

    So he does what he always does, talk up the competition. In this case his main rivals are nowhere. Ferrari has suffered a major setback on the engine front and their car concept doesn’t seem to be going nowhere either. Red Bull have built an unstable car that has looked skittish ever since it launched. It will probably take them half a season to correct it like last year, and by that point the ship will have sailed.

    So now he does the only thing that he can and make RP seem more dangerous than they really are, and that’s exactly what he wants. Don’t make it look like this isn’t going to be a walk in he park for Mercedes. Of course it will be. That car is perfect. It seems to work at every track well enough to be at least eight tenths clear of everyone else.

    1. glad someone has been paying attention

  14. What it really means is that customer cars work in terms of adding a bit more competition.

    That won’t always be the case but when F1 nears the end of a technical era and car performances start to converge, the difference between this years car and last years car isn’t as large as normal. That brings the customer car (of the best car from 2019) much closer to the front.

  15. Good to know that yesterday’s qualifying was the first true representation of the current position of F1 for several years. I guess every race in the last 6 years, of which the same 3 big-budget teams have won every race, were just dozens and dozens of flukes.

    Realistically, RP is being flattered by the fact that Ferrari have produced a dog this year and Red Bull can’t seem to get the best of out of their car this week. RP are still the thick end of a second off Mercedes’ pace. In previous years they’d be bossing the midfield and maybe causing headaches for the stragglers in the top 6. Competing for wins? No chance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.