Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Hungaroring, 2020

Racing Point have taken copying “to the next stage” – Brawn

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Racing Point have not done anything new by copying a rival’s car, but have done “a more thorough job”, according to F1’s motorsport director Ross Brawn.

The pink cars were second-fastest to Mercedes at the Hungaroring last weekend. However they are subject a protest by Renault concerning similarities between their design and last year’s championshi-winning Mercedes W10.

Brawn said copying a rival’s technical developments is nothing new in Formula 1.

“Copying in Formula 1 is standard,” he said in his post-race column for the official F1 website. “Every team has, in normal times, digital photographers in the pit lane out there taking thousands of photos of every car for analysis, with a view of copying the best ideas. We used to give our photographers a shopping list.

“Racing Point have just taken it to the next stage and done a more thorough job. There is not a single team in this paddock which has not copied something from another.

“I’d ask every technical director in the paddock to raise their hand if they haven’t copied someone else. You won’t see any hands. I have certainly copied others.”

Renault’s protest concerns whether the similarities between Racing Point’s brake ducts and those Mercedes used last year show the team had access to more than just photographs of the W10. However the regulations concerning brake ducts have changed since 2019.

“Last year, Racing Point had access to, and could use, 2019-spec Mercedes brake ducts because they were not a listed part. This year, brake ducts are listed parts, so you have to design your own.

“However, Racing Point cannot forget the knowledge they acquired using the 2019 Mercedes brake ducts. I think it is illogical to think they can wipe their memory banks. It is a tricky problem and one for the FIA experts to resolve.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

[catlist id=16177 numberposts=5 excludeposts=this]Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

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.

64 comments on “Racing Point have taken copying “to the next stage” – Brawn”

  1. He’s right. I don’t remember so much crying when Ligier ran a Benetton or Sauber a Ferrari… The 2004 Sauber specially looked exactly the same as the F2003-GA.

    I guess back then you could still get away with doing all by yourself… paradigms change, if Williams is any example, and using all your resources to copying is probably a cleverer idea

    1. I think the biggest difference is that neither of those cars you mentioned jumped from the lower mid-field to strong and regular podium contenders from one year to the next.
      Additionally, the complexity of the cars is much higher now and the demands on getting the aerodynamic profile perfect are greater.
      It would be relatively easy to build a car that looks like last year’s best – but it’s another thing entirely to make it perform at the same level.

      1. Racing Point was on poduim this season?

        1. Disregard my comment, I see now you said “contenders”.

          Barring mistakes from Merc or Red Bull or the occasional Ferrari sighting this year, I don’t think we’ll see RP on the podiums as often or more than anyone else out those mentioned above. To claim they are 2nd best is very humorous to me. I wish them the best and hope to see a different car up front but let’s not kid ourselves.

      2. “I think the biggest difference is that neither of those cars you mentioned jumped from the lower mid-field to strong and regular podium contenders from one year to the next.
        Additionally, the complexity of the cars is much higher now and the demands on getting the aerodynamic profile perfect are greater.
        It would be relatively easy to build a car that looks like last year’s best – but it’s another thing entirely to make it perform at the same level.”
        +1.Completely agree with this!In my opinion is the best point in all this matter!

        1. But the main issue everyone is ignoring here is that Red Bull and Ferrari have moved backwards. Racing Point has more or less the same qualifying deficit to Mercedes as they they did last year. But Ferrari and Red Bull were in that gap.

          If both teams had gotten their act together, Racing point will be on the 4th row of the grid, and no one would be surprised – despite all their copying.

          1. Nah we would be surprised.
            They’ve doubled the gains of any other team at the same track.

    2. From memory, there were actually Ligier guys at Enstone at one point and it did kick up a fuss in 95’ (though anywhere with Flávio about usually does).

      I’n that case it looked just like the B195, it’s not like they even copied the previous years car, they both had what appeared to be the same car with different engines.

      Maybe it’s my age, but I feel like to cars looked distinctly different then and this it was more obvious. To be honest, other the disc shape on the tip of the nose I wouldn’t have known they’d copied anyone, the cars all look so uniformed it could be a pink Ferrari for all I know

      1. As @bernasaurus mentions there was quite the upheaval about Ligier racing a Benetton car. If you cannot remember, that might just be because there weren’t as many media outlets and websites reporting on this kind of stuff at the time @fer-no65!

        There was also quite a fuss when Sauber turned up with an old Ferrari model. All of that, and Red Bull fielding their car with STR in 2008 (which at some races was better than the original due to the power of the Ferrari engine suiting some tracks excellently that year) led to ever more restrictive rules on what can be taken from others.

        1. I even remember Fisichella being asked in 2004 if he liked driving a blue Ferrari and he kinda annoyed told the reporter that it is not a Ferrari, but a Sauber.

    3. Hakk The Rack
      20th July 2020, 14:29

      Ligier wasn’t a treat to Williams in 95 nor Sauber in 2004 for Williams nor Mclaren.

    4. Another thing nobody seems to remember is in the late 70s when a large chunk of the grid was nothing more than Lotus 78/79 copies and sometimes actual prototype 79s bought from the Lotus team itself, in Rebaque’s case…

      Still, it was all better in the olden days when f1 designers all operated in good faith :)

  2. I don’t believe Brawn has turned completely stupid to believe that RP manages to copy a full car, understand the concept, and race it from day 1 without any balance or setup issues. He is too smart a man to believe such nonsense. Red Bull and Renault don’t believe it.

    Marko already stated that if nothing is done, Alpha Tauri is racing this year’s Red Bull next year.

    Do we really want F1 to be like that? How is that fair to teams like Williams, McLaren and Renault who design their own car?

    1. @spafrancorchamps Liberty/FIA with all the standard parts, shared imposed parts, cost caps are moving F1 to resemble a spec series. He’s just approving what RP did, an anticipation of the most probable verdict of the currently undergoing investigation.

    2. The Dolphins
      20th July 2020, 17:21

      Marko already stated that if nothing is done, Alpha Tauri is racing this year’s Red Bull next year.

      Marko can make whatever statements he wants but Alpha Tauri cannot run a “2020 Red Bull” in 2021 because “Teams have agreed to use their 2020 chassis for the 2021 season. Other components may be frozen between the two seasons as a further cost-saving measure.

      1. It depends on how you define ‘Chassis’ though doesn’t it? Take the aerodynamic surfaces off, the floor off and the engine with all of it’s rear suspension and you are really just left with the monocoque and front suspension mounting points.

  3. Is Brawn paving the way for future rules changes allow customer cars or even a single chassis? Imo this is not the way F1 should go, the manufacturers competition is just as important as the drivers.

    1. @johnrkh Not sure how you leap to that conclusion of ‘paving’ from what he is saying wrt RP. He is talking about how teams have always copied others in the past as even he has done. He has then talked about how brake ducts are now listed so each team has to design their own. Isn’t that the opposite of spec? Yet you still have this paranoia? Is it because he appears to be applauding RP and therefore you think he likes the idea of RP’s method as being the go-to method all teams should employ? I think he is simply observing what RP have done for this season and pointing out that copying from photos is very common, and that it will be up to the stewards to decide on the brake duct issue.

      As I’ve said before I have never heard one thing from Brawn that has suggested he wants customer chassis’ or spec cars. He does speak however of preserving the DNA of F1, and certainly part of the DNA is copying from photos. But other than that, no, Brawn does not want a spec series nor would he expect the teams to agree to such a thing. His challenge of course has been to trim down the excesses of F1 and make it sustainable, and I acknowledge that can make it appear like a dumbing down or a move away from innovation, but it is simple necessary for the times. As the teams have agreed.

      So as to Brawn ‘paving’ we have this season and next with the same cars, and then all teams will have no choice but to design and build their own cars. So unless in 2023 there will already be a team wanting to copy another team’s car from photos I suggest Brawn couldn’t possibly be paving anything today in the way of ‘specness’ that is relevant for the future.

      1. See what happens with he protest @robbie if unsuccessful it could open the way for customer cars I know RB are in favour of them, I think Ferrari are as well obviously Merc don’t mind. Just a bit of speculation here robbie but what if this pink Merc is being used as a test case?

        1. @johnrkh Yeah true I forgot for a moment about Renault’s protest over the RP brake ducts and it will be interesting to see what happens. However, as to customer cars, from what I’m to understand RB were only in favour of them as a suggestion for smaller teams to get through this season and next if needed, and that was said in the early days of the uncertainty brought in by the pandemic. I’m not sure Horner for example is touting customer cars for the future. And they shouldn’t be necessary, should they?

          Here we are about to embark on a whole new chapter of whole new cars. So to me, unless of course the pandemic has really hurt the smaller teams (although they do seem intact and able to race over the last three weeks), I can’t see any need for customer cars. They’ll all be needing to design their own for 2022. F1 will be less expensive in which to compete and the lesser teams getting a bigger piece of the pie. To me this just doesn’t add up to the need for customer cars nor photocopied ones. I’m pretty sure the talk of customer cars only came about because of how expensive and complex the hybrid era became (changed the goal posts for the lesser teams) and took away any hope whatsoever of the lesser teams ever getting up there to compete for podiums.

          But I see an F1 that is heading back to the basics and a more fair series amongst the teams. Teams that can afford to compete and actually grow themselves into a legit competitor rather than a guarantee back marker. Hence Brawn’s talk of the next pu being something more plug and play…ie an F1 in which you no longer must be a factory works team in order to stand any chance. An F1 more akin to the type that saw privateers like Williams actually win both Championships designing and building their own car with someone else‘s engine.

          Anyhow, I don’t think the pink Merc is a test case but moreso a sign of an unhealthy series that is on the verge of correction. See Haas too. When teams have to do this sort of thing by importing as much of someone else’s car as is legal, then that’s when things have gotten untenable for the smaller teams for the future. Pink Mercs aren’t going to win Championships when there is a real Merc on the grid, but we need to head back to a time akin to when a Racing Point or a Williams can do it all on their own and stand a fighting chance. That’s the ideal goal.

  4. RocketTankski
    20th July 2020, 12:32

    Haas were pretty much accused of using “last year’s Ferrari” when they started out. That strategy hasn’t worked so well for them now.
    If you’re going to take ideas, may as well take them from the best.

    1. Ferrari did have a race winning car and finished second to Mercedes in the WCC for the past 3 years. If Haas were indeed using “last year’s Ferrari” then they would be a serious contender for the rest of the best position 4th or 5th in the constructors which was not the case.

      1. if you factor the engine scandal, Ferrari didn’t have a winning car in 2018 and 2019.

        1. You appear to know something that the rest of us don’t.

  5. Racing Point will have to design a car to suit the new rules soon enough. I don’t think they will fall down the pecking order very far. They were fairly consistently best of the rest with a much smaller budget than most of the other teams. They have money going forward, and so whereas before they were limited by money, but still managed to produce a good car, this limitation has been removed.

  6. People can also remember what Nike’s swoosh looks like or Adidas’ three stripes, it doesn’t mean you can use it on your clothing brand…

    I believe that a team has argued copyright infringement before and won.

    1. You believe correctly. Back in 2010. Guess which team did so (in a civil court, netting £50,000, albeit by only winning t2 copyright infringement sections out of about 14)?

      Force India…

    2. People can also remember what Nike’s swoosh looks like or Adidas’ three stripes, it doesn’t mean you can use it on your clothing brand…

      You can if Nike/Adidas are happy for you to do so.

  7. Not sure RP is closer to Mercedes than Haas was to Ferrari (it would be interesting to actually see the numbers). The difference being that Ferrari was a front running team at the time and that brought Haas within the midfield, nobody complained and all good to have one more team in the fight. The issue in this case is that Mercedes is in a league of its own and that brings RP at the top of the midfield, such is Mercedes advantage. RP is still 1sec behind Mercedes and that’s huge by F1 standard, unfortunately the other teams are even further back…

    1. @jeanrien Interesting point. I think the situation would have been the same if in 2016 Haas would have been there fighting for podiums. The problem (or if someone else wants to call it on some other name) is that if some new team makes a huge gain (like Racing Point, Brawn, Benetton…) there are always someones saying that they are cheating.

      We (fans) want the racing to be more closer and that we could have more teams and drivers to fight for the win. I think the teams want that too but if you are on the losing side of course you start to make some ideas that make either your car faster or the other cars slower.

      And it will continue to be like this for a long time

    2. @jeanrien The difference of course is that the Ferrari and Haas were not identical, similar yes, and Haas clearly followed Ferrari’s concept, but there were differences despite what the online trolls would have you believe.

  8. Exactly!
    More often than not I disagree with Brawn lately, but with this I totally agree.
    RP just did the “proper” copying. They understood the theory behind the design and employed it to this year’s car.

    It is a case of job well done. not the case of breaking rules.

    Hope stewards will see it the same way.

    1. *Depending on exactly how they came to their final design conclusions, of course…
      Photography plus their own development, or some other means…

      1. Not just photography, now it is possible to laser-scan an object to get an exact external replica of the original (i.e. external body shape) the internal configuration of a car is more difficult to replicate but lots of photos/scans of the partially dismantled car would be a great help.

  9. @fer-no65
    They look exactly the same, however none of them performed like the original car. For example, the Toyota TF103 had a striking resemblance to the Ferrari F2002 which left many people suspicious back then in the paddock because the entire aerodynamic philosophy has been copied and not some components of the car.

    Ferrari filled a lawsuit against two of its former employees Mauro Iacconi and Angelo Santini who joined Toyota and were subsequently sacked before the case. They were actually questioned by investigators commissioned by an Italian court and supported by German police at Toyota HQ in Cologne and were later found guilty of industrial espionage.

    Even in the case of Toyota, the TF103 stepped up in performance compared to its predecessor but wasn’t as close to the Ferrari as is the RP20 to the W10. I think Ross Brawn for some reasons become talking nonsense lately after being appointed the F1 Motorsport director which is utterly disappointing for a such highly rated F1 engineer.

    1. There’s a big difference in this case, they had the brake duct legally a year before, they could freely study and develop it for this year car. There’s not a single evidence of industrial espionage, they just took the knowledge they have and what they could see of Mercedes car, and developed the rest. If that was easy as some people thinks, other teams would have done the same by now.

      1. @miani
        They didn’t only copy the brake ducts. That’s the component Renault protested because they thought it’s identical to the Mercedes’s brake ducts and are impossible to copy.

        If that was easy as some people thinks, other teams would have done the same by now.

        If it is quite hard task as you say, then RP engineers who didn’t show any creative spirit in the recent years are the last to accomplish such a task.

        1. There’s a reason they only protested the brake ducts, like you said it’s the only visible piece that is identical to Mercedes last year. And there’s a reason why it’s identical, like Brawn said, they had it last year legally, they don’t stole someone design.

          And RP engineers proved to be very capable through the years to make a good card with few money than other teams.

        2. That’s ridiculous. RP and before them FI had a consistent performance that was well above what could be expected for a team with their resources. They have no shortage of creative thinking in the team.

        3. Last year, it was legal to buy the brake ducts… & Racing Point did. This year, it’s no longer legal to buy brake ducts… but Racing point legally had Mercedes brake ducts in their possession all of last year… & they studied them (probably making 3d scans), and made their own versions for this season. Renault’s reasoning that the only way Racing Point could know about the inside of the ducts is flawed: they legally had the ducts all year. They can’t unlearn what they know, & it would have been stupid of them not to copy them.

  10. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    20th July 2020, 13:35

    There’s a major difference between building a copy of someone else’s car and making that copy work. We’ve been told by so many teams how this kinda of wholsale identical copy is impossible due to not knowing the intricate way all the parts interact with each other. Racing Point apparently not only did that from a photograph but in less than a year understand how to extract similar pace to the original W10. Either that means the Racing Point engineers are fantastically lucky legends of their profession or its as stinky as it looks. Got to beg the question that if it was THAT EASY to extract Mercedes-level performance and this fast, why are the other teams spending millions to never see a podium? The whole thing stinks.

    Either way F1 should not be about this. Copying has always happened – but of tech, not entire vehicles. If all you need to be a constructor is to duplicate someone else’s car then the constructor’s championship’s a joke. Suprised at Brawn for these words to be honest.

    1. Don’t forget they have already used a Mercedes rear end for some time. So it’s not like they had to completely copy or reverse engineer a car without the PU packaging and rear suspension and related aero already understood. Anyone can see the front suspension and front aero philosophy of the works team, and adding listed parts up front and a year of development I can see how a professional f1 team can get that package to go fast. Again though they are a second behind. They have a poverty-Mercedes. A year old off-lease model. But everyone else now has a Ford Fiesta.

  11. People forget about what exactly Brawn said makes this protest go any further than it should.

    “Last year, Racing Point had access to, and could use, 2019-spec Mercedes brake ducts because they were not a listed part. This year, brake ducts are listed parts, so you have to design your own.

    “However, Racing Point cannot forget the knowledge they acquired using the 2019 Mercedes brake ducts. I think it is illogical to think they can wipe their memory banks. It is a tricky problem and one for the FIA experts to resolve.”

    Key thing, they had access to Mercedes car last year, and they can alway claim copying started last year and we finalised before the rules changed.

    He is already hinting that they cant/will not go ahead with the protests… It is very tough to argue as the situation is more complicated. Not sure why Renault is continuing with the sour grape attitude… They must have learnt from Redbull I guess…

    1. Renault have every reason to continue pursuing clarity in regard to Racing Point’s car and the rules surrounding it.
      If the car is illegal, it’s illegal. That’s not sour grapes.
      Was it just sour grapes last year when everyone started questioning the Ferrari engine?

      Every other team is looking on very closely at the outcome of all this. Not just for the immediate effect on this year’s championship, but for the ongoing effects in regard to the technical design approach they can all take in future years.

    2. They had access to the brake ducts, not the Mercedes whole car. There’s a lot of things that eyes can’t see you know. The only way to prove that they have not designed it by themselfs, is proving that Mercedes gave or sold them the data. If you manage to copy it by yourself, you’re still doing it by yourself.

  12. It’d be fascinating to see how Racing Point went about copying the W10. I imagine they used a lot of photogrammetry, and possibly deep learning AI to produce extremely high resolution 3D models which they were then able to port across to CFD. Technology now makes the task a lot simpler than it’d have been in Brawn’s day; when you’d have to take tiny measurements from high res photos, draw it all out, prototype it, take it to the windtunnel, refine and repeat.

    Sadly I doubt we’ll ever see detail on the specific techniques they used, but frankly well done to them. They’ve managed to successfully design and build a car which works well on track, which means not only that they were able to copy the Mercedes, but they also managed to understand the aero concept and make it work, in a world where any surface being a few degrees or mm out of line could mean the difference between a vortex attaching successfully or uselessly flying away from the car.

    If you successfully reverse-engineer a piece of technology, you gain a huge amount of technical insight, which could then be used to refine and improve upon that technology. By doing what they’ve done, RP not only has a very well functioning car, they also have a raft of new understanding which they can apply to cars in the future.

    Kudos to them.

    1. @mazdachris Well said but keeping in mind the drastic rules changes for 2022, I do have to wonder what they will have learned in their reverse-engineering success of this year’s car, for the wholly new cars to come. They will have to design their own car for 2022.

      I do take your point as to how much they will have learned about aero now that their ‘photocopy’ has worked, and indeed how much they have learned about copying from photos using today’s AI technology if that’s what they did. But I also take Max’s point when he said that copying is never going to win someone the WDC or WCC over the works team from which the pics were taken.

      2022 will be a whole new ball game and let’s see what RP can do then. If they decide that in 2023 they will just go by pics of the winning 2022 car, and thus relegating themselves to never win the big prizes, then I’m not sure kudos ad infinitum will remain.

      For me, they can be proud of what they were able to do for this year, but I don’t think it would be that prideful to only ever copy others’ designs completely except where legally disallowed. It’s just not the same as a team sorting it out from scratch. Copying won’t win them the big trophies. Taking a car from paper to WDC/WCC is the ultimate experience in pride and accomplishment.

      1. Copying might not win first in the prize money, but if I can get second in the prize money by copying, I will copy. By copying you can develop a car for millions cheaper than the original car cost to design. Heck, you may even do something unheard of and MAKE money in F1 by copying.

    2. It’s also much easier to understand a question if someone shows you the answer…

      It’s not completely inconceivable that they did re-invent the same wheel that Mercedes did from photography alone – however it’s also not inconceivable that they ‘found’ some Mercedes designs and made just enough modifications in just enough areas to make the car appear to be a reverse-engineered but separately engineered copy.

      We’ll probably never know which route they took.
      But whatever they did it sure has helped them quite a bit, and it’s interesting that the original designer is not the one filing the protests…

  13. The reason I’m so skeptical of the whole thing being a case of just looking at pictures and figuring it out is that they did this with the plan being just one year of relevance, at least until the pandemic gave them a stay of execution to reuse the car again next year

    So they threw away years of design work for an understood concept, put resources into trying to copy another teams entirely different philosophy (low rake, narrow nose, traditional side pod), a huge undertaking and gamble, all for the sake of one years competition before the entire design would be thrown out?

    There would be skepticism anyway because of how much of an engineering masterstroke pulling the copy off so well would have to be, but I find it far fetched they’d take that gamble for the sake of one years running

    1. Racing Point has had more money at their disposal the past years. I find it far fetched that they would not put this money to good use and instead decide to continue on with their old car.

      The main reason behind building the new car was to better accomodate the Mercedes engine. It just didn’t fit well with the Red Bull copy they had before, with its high rake. Since Racing Point are planning to continue using the Mercedes engine, a car change to better accomodate this engine would have to be done sometime anyway. Better to do it now, when you have a good understanding of the rules, instead of when everything changes due to the new rules.

    2. @philipgb The “known and understood” concept was outdated. While optimising it was still yielding some gains, taking inspiration from the known fastest car, seriously thinking about why that design works, has two purposes. The first is obvious: it gives a quick way of increasing results. The second is subtler; increased understanding of how successful designs work now mean new paradigms and perspectives can be applied onto future years’ regulations, be they fairly static (like 2021 now will be) or radically changed (like 2022).

      Previous efforts at this failed because the copying was based on superficial appearances. For whatever reason (I suspect a combination of technology not yet being ready and staff not yet having the necessary insights into how to do this procedure), the understanding wasn’t adequetely developed through the “inspiration” process, meaning lasting change did not come. Racing Point can use more modern technology and ideas to succeed where the likes of Ligier, Sauber and Toyota failed. And not even require data transfer from elsewhere to do it.

      Also, if such a thing is to be done, it needs to be done the year before the new regulations (preferably two, but Force India/Racing Point’s design funding got squashed at the exact worst moment for that). Otherwise, there’d be no time to apply the lessons to the new ruleset. New rulesets reward those who are in a rhythm and understand what they are doing.

  14. I’m a bit confused. So last your brake ducts were a listed part and could be purchased and this year they have to be designed. So of they built this years ducts based on the knowledge e they gained from last year then whats the problem?

    1. @broke84 I think that is pretty much what RP are saying and why they seem confident Renault’s protest will be rejected.

      1. Meant to add though it’s just that by Renault lodging the protest, the stewards then have no choice but to investigate and settle the matter. So ‘what’s the problem?’ There might not be any, but they do have to formally investigate and answer the protest with formal documentation and that takes time.

    2. @broke84 They have to check no improper data transfers or the like occurred. If it has, even accidentally, that could contaminate the IP.

  15. The main issue everyone is ignoring here is that Red Bull and Ferrari have moved backwards. Racing Point has more or less the same qualifying deficit to Mercedes as they they did last year – about 1 sec. However, Ferrari and Red Bull occupied that gap.

    If both teams had gotten their act together, Racing point will be on the 4th row of the grid, and no one would be surprised – despite all their copying.

  16. They certainly have.

    I suspect, given it’s performance that they’ve done what all good copiers do and that’s start with the actual original (acquired by whatever means) and change just a few minor things to avoid infringements.
    Easy enough too to change the designer block on a CAD drawing although not quite so easy to withstand a forensic investigation.

    Renault lodged a protest, which in my opinion is the best way to finalise this quickly and effectively. – Either its all OK and the matter will be closed, or they will find that there is an irregularity which should in turn lead to a much deeper forensic investigation of the RP chassis.

    I suspect it’ll be ruled OK and have no real problem with that providing that everyone is afforded the same opportunity so we end up with “copies” of the front runners right throughout the field. Consistency however is not something I’ve come to expect from the stewards or the FIA.

    1. @dbradock Everyone has already had the same opportunity to do as RP has done all along. I think Brawn has made it clear that copying other’s work off of photos has been going on for decades, including by him.

      So I think whatever the stewards find in their investigation, nothing will change the fact that copying is allowed. I’m unclear as to whether they will look beyond the brake ducts if indeed they deem those illegal, and therefore I don’t know if they will find RP had insider info beyond pictures. So we’ll have to see on that. Or does their investigation only include brake ducts as that is what has been protested? Maybe they’ve protested the whole car?

      Anyway, I certainly do not expect a rash of copiers for teams after the decision on RP either way. They (the teams) could have copied Mercedes at any point in time going back to 2015, and it has taken until now for a team to decide this is the way to go…a way, which I agree with Max on, as to guarantee to never win the Championships over the actual real works team from which the car was copied. Not to mention, RP can copy a Mercedes car because they have the same pu in terms of size and cooling requirements and being able to replicate bodywork around it. It likely wouldn’t work for a Ferrari or a Renault powered team to copy a Mercedes car and be able to fit in or cool the same way their own pu and have the aero still work as well.

      So to me it is telling that overwhelmingly teams only copy certain things but rarely if ever take it to the level of RP. I think teams want to do their own thing and win on their terms and they want to fight for titles, not be guaranteed to never win them.

      I’m fine with what RP has done, provided they haven’t cheated of course, but I do see it as a bit desperate and hollow, guaranteeing them to not win the big prizes, and they’ll just have to do their own car for 2022 anyway.

      1. Pretty much agree there @Robbie.

        The only thing I’d say is that there’s a reason why teams in the past have not attempted the degree of copying that RP has, being it’s just not possible to do it to that degree and not end up with all sorts of correlation and other problems.

        Whether or not they’ve done something illegal I think will be hard to prove unless someone blows the whistle on them, much like the PU on the red cars last year.

        What bothers me a lot is that they seem to have been so blatant about it and it will pay dividends if only for a year or so, although given that 2022 ground effects development is going to be more hidden under the covers, who’s to say that a team doesn’t end up a with a quasi customer car – it’ll be way harder to spot that the pink Mercedes.

        Hopefully this will be a one off for 2020/2021 where, as you say, RP can only hope to be a poor second best.

Comments are closed.