Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Silverstone, 2020

Ferrari, McLaren and Renault notify FIA they intend to appeal against Racing Point penalty

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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The FIA’s verdict on Renault’s protest against Racing Point is facing appeals from at least three teams.

Sources at Renault and McLaren have confirmed to RaceFans the two teams will appeal against the decision published by the FIA stewards this morning. They believe the penalty handed down to Racing Point is too lenient.

Ferrari has also announced it intends to submit an appeal. The FIA confirmed it has received notices of intention to appeal from all three teams.

A panel of four FIA stewards today upheld Renault’s protest against Racing Point over the design of its brake ducts. They ruled Racing Point violated F1’s listed parts rules by basing the design of the rear ducts of the RP20 on the parts used by Mercedes on its 2019 car.

The stewards noted the design of those parts is legal under the technical regulations and have indicated Racing Point may continue to use them. This outcome prompted criticism from several team principals during today’s press conference.

“I understand the technicality behind that,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “When you go through technical inspection something has to be a certain weight, size, dimension and it passes that test. But how it actually arrived on the car has been deemed illegal.

Esteban Ocon, Renault, Silverstone, 2020
Analysis: How Renault’s Racing Point protest led the FIA to revise its rules on ‘clone cars’
“So I think that needs to be clarified and cleaned up for the future, that you can breach the sporting regulation but be clear in the technical regulation and then it continues on. Because if you read the documentation, there were docked because of the unfair competitive advantage that they had in Austria. But aren’t they still carrying that unfair advantage this weekend?”

For the breach of F1’s design rules, Racing Point was fined €400,000 and had 15 points deducted from their constructors’ championship score. The points deduction is less than the 34 points the team scored over the course of the last three races, which were the subject of Renault’s protest. It dropped them from fifth in the championship to sixth, with Renault, Ferrari and McLaren immediately ahead of them.

Teams had a 24-hour window to declare an intention to appeal beginning when the verdict was issued at 9:30am local time this morning. Having done so, they must now submit their appeals within the next 96 hours.

Speaking in the FIA press conference earlier today Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said “the most important point that has at least been clarified is that there has been a breach of regulation” but he intended to consider whether “the penalty and the verdict [is] the right one”.

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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...

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76 comments on “Ferrari, McLaren and Renault notify FIA they intend to appeal against Racing Point penalty”

  1. Nice. Ferrari joining the midfield battles.

    1. I’m glad Ferrari are protesting this. Someone needs to call out the FIA that they can’t go sanctioning teams like this.

      They should use the established method of secret agreements.

      1. Cotw.

        OMG. Had to log in *again *

      2. Exactly and Ferrari got what for an illegal engine….. nothing as usual

        1. @whitedog
          No one protested Ferrari.
          (and Mercedes pulled out the pursuit of the truth earlier this year)

      3. where is the like button?

        1. This is the difference between a true F1fanatic Vijay Mallya and a pure shrewd businessman like Lawrence Stroll. Dr. Mallya brought froward self made innovations in Force India while the new owners of the team are so disenchanted with racing that they can’t even give the team a proper name, let aside the talk of copying the Mercedes of 2019 wholly. This was bound to happen and with all the deals happening in the backdrop with Aston Martin and Mercedes Benz guy getting on the reins of Aston this is something which clearly shows they are in here just for the commercial value.

          I pray and hope the team gets Vijay Mallya back on helm and give a fight again with P4 or better in the championship and be true to their soul. Belgium 2009. Brazil 2012. Baku 2016 were not due to any designs copied or cheating of any kind. Force India will remain Force India for her fans and Racing Point shall get no racing points.

      4. Touché
        Expecting this comment one of the best in the Round-up

      5. At least after Ferrari agreement was discovered they need to change the ilegal stuff they have. Racing Point continuing using something that they obtained illegally is weird.

        1. Yes, it’s not like Ferrari had the use of their shady engine for a whole year while a lot of people already suspected something was wrong …

        2. Yeah they werent allowed to cheat anymore… but they were allowed to keep their race wins, pole positions, constructor points, 2nd place in the championship and all their prize money. What a punishment

  2. This is a good opportunity for Racing Point to appeal against FIA’s decision regarding Ferrari’s power unit. Let the games begin!

    1. If you want to know how Mercedes spied in Ferrari’s factory and illegally acquired data about Ferrari’s questionable PU, then it is the best way to drag Mercedes on two fronts.

      1. Blatant lie. This never happened

      2. Leave already

      3. @pironitheprovocateur nice provocation? provocateur…. not sure which dreamland was it? or you are talking about mclaren scandal 13 years ago? either way, wake up, it will end in nightmare for you tifosi :)

        1. Not my ideas, all can be easily found on the internet. You guys (hi Adam) seem to be a bit irritable, just like Toto. Btw, not a Ferrari fan.

      4. Has anyone told you you are a bit delusional?

        1. I did. I love how you blame Mercedes when it was redbull who went to the fia asking for clarifications on ferrari’s illegal engine. Let me guess they got their information from Mercedes who got it when toto wolff & lewis Hamilton broke into the ferrari factory and stole a ferrari engine. Instead of being so angry at mercedes why don’t you blame ferrari for CHEATING. Do you think ferrari should be allowed to cheat?

      5. Indeed. I saw Toto himself taking pictures of the PU. Honest.

        1. He keeps being seen with glasses or face shields and no masks…must be a Google Glass 2.0 prototype

      6. Except it was Red Bull that asked for the clarification regarding Ferrari’s PU, No?

    2. @Boomerang
      To late.
      When it comes to the Ferrari engine: All the other teams dropped the ball by not protesting.

  3. Oh yes! When there’s a bandwagon to jump on…

  4. Out of interest, can the 2019 RP rear brake ducts be fitted to the Beta Mercs for future races to solve this issue for the rest of the season?

    1. RP ran a different rake/rear aero philosophy than Mercedes last year. RP went more Red Bull in that regard.
      This year they have basically copied the 2019 Merc and so have changed rake accordingly.
      If they attached their 2019 rear ducts to the 2020 car, it would totally mess the rear aero Because the rake has changed.
      That’s my understanding anyway!

      1. So what do the other teams want them to do? Design new 2020 ducts?! Well they obviously would “design” the Merc ’19 ducts since they have the intellectual property.
        I don’t know what more the others teams want.

      2. Absolutely. Back in the Force India days Bob Fernley agreed with me that it was Red Bull and Force India leading the rake parade. They went all-in with the Mercedes solution and this is just nothing new. Build a better mousetrap and you’ll see clones everywhere.

  5. If FIA ruled RP car is legal before the season, then all this fuss about is too late for this season. It is better to put all this energy into making better rules for 2021!

    1. No, let’s just enjoy politics.

    2. Did they actually make a ruling or did they just listen to RP’s presentation on their ‘design’ process and put their hands up and say something like “Well, if you did it like you say you did then it’s ok I guess”? Now it seems RP didn’t actually do it like that in every case.

  6. I’d wouldn’t be surprised if every team other than RP and Merc file an appeal.

    1. @velocityboy
      RBR/AT are sitting this one out. No need whatsoever for them to get involved.

  7. FERRARI!!
    SERIOUSLY

  8. F1 politics really puts typical politicians to shame. So the team that got a penalty is content with it and doesn’t look like they will appeal- but their direct competitors will do it for them just to drag them further into the mud. Can’t beat em on track, beat em off it.

  9. Its worth the admission price alone just to see Ferrari get on their high horse and spout off about honestly and integrity.

    1. I know that we say F1 is a circus but this is just life imitating art now. It is almost like they have decided the championship(s) is over and they need something else to keep the punters interested!

      Also they may have come to the conclusion that rather than spending $200m to outdevelop RP that they can slow them down for less than $2m. Good commercial sense in a perverse, machiavellian kind of way!!

    2. I enjoyed the pun about Ferrari and their high horse :)

      1. Yes, that was a top stuff. I could even imagine them doing that and the visualization was so outrageously funny.

        1. noddingdonkey
          8th August 2020, 1:56

          Guess it’s easier to get off a donkey…

  10. It just seems to be sour grapes that Ferrari, McLaren and Renault are appealing the FIA’s ruling on RP. All F1 teams have copied the ideas of other cars – it’s Racing Point that have made those copying ideas work better for less- that’s what they don’t like

    1. The question is the level of involvement of other parties, because then certainly Racing Point weren’t doing their great work only themselves. This will be interesting in the coming weeks.

    2. Copying ideas is one thing. Receiving complete designs for another team is completely different.

    3. McLaren were fined 100,000,000 when they did it, and that was back when a million dollars meant something…

      1. @Drop Sochi
        “McLaren were fined 100,000,000 when they did it, and that was back when a million dollars meant something…”
        They fine was 99% based on Mclaren being caught lying.

      2. actually mclaren was fined because one of their employees stole ferrari technical info and used it when designing the mclaren

  11. Personally I think the punishment is lenient so I’m not surprised they want to push for a harder one – especially when it’ll benefit them by pushing Tracing Point below them. As for Mercedes, maybe the teams just want to rain a little on Mercedes and Toto’s parade.

    1. I’m just puzzled about why Renault was disqualified last year for a sporting regulations breach (which like this was ruled compliant with technical regulations) and Racing Point has not been.

      Then again why would we expect anything to be consistent from F1.

  12. If Racing Point added one fin to the brake cooling duct under question would that end this identical copy issue ??

    1. Possibly.
      Though it might also destroy Lance’s chance of looking like an F1 great in the history books.

      Daddy might not like that!

  13. This is a bad look for the sport. Racing Point being competitive is one of the few things making this season interesting. Ferarri, McLaren, and Renault should be focusing on designing the car everyone else wants to copy. A team copying last year’s car is never going to win anything.

    1. If Racing Point wasn’t an outstanding example of everything that is wrong with Western Capitalist Democracy then I might agree with you.
      We have a spoilt child who wants to be a racing driver and a Daddy who will do everything in his power to make his boy a man … even if the rest of the world is laughing at both of them.

      1. You believe he has done all this (aston, building a factory, buying a team) purely for Lance? Very naive.

    2. @hunkulese such a light punishment for breaking the rules in theory means no team need bother following the rules in the future. So why limit wind tunnel testing for example if you’re only going to get a token fine. Why not test the 2020 car privately if you’re going to get a token fine. This ruling has massive implications for the enforcement of the rules in the sport. If this rulings stands as is, there is very little reason for teams not to break the rules and with multiple teams ignoring rules, the situation could become a complete mess very quickly.

      1. Racing Point didn’t break any rules though.

    3. I think the big question, and the one that perhaps no one really wants to pursue too hard is whether or not they really did “copy” or whether in fact there has been a full handover of information/parts that is way outside the rules. Again it needs to be stressed that pretty much every engineer has supported the theory that it’s pretty much impossible to accurately reverse engineer from photos.

  14. The actual nerve of ferrari. No other team was allowed to appeal their little deal with the fia for cheating

    1. Because nobody officially protested like Renault dis in this case.

    2. Maybe because you have to have proof of something illegal to appeal it.

  15. I’m quite intrigued. If this goes to a proper court will Mercedes employees have to answer some tricky questions under oath about how IP was supplied to RP?

    The headline for this is that RP have been penalised for using brake ducts that were legally supplied to them by Mercedes last year, but the real story is that the RP is a pretty accurate clone of Merc, so how has the IP for the rest of the car been provided? One thing is for sure, I haven’t seen Toto seem so agitated and at sea for a long time…..

  16. Jeffrey Powell
    7th August 2020, 23:40

    I dont find RPs livery colour very pleasant , I understand it is an incessant of the sponsor. Apart from that I dont care very much, as a very old fan of gp racing I look to the essence of greatness I dont see much, perhaps my eyes are dim, perhaps there’s not much to admire. Perhaps it’s not really that important ?.

  17. I can certainly understand Ferrari’s anger. Their 2019 engine was investigated and never proved illegal, and yet they couldn’t use it this year have taken a huge performance penalty.
    Racing Point have had components of their car deemed illegal, but can continue to use the illegal parts. I’m sure Ferrari would be willing to take a 15pt penalty to have their old spec engine back.

    1. Too right, Dane. It should be Mattia, not Toto, that is ropeable at the current outcome.

  18. Good to see they have the time and money to appeal while at the same time 2 of the 3 said they would not survive without a return to racing this year 😔

    That’s time and money sooo well spent! And they’re trying to put more pressure on a fellow team!

    I’m the last one that wants to see strolls conglomerate win, but this is not the right way to make them lose.

    1. Did it ever came into your mind that when RP gets disqualified this season, the economical pie that the F1 teams share will be larger, and they are sharing said pie with fewer participants.

      Protesting this has all the financial incentives a bankrupt team needs.

      What is more interesting doh, is that you think judicial matters are a class system only for the rich….

  19. Formula E looks better and better by the week…

  20. “The FIA and Racing Point have arrived at a confidential agreement after the appeals lodged by three teams.”
    How about that for non preferential treatment?

  21. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    8th August 2020, 5:39

    I do not understand. FIA passed the RP car during pre season, but ‘forgot’ to inspect the brake ducts. A whistle blower notifies Renault, who go on to protest at 3 consecutive races. FIA ruled the brake ducts illegal yesterday.

    Doesn’t this speak of sheer incompetence on their behalf? Wouldn’t be surprised if RP took FIA to the courts.
    Also, are Merc in deep water as well?

  22. The FIA has not issued any formal ruling before, they merely visited the RP factory. And let’s not forget that the big issue was that RP fully copied the aerodynamic shape of the Mercedes car. I’m sure they were focusing on that and did not think much about the brake ducts.
    A whistle blower was surely not necessary in this case, the competitors take pictures of each others cars all the time, and it was obvious to anyone with a trained eye that RP has copied the brake ducts.
    Mercedes is not in deep water, they did not do anything wrong at all.

    1. I’m surprised though. Mercedes used to be super sharpe in politics and usually got things the way they want without beeing in the line of fire (tires to their liking, blatant team orders, maintaining a satellite that is under moral and verbal instruction not to race the works car, FIA engine modification after which they again have a significant power advantage over anybody else).
      As there’s so little to gain for them in this whole affair, I really don’t understand why they gave their rivals the chance to start a proxy war against their satellite.

    2. Mercedes are not in deep waters?
      I wouldn’t be so certain. They seem to have sold illegal information and parts to RP, which is just as illegal as what RP did.

      1. Nope, they sold that information in 2019 when it was legal. And let’s not forget that RP’s front brake ducts where ruled legal. Only the rears were ruled illegal, and then only because RP did not use them in 2019.

    3. If, as Racing Point say and this has not been challenged by the FIA, the FIA inspection team discussed the brake ducts at length and then after detailed inspection of the car, the design processes and CAD drawing then subsequently confirmed the legality of the car overall and of everything inspected, it would be impossible for the FIA to claim a breach if the Technical Regulations now. So they again use the Sporting Regulations as they did against Renault. That in itself is an abuse which can only be stopped by merging the two sets of regulations into one.

      The way they FIA operate shows all competitors are not equal. Using the Sporting Regulations is a ploy they didn’t use, but could easily have used as almost certainly should have used, against Ferrari last year but that team has too much political punch so they made secret agreement to brush it under the carpet instead.

  23. I assume that MB will also get punished for selling copyright material when that is no longer allowed to do so.
    Otherwise it just seems like more FIA protection for the top team.

  24. This is all ridiculous.

    First the FIA sets a new rule for this year requiring midfield teams to spend more money by changing the rules on brake ducts while negotiating for cost reductions. As reported teams needed extra engineers and all the ancillary services and kit needed to create their own ducts.

    Secondly the stewards found no fault from Racing Point in following the Technical Regulations but fined then under the Sporting Regulations. Yet again teams that are not Ferrari will be found at fault somehow and in someway if the pressure is too great not to.

    Thirdly, this whole saga makes F1 a laughing stock. Teams trying to win off the track by blocking the initiative of another team which did what they didn’t have the wit to do. And who did it within the Technical Regulations.

    What sort of sport do we have if it allows politics to decide the winner?

    1. @Witan
      In regard to your first point – it doesn’t cost any more at all. They have engineers and designers, they just need to sacrifice and reorganise where they spend the resources they have.
      Your second point – the parts are technically legal, but the team went about creating them in a illegal manner – hence the use of the sporting regulations. That is also why the argument exists that while those parts are on the car, the car still not legal and the team should be punished accordingly. Yet, as things stand now, they are still using brake duct parts illegally.
      For your third point – F1 and it’s participants don’t need any help to look ridiculous and petty. They can do that quite well on their own, and have done for decades.
      And finally: F1 isn’t a sport – it’s a business, which is why some battles are fought in the courtrooms. There’s too much money and value at stake.

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