Esteban Ocon, Renault, Silverstone, 2020

Renault considering appeal to demand stronger penalty for Racing Point

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Renault is considering whether to appeal against the penalty which was handed down to Racing Point this morning over its use of brake ducts which were designed by Mercedes.

The team’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul said in today’s FIA press conference it will not protest the decision itself, which upheld Renault’s protest. However it may appeal against the leniency of the sanction.

Renault protested Racing Point in three consecutive races, during which time the team scored 34 points. Racing Point were handed a 15-point deduction and €400,000 fine.

“I can confirm that we are considering whether or not to appeal,” said Abiteboul. “It happens that usually we have one hour to do that but in this particular case, given the complexity, we have 24 hours to do that and then 96 hours to confirm or not appeal.

“So again, because it’s complex and we need to balance carefully the interests of the sports also and the consistency of the sanction we are looking whether or not we will appeal the sanction, not obviously on the decision.”

Racing Point’s penalty should reflect the size of benefit they obtained by deriving their brake duct design from parts obtained from Mercedes last year.

Esteban Ocon, Renault, Silverstone, 2020
Analysis: How Renault’s Racing Point protest led the FIA to revise its rules on ‘clone cars’
“We will consider that matter, bearing in mind the advantage that was obviously obtained will keep on going for all this season. And it’s a very material advantage. I mean, just to put things in perspective, any team will be spending 20 percent of its ATR, of its aerodynamic time into developing those parts.”

Abiteboul welcomed the decision of the stewards, who ruled Racing Point had violated the rules in its approach to designing the RP20’s brake ducts.

“We were satisfied with the fact that the FIA and the stewards confirmed that some of these parts were in breach of this sporting regulations,” he said. “It’s a sporting regulation but it really is a technical matter that ends up being placed him in the sporting regulations.”

He described Racing Point’s approach to copying Mercedes’ 2019 car as a “disruption” within the sport which it needs to react to.

“We need to recognise that what Racing Point has done, based on the car that had such an advantage against anyone else on the grid, has been a shock in the system, has been a disruption. And like there’s been other disruptions in Formula 1 before, there’s been other disruptions in other industries before, we need to see how we deal with it.

“Yes, coping has been part of the history of Formula 1. But technology has evolved so much that it’s now possible to do things that were not possible to do before. So the whole doctrine, the whole thinking, the whole regulatory framework needs to evolve with the technology that allows you to do some stuff that was not possible before with a level of accuracy that was not possible before.”

The FIA’s head of single-seater matters Nikolas Tombazis said today the sport’s governing body intends to prevent teams from adopting Racing Point’s approach to car design from next year.

“We’ve been pleased with the statements from the Nikolas Tombazis this morning in parallel to the decision of the stewards about his willingness to tackle that matter and to tackle it strongly, without waiting, for next year,” said Abiteboul.

“But we need to understand exactly what’s behind that statement. That’s why, again, we’ll take a little bit of time before deciding what’s our course of action from that point onward.”

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

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7 comments on “Renault considering appeal to demand stronger penalty for Racing Point”

  1. I’m sure people will shout sour grapes but in some ways Renault have a point. If Racing Point are to be found guilty of running a somewhat illegal car but allowed to continue to run it, then the fine and docked points aren’t really much of a punishment at all. Especially when that car should be able to regain those lost points in one event and their boss isn’t short of money. This argument feels like a can of worms that F1 doesn’t really want to tackle, leading to this ‘sort-of’ punishment. If Renault protest the sanction I think they’d be right do so.

    1. Thing is, you can’t make Racing Point unlearn what they know about duct brakes. At which point one designed by them would be deemed original enough?

    2. With how close everything is this year, 15 points is a lot.

      I also think Racing Point probably wins if they appeal.

  2. Sour grapes.

    1. Sour grapes of the highest order.

      I hope RP appeals and overturns the penalty and rest as they were given green to begin with. There is nothing wrong if they had the design last year, and nothing even fia can do as the rules changed this year…

  3. Exactly.

  4. Just wanted to see if anyone had said Piranha Club yet.

    I’ll get my coat.

Comments are closed.