Lawrence Stroll, Racing Point, Hungaroring, 2020

Lawrence Stroll “extremely angry” over Racing Point verdict and “appalled” by rivals

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Racing Point co-owner Lawrence Stroll has spoken for the first time on the penalty issued to the team two days ago, saying he is “extremely angry” over claims the team broke the rules.

Stroll, who took over the team two years ago, added he is “appalled” by the responses of Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams to the verdict.

The four teams have notified the FIA they intend to appeal the decision. Some are believed to be seeking a tougher penalty for Racing Point.

Racing Point has also given notice of its intention to appeal. Stroll said he intends to “take all necessary actions to prove our innocence”.

The team was found to have broken the rules by using Mercedes’ 2019 rear brake duct as the basis for the design of its corresponding 2020 parts. It obtained the parts last year, when they were allowed to do so under the rules, but also received a set of ducts in January this year.

As of 2020 teams must design their own brake ducts and may not use those supplied by rival teams. Racing Point, which had not raced the rear ducts Mercedes supplied last year, used them as the basis for its 2020 design. This was found to be in breach of the regulations requiring teams to design their own ‘listed parts’.

In a statement issued by the team, Stroll quoted at length from the decision issued by the stewards on Friday, and insisted this area of the regulations was unclear. “There was an absence of specific guidance or clarification from the FIA in respect to how that transition to ‘Listed Parts’ might be managed within the spirit and intent of the regulations,” he said.

Stroll said his entire team was “shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling” and he is “truly upset to see the poor sportsmanship of our competitors”.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Lawrence Stroll statement in full

Good morning and thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to this statement.

I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated – particularly those comments coming from our competitors. I have never cheated at anything in my life. These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity – and that of my team – are beyond question.

Everyone at Racing Point was shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling and firmly maintain our innocence.

This team, under various names, has competed in Formula 1 for over 30 years and today employs 500 people. We’ve always been a constructor and will continue to be so in the future.

Throughout those 30 years, this team has been an underdog, punching well above its weight with a fantastic group of people. Between 2016 and 2018, this was the fourth best team on the grid, operating on the smallest budget, and scoring regular podiums.

Emerging from administration, with stability and fresh investment, this team’s competitive form should not be a surprise to anybody. The team can finally realise its potential and should be celebrated for its strong performance.

You only have to read the words of the stewards to understand why we are so disappointed by the sanctions. The report clearly states the following mitigating circumstances:

The parts transfer between Mercedes and Racing Point on January 6th 2020 does not constitute a breach of the regulations worthy of censure as the parts in question were both not used and did not expand the information that had previously passed from Mercedes to Racing Point quite legitimately under the regulations in 2019. The recent change of status of the Brake Ducts as Listed Parts further argues that censure or penalisation is not appropriate on this point. These are the words of the stewards.

The change in classification of the Brake Ducts from Non‐Listed Parts in 2019 to Listed Parts in 2020, as a mitigating factor.

The lack of detailed focus on Brake Ducts by the FIA personnel who inspected the RP20 in March 2020, when they were admittedly focused on the entire car.

Racing Point could probably have obtained much of the same amount of competitive advantage from photographing the Mercedes W10 Rear Brake Ducts and reverse engineering them, albeit with additional design resources expended in the process, say the stewards.

In every respect regarding this matter, Racing Point has been open and transparent with regard to their actions, which they fully believed to have been compliant with the regulations, and the Stewards attribute no deliberate intent to any breach of the regulations that occurred.

This is all quoted from the stewards’ decision.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

There was an absence of specific guidance or clarification from the FIA in respect to how that transition to Listed Parts might be managed within the spirit and intent of the regulations. The rules, as they are written, state that after 2019, no further information on brake duct design can be shared or acquired. At that point, what you know and have learned, is your own information. From that point onwards, you are on your own. Which is exactly what we have done.

So, to clarify, there was no guidance in place by the FIA surrounding the transition of non-listed to listed items and Racing Point received in March 2020 written confirmation from the FIA with regards to our compliance on the matter.

This week I was also shocked to see the FIA introduced a new grandfather clause, which had never previously existed.

Beyond the clear fact that Racing Point complied with the technical regulations, I am appalled by the way Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams have taken this opportunity to appeal, and in doing so attempted to detract from our performances. They are dragging our name through the mud and I will not stand by nor accept this.

I intend to take all necessary actions to prove our innocence.

My team has worked tirelessly to deliver the competitive car we have on the grid. I am truly upset to see the poor sportsmanship of our competitors.

I understand that the situation in which the FIA finds itself is difficult and complicated for many reasons, but I also respect and appreciate their efforts to try and find a solution in the best interests of the sport.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

61 comments on “Lawrence Stroll “extremely angry” over Racing Point verdict and “appalled” by rivals”

  1. It’s insane that all of this boils down to Racing Point studying a winning concept and basing their car on it. However, it takes a ton of development to figure out all the little packaging secrets to be an actual contender. I’m just angry that backmarkers weren’t using this approach earlier. I assumed teams were doing this, but simply couldn’t get all the details to come together. To think, we’ve had to tolerate debacles like Williams because they thought they were going to pull a rabbit out of the bag like Brawn GP and go from hero to zero after their design team’s incompetency was beyond doubt. Come on guys, get the general principle down and then work on your breakthroughs.

    1. nick that is not what actually happened. I guess that says it all. Not to mention RP also lied to everyone. Their story is just that a story. Does it matter? No. Caught on a technicality, how dumb, that matters.
      Lawrence maybe does not realise that his team was caught with merc duct cads several months past the deadline, considering they are different to last years RP, the team has no rebutal to that breach. As soon as Renault saw the breach RP could have corrected vunerability. Now they got exposed.
      Tombazis gains nothing for missing this until now, in fact he looks silly, his job is surely on the line. f1 does not want this mess.
      In f1 everyone straddles the line, RP were caught having a sleepover at Brackley.
      Stroll should be angered at Szafnauer, he failed to foresee the situation. Stroll is embarrased and looks to be resorting to intimidation. This does not read well.

  2. Man who used grey areas of rulings to succeed upset that grey areas of rulings have now punished him.

    Love that he’s appalled by the reaction of the other teams. They were likely appalled to see a team rock up with a barefaced duplicate of last year’s championship winner too. I don’t think anything they’ve said is ‘detracting’ from Racing Point’s performances either; they’re calling out a copy for being a copy – something his own people had called it too.

    Rather than quibble over this year I’d be more concerned for the future if I was him. Clearly this was the direction he wanted his buisness model to go and if the FIA close the loopholes that allowed it then where does that leave them?

    1. I’m not keen on the stench of nepotism and money that follows his son, or that his dad has bought success wherever possible – capitalised on it and claimed it as his own. And here he is again, buying an F1 team, buying a more ‘marketable’ brand for it, buying the components of a successful machine and then claiming that it’s his work. This statement just reads as outrage that someone finally told him no, that he can’t just buy his way to success. What’s he going to do, buy the FIA? This guy and the way he’s running his stuff is exactly the kind of thing F1 needs to avoid or you can throw the whole ‘meritocracy’ thing out of the window.

  3. Totally agree.
    The verdict is so absurd, that it is ridiculous even to think how stewards came to such decision.

    Front ducts – ok, rear – illegal. Despite them being bought, re-designed and implemented identically.

    Hope RP wins this, and everyone shuts up.

  4. I fully understand his position and frustration with the outcome.
    I’m still on the fence as far as how RP could have moved from bought-in part to listed part that would have satisfied everybody. FIA should have been much clearer in this, or accept what RP did.

    1. I’m firmly in the RP corner on this one. Haas, alpha tauri are presumably happily using rear brake duct designs based upon designs received legally from Ferrari and red bull legally last year. RP have been penalised for legally obtaining the designs in 2019, but not using them last year. The ridiculous thing is if they stuck the 2019 ducts on for 10 minutes at any race last year there would have been no penalty. In my view the transition from listed to unlisted rules were not specified, so making them up retrospectively seems wrong.
      For what it’s worth my view on Lawrence and Lance has also changed in the last few months, from annoyance that they have brought their way into the sport, to respect for fellow passionate F1 fans who have saved a great team.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        9th August 2020, 12:52

        I agree – I actually don’t much care about Racing Point but I dislike unfairness and this is just ridiculous. I love Messi but I can’t believe he got a penalty instead of a yellow card yesterday. He must have no respect for that ref and the VAR team. I also have no respect for the FIA or Renault or McLaren who simply can’t build a competitive car…

      2. Similarly, I have not considered RP as big cheaters in this. I can’t say I have stood up and applauded them for the level of copying they have done as I don’t believe that is the way to go in F1. But I do believe they had gone to great lengths to comply to the regs so I can understand Stroll’s frustration. It truly is splitting hairs regarding what has lead to their penalty. So as I say I have never considered them underhanded nor cheaters in this. Just perhaps playing in an area that was always going to invite scrutiny, and a lot of it. I’m not sure if it was another team doing it, that Stroll would not have been one of the ones reacting in a manner similar to what some teams have done, and that has appalled him.

    2. @coldfly What about pointing the finger at his team principal. fia is only at fault for not realising the car was illegal sooner. This debqcle brought to everyone’s attention that rp is running last years merc. Fia is really at fault for bqcking down on what they createdz after all there are 3 2019 cars on the grid, with the other 2 actually complying ith the farcical ruling.
      They are running a merc rear brake duct from november 2019, they are also running merc fronts but the problem is they only adopted the rear brake design past the deadline; it is completely different to the old brake duct they had been running. Bad slip up.

    3. You write

      I’m still on the fence as far as how RP could have moved from bought-in part to listed part that would have satisfied everybody.

      But that is just nonsense @coldfly. The FIA confirmed that they see no issue in RP basing their FRONT brake ducts on the Mercedes ones they used last year (I am sure Haas and Alfa Romeo and probably Alfa Tauri also went the same route for this year).

      The issue was with the rear brake ducts. RP never used them, never considered them, becaus they did not fit their aero concept for the past years. They only started looking at them with the change they were planning for this season. The change of BD to listed parts occured early enough last year that RP knew they would have to design their own ones, just like they have been doing for the last several seasons – one can hardly claim they based them on parts they only saw when planning for this year. Also, it clearly shows that RP do have the know how to do them themselves.

      But they went on an simply copied them anyway, even until getting reference parts delivered even this year.

      1. But that is just nonsense

        That’s a bit hard, @bascb, especially since you didn’t enlighten me what the crystal clear procedure should have been.

        The issue was with the rear brake ducts. RP never used them, never considered them

        That (using them) is irrelevant IMO. Don’t tell me that had they be on the car for 1 installation lap it would all be okay.
        And your statement (did not fit their aero concept), which might or might not be fact, clashes with the “never considered them” allegation.

        The 2020 Sporting and Technical regulations only start with FP at the first 2020 race (i.e. Austria). Before that (e.g. Barcelona testing days) they could fit whatever they want on the car.

        But they went on (and) simply copied them anyway, even until getting reference parts delivered even this year.

        And FIA (according to Stroll in this article) said that was expected and okay. Teams can start with the free 2019 parts and develop (or leave as is) from there to have their own ‘listed’ 2020 parts.
        Delivering some ducts in January is a bit weird, but the stewards saw no issue with that. If that was an issue, then Mercedes is as much at fault. The rules state not just that you cannot use another teams listed part, a team should also keep those parts to themselves [Appendix 6, clause #4 a)].

        Again I stand with my statement (which some might call ‘nonsense’) that the FIA did not manage the move from free parts to listed parts well. And if they were okay for a team to start with/from the parts aquired freely last year, then RP did nothing wrong.
        I’m pretty sure others did the same.

        1. The nonsense part @coldfly, that RP did NOT go from bought in parts to an own design on the rear brake ducts. They did their own rear break ducts for the last several seasons already. Now, for the 2020 season, they changed from their own design to a copy of the Mercedes rear BD.

          I am not telling you anything. The point about having used them in the past, having had the CAD knowledge because they used them as bought in parts for the last few years, as was the case with the front brake ducts RP based on what they knew and used last year is that a team using those ducts intensively can then design “their own” based, or indead almost completely copied it seems, is that a team would have learnt enough about that design they cannot “unsee” it or forget about it. So if they work, it is (seemingly) accepted that they continue to use more or less that same design.
          That is exaclty what RP did for the front brakes, as did 3 other teams on the grid for brake ducts.

          Yes, RP could fit Mercedes BD to their 2019 car. But that car would not work with them. The porpose of getting those designs, and the parts, was clearly to use them as the basis for a copy. There was never an intent to use those parts on that car. Just on the 2020 car for which they knew by then that they could not use a Mercedes design, because the part would already be a listed part for that car. So RP set out on that path with the intent of taking a shortcut to an “own” design.

          1. There was never an intent to use those parts on that car.

            You don’t know that, @bascb. Claiming you do would be ‘nonsense’.
            For all we know they chose their own design over the bought in part because it performed marginally better.

          2. For all we know they chose their own design over the bought in part because it performed marginally better.

            @coldfly when in October /November 2019 do you think RP was still considering using a Mercedes owned (or even built) design rear break duct for their 2020 racecar? When by then it had been months since break ducts were decided to be a “listed part” for that season, making it impossible to legally use anything else than an own design on that car?

          3. I’m used to better comments form you @bascb.
            I think it was below you to start off with the ‘nonsense’ remark; you could simply have stated with what you disagreed with.
            And now you are shifting the argument.
            FIA has stated that it is legal for a team to start their 2020 brake(!) duct design by using the bought-in 2019 version. Why then try to find intent (which you can never prove) why/when RP received the designs/ducts.
            For all I care they bought it as a nice mantlepiece.
            Hence, my initial argument: as FIA didn’t define well the transfer of non-listed to listed part, they left the door wide open for RP to do what they did.

          4. If you copy something, even if you aquire the part and the data going with it i na legal way, even billions of your own design documents that show an almost identical design do not mean you aren’t in actual fact using a part that is designed by someone else. Which the sporting rules do not accept.

            @coldfly – remember it is up to the TEAM to prove (satisfy the FIA appointed stewards that their design was legal) that they designed their own rear brake ducts under the sporting rules

            When they bought designs and parts from Mercedes for which they were not able to show any other use than to copy them, to the extent that the parts were clearly identical enough that the original Mercedes parts (supplied in januari ) could be used as replacements during tests in case the team would not manage their manufacturing in time, I cannot see a better description than “nonsense” for their claims that in fact they did their design work themselves mostly from pictures and that these parts are a design of themselves.

            I would agree with RP that is stragne to accpet that doing something not all that dissimilar with the front brake ducts, and probably something not too far off the process used at Alfa Romeo, Haas (although Steiner actually said they had to hire their own group of people to desing the parts) and Alpha Tauri, with the biggest difference being the argument that the teams USED those parts and somehow learned how to design them almost alike the original ones but not this.
            My only understanding is that the FIA accepted that because they did not want to throw half the field into a situation where they were running parts that they did not design themselves. Which might be a pragmatic choice to avoid completely derailing both this and potentially the next season as well.

            I presume that the argument would stop to be too relevant by 2021 for designing the 2022 cars, since all these teams will have to design new brake ducts to go with the new aero rules as well as larger rims that make things they learnt until now more in the range of know how and less directly applicable to the actual design.

            In such a case it, again, makes sense to draw the line at buying design of parts for the purpose of copying them to try and argue you “designed them ourselves” by tracing lines, arriving at a near identical part without having to put the work in to actually design vs. just redrawing them for the future.

  5. Lol, and F1 funny!
    It’s a dog eat dog world Lawrence, but I’m pretty sure you’re fully aware of this.

    1. Yes. Ha ha, welcome to the piranha club Larry! They were happy to take your money until you became a threat. RP seem to be fumbling their car benefits though.

  6. Well if nothing else this should shut up certain people in F1 from making some ill-informed accusations. Stroll is not someone you would want to take on lightly unless you are 100% sure of what you are doing.

    1. They’re not ill-informed anymore.

      1. Nor are they consistent with penalties.

    2. I didn’t bother reading it – I caught some of his righteous indignation on the broadcast, it was enough for me.
      Are you saying that he should be allowed to cheat because he’s a litigious bully. I thought that kind of posturing only worked for his neighbours to the South.

  7. I was always sure they have done this by the rules. At least their interpretation of the rules.
    I always believed Wolff wouldn’t do anything to harm his or Mercedes reputation.
    But there was a transfer of technology happening in the background, be it legal or not, to a much greater extent that they want to admit. The fact that Mercedes did not protest themselves means they were rewarded in some form by the deal.
    I don’t see a problem with that. Copying another team’s design, technology, setup, strategy, hiring their staff and so on is common practice and should not bother anyone anymore.
    Keep the rules stable after 22 season, let the reverse engineering do its magic. The technology side will suffer a bit, but racing will be fierce as never.

    1. Yes, it’s going to be thrilling to see Red bull and Ferrari fight to the death with 14 Mercedes copies while the actual Mercedes has a 1s
      advantage at every race… Exactly what I want to watch at the pinnacle of Motorsport…

      1. @dragon88 Umm… how is that much different to now? I care more about tight competition than semi-identical cars I can’t tell the difference between once racing anyway.

        1. If you care for tight competition from P3 onwards, good for you. I care for tight competition for the wins and the championships. I care about technical innovations and independent teams taking the fight to big manufacturers thanks to clever concepts. None of those things are never going to happen if teams are allowed to copy/buy other teams’ cars.

    2. A few years ago, some guy got crosshired Ferrari / McLaren and decided to bring along a folder of last year’s drawings. McLaren apparently didn’t use them yet were fined 100million (then!) and flat out DQ’d.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    9th August 2020, 12:37

    The FIA should simply reverse its decision – the discussion is almost as comical as some of the penalties we’ve all been watching in the Champions League. Just because you want it to be a penalty, it’s not a penalty. If you break wind in the box now, there’s a penalty :-)

  9. I’m yet to meet a billionaire that “has never cheated”! But probably even Al Capone played the victim at some point!

  10. God, watching this guy reading it in the coverage, Brundle destroying him in reply… Rightfully so.

    The man with the money having a big ol’ cry because he didn’t get his way. Sad.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th August 2020, 12:42

      Where is Brundle’s reply?

      1. Brindle said that he “talks to team principles on the phone, and has no time for a prepared statement read from an autocue.”

        1. Brundle. Obviously.

        2. Do principals have principles? Now there’s a question…

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            9th August 2020, 13:05

            Ha ha ha

  11. This all feels a bit like a billionaire creating a new football team from scratch and just buying up the whole Real Madrid team or something. Is it wrong or illegal, no, is it perhaps a bit of a “hack” though? Absolutely.

    In a way I don’t really care about all this drama in F1, it’s all just millionaires and billionaires playing around and people take it all far too seriously. I’m just happy we have the chance of seeing Hulk finally get his much deserved podium. I don’t really have a view either way on all of this. As they just said on Sky, Mercedes are happy so what’s the problem? The other teams should have maybe tried the same tactic.

    1. The other teams should have maybe tried the same tactic.

      They (Ferrari, RBR, Renault) can’t…. if they wan’t to beat Mercedes. Other than that, yeah, we can have a full grid of 2019 Mercedes cars… but the winner will always be Mercedes.

  12. He cheated. Needs to shut up and take his medicine.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th August 2020, 13:07

      Cheated how? If anything,they haven’t cheated unless more evidence comes out. The FIA is trying to steal their performance to favor Renault and McLaren. If anything that trio is cheating.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        9th August 2020, 13:14

        Doing something that is not allowed is considered cheating.

        1. Absolutely not. Cheating means acting in dishonesty. Which they absolutely didn’t, even the stewards have admitted so.

          1. GtisBetter (@)
            9th August 2020, 15:33

            Sure, these highly intelligent people suddenly had no idea what to do. They suddenly were not able to read some sentences and figure out what they mean, and were not able to get clarification. Very plausible. It’s not like every team F1 does anything to get an advantage.

          2. If it’s ethics not legality – I’d argue that copying is dishonest generally.
            But here specifically, they dug into a drawer of someone else’s IP and slapped Mercedes design on their car.

  13. Question is, will Seb now still want to go to a team that will NOT be fighting with Merc at the front, but is destined to return to the lower midfield.
    Another question might be will Aston Martin still want in?

    1. Seb doesn’t have much choice.
      Stroll’s consortium owns 25% of AM (that was bought pretty cheaply after the stock price was driven down) and has a chunk of their current finance – also not much choice.

  14. The stewards’ report says “censure or penalisation is not appropriate on this point”, so why are Racing Point then fined & deducted 15 points? The FIA needs to sort their act out – be clear & consistent.

  15. Meanwhile Ferrari keep all their points from last year.

    1. Two wrongs do not make a right, but yes indeed there are still many questions. I’m surprised it’s legal tbh what Jean Todt did.

      1. @john-h You’re surprised that the ex-boss of Ferrari covered up the wrongdoings of his former team?

        FIA = Ferrari International Assistance

  16. I’m thinking that Renault and several others are of the strong opinion that the car is a replica of last years Merc down to some considerable detail. That such detail information could not be retrieved from a high tech camera or laser scanner as they can only capture the outside image, basically it’s the 2019 Merc.

  17. I’m now wondering whether or not the new Concorde agreement will get signed, Mercedes aren’t keen on certain aspects of it, now I would say RP won’t be either.
    The FIA don’t seem to see past the end of their collective noses.
    How many teams are required to race ?

  18. But dad got the team to pit HUL late so his son would finish ahead of HUL.

  19. They received CAD drawings from Merc as late as October 2019. They didn’t design these rear ducts independently for 2020 as required, they used drawings from Mercedes on which to base their designs. Where’s the grey area? You don’t see Renault receiving drawings of Ferrari brake ducts designs for example? Not sure if they did it intentionally or not, but they should take the 15pt penalty and pipe down imho.

    1. They can’t just take their medicine. There’ll be more protests, the fine that was levied is a drop in the ocean of what Racing Point have at stake here (prize money from this year’s position for a start and how about a revisit of all the bonus money they were gifted from FI).

  20. Jose Lopes da Silva
    9th August 2020, 17:12

    “But [George] Russell, who finished third with new team Hitech Grand Prix, countered: “I feel sorry for Nick [Cassidy]- to have to give his position up to Lance on the first lap of the first race is bad for the championship.

    “He was on the back of Lance throughout the race, and it’s a bit of a shame if the championship is going to pan out this way.

    “Hitech don’t have a way of protecting me like Prema do with Lance.

    “It’s a shame that you can’t get anywhere in this sport without paying for it, while normal guys like myself and Ben Barnicoat [Russell’s Hitech team-mate] are trying to compete for the championship.

    “Nick [Cassidy] can talk about all his mistakes, but it’s complete and utter rubbish.”

  21. Luigi Guaraldo
    9th August 2020, 17:22

    Well “Larry”… I guess you finally met The Wall, aka FIA.
    You have bought your son’s way since go-karts. As someone else her said, you bought a team, a car company and the 2019 Mercs.
    It is so shameful that you guys even pitted Nico today on an unnecessary pitstop, só Stroll boy could “pass” him.
    Nepotism in F1 just destroys the spirit of the sport. Buying a racing team so your son can race can be called free enterprise, but lack of talent can only take you so far.

    1. It was disgraceful what Racing Point did to Hulkenberg today. They even put him on the soft tyre when in practice the performance of the soft was dropping off by the third sector of their first lap.

      Vibrations? Give me a break. He had maintained a gap over Stroll the entire race. Performance hadn’t dropped off.

  22. Maybe he should buy Kleenex?

    Kimberly-Clark would probably consider offloading the brand for a few hundred million, especially considering Papa Stroll’s urgent need.

  23. lol, welcome to the pirahna club, Lawrence

  24. So many anti-Stroll comments here.

Comments are closed.