Wolff “happy to go to court” as Horner calls for FIA to examine Mercedes’ role in Racing Point case

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he has no concerns over any examination of Mercedes’ role in the Racing Point legality row.

However other team principals have called for the FIA to look into whether Mercedes broke the rules by supplying parts to Racing Point.

On Friday the FIA stewards fined Racing Point €400,000 and deducted 15 points from their constructors’ championship total for using rear brake ducts which were designed illegally. The ducts were based on parts obtained from Mercedes.

The decision has raised questions over how far technical co-operation between competing teams is permissible. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said his team “want absolute clarity as to what is and what isn’t permissible moving forward.”

“Obviously Red Bull are in the unique position that they own 100% of two grand prix teams,” he said. “We’ve always complied stringently with the regulations since the constructor rules within the last Concorde were made very clear.

“So for us there is a bigger picture. This is not just about brake ducts, it’s about what is philosophically allowed and what isn’t.

“Regarding Mercedes I’m sure questions will get asked, because if if the team in question are guilty of receiving, surely the team that has provided has been also in breach of those regulations? And that’s something for the FIA to look into.”

The row is expected to drag on as five teams, including Racing Point, have given notice of their intention to appeal Friday’s decision. Wolff is confident any further examination of the matter will find no wrongdoing on Mercedes’ part.

“We have not been protested, we have done nothing wrong, I strongly believe that Racing Point has done nothing wrong,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “I believe that if this goes to the International Court of Appeal, the lawyers and the barristers have a strong opinion that this is a case that has very, very solid pillars and therefore everybody’s in a good place about that.”

“Obviously our reputation is very important,” he added. “But it is intact. And if someone thinks that we have done something wrong they should protest and we’re happy to go to court.”

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95 comments on “Wolff “happy to go to court” as Horner calls for FIA to examine Mercedes’ role in Racing Point case”

  1. The FIA has never said that Racing Point “were guilty of receiving”. The FIA clearly states that the information was passed along in 2018 and 2019, when it was legal to do so. Racing Point is guilty of using the legally received information in a wrong manner and at a wrong time. That decision is being appealed by Racing Point.

    1. Mercedes send RP brake ducts on the 6th of January this year (when it wasn’t allowed anymore); that’s the point he is referring to and one of the points of concern for the protesting teams.

      1. Not correct.
        Any delivery of whatever sold in 2018-2019 is not restricted by time. There’s no legal, technical, sporting or other framework prohibiting delivery of goods from business entity A to business entity B.

        Literally Mercedes can still be sending brake ducts to RP on daily basis, as it is fully up to RP to do anything with them except running it on their cars in races.

        1. @dallein the rules are active as of 1 jan this year. After that it is not allowed to use listed parts by other manufacturers or use designs by others. Receiving the parts after the date shows there was data/examples/parts (all in one, you can reverse engineer the parts by disassembly: not allowed!
          So no, its not allowed to deliver after this date. Both are in the wrong there and the court will probably be clear about it.
          We just have to wait and see.

          1. @erikje You completely missed the point, RP purchased them in 2019 when it was still legal to do so.

          2. @DanS You completely missed the point, RP received them in 2020 when it was illegal to do so.
            The rules are crystal clear (see reference below) and even the stewards declared it a breach (also see refence below).

          3. @coldfly They purchased them and had copies of them in 2019. What they got was in early 2020 is more.

            The stewards are morons, their ruling is going to get trashed when it goes to a real court.

          4. @erikje
            @coldfly

            The rule is very ambiguous at best. It does not specify the condition appropriately or very specifically…

            “4. No competitor shall be entitled:
            a) To pass on or receive any information on Listed Parts (including but not limited to data, designs or drawings) directly to or from another competitor or via an external entity or third party.”

            It didnt specify whether they cant use or receive info from listed parts that were legally obtained prior to regulation changes… There is no specific time frame on this…
            i can read the rule and interpret it as if it only applies to 2020 only parts designed…
            a) to pass on or receive any information on listed parts designed for and from 2020.

            if it said
            a) to pass on or receive any information on listed parts from any previous years…
            This would prevent RP and any others who never designed their brake ducts themselves, and directly received them, to use another manufacturer’s ducts thus forcing them to design their own for 2020… yet, it still would not solve the problem: as mentioned by stewards themselves…. you cant unlearn what you already know!

            Car designs/geometry etc are very specific things and cant be changed overnight! RP was legally obtained drawings and parts… There was no specific direction/clear indication of the rule, and quite unfair to say the least… because how do you prove other partner teams designed brake ducts themselves for 2020? The info was received and still echoing in their computers… But they already had it, yeah but didnt design them still, it is still designed by someone else, only made by you…

      2. I’ve seen this date mentioned a few times. If it realy was the case, it would be pretty indefensible for both Mercedes and RP. I can’t imagine that is all the story to this… there must be more, 2 teams could not have made such a huge and silly mistake.

        1. I’ve seen this date mentioned a few times. If it realy was the case, it would be pretty indefensible for both Mercedes and RP.

          It was explicitly mentioned in the FIA/stewards’ decision; check chapter ‘Parts Transfer of 6 January, 2020’ of this decision.
          The FIA/stewards called it “not a significant breach”. A bit weird if you ask me. A breach is a breach; you don’t want to start discussions about how significant it was (except to determine the severity of the penalty).
          @ivan-vinitskyy

          1. No, not every breach is a breach. They can be different.

            Also, stewards ruled not entirely correctly on this – there is no regulation or framework prohibiting the shipment of anything in 2020, which has been bought in 2018-2020.

            So it should not be considered breach at all.

          2. @dallein – You’re wrong.

            Appendix 6, Paragraph 4a of the Sporting Regulations clearly state:

            No competitor shall be entitled to pass on or receive any information on Listed Parts (including but not limited to data,designs or drawings) directly to or from another competitor or via an external entity or
            third party.

            https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/2020_formula_1_sporting_regulations_-_iss_6_-_2020-04-07.pdf

            it doesn’t matter when money was traded or when agreements were made and it’s 100% clear. Mercedes were not allowed to pass information to Racing Point.

            They said it was a minor breach because brake ducts had only just become listed parts and because the drawings passed to RP weren’t used.

          3. @dallein,
            Please refer to @petebaldwin‘s comprehensive reply above.

            PS the stewards also clarified that the sporting regulations became valid from the start of the 2020 calendar year.

          4. The stewards said it was fine, they clarified it in the full report and answered your question. They said six days was still acceptable for just parts receiving especially given that Mercedes supplied them with those same parts last year.

            If your not happy with it, tough luck. The matter has been dealt it.

          5. No CAD files were sent after Jan 1, only the parts they were already supplied (on Jan 6) and the stewards ruled that this was still acceptable given the short timeframe.

      3. No, it can’t be, because that has already been dealt with in the FIA ruling.

        In their ruling the FIA has made so many remarks on the spirit of the rules, that it would have been quite silly, if in this case they would have ignored the spirit and gone by the wording.

        I personally think that nobody could seriously object if Mercedes again sent Racing Point the brake ducts or brake duct CADs tomorrow. There would be no harm in that, no advantage gained. Maybe the FIA will rewrite the rule to make it clear that the intent is to only prohibit the transfer of information not received beforehand.

        1. But what you personally think is irrelevant; it’s what the teams think, and so far RP is on the wrong side!
          And if Mercedes’ sends CAD’s today to RP the punishment will make the spy-gate punishment look like a joke.

          1. No, it would not differ from sending them on the 6th of January. All mitigating factors the FIA mentioned and which did not lead to a punishment remain the same, except that the time from the beginning of the year is larger.

            For what reason should a team be punished for sending another team the same information they had sent them before?

            But it would be quite funny if the FIA would try to punish Racing Point for not adhering to the spirit of the rules, but on the other hand would try to punish Mercedes for not adhering to the letter of the rule.

          2. What the teams think is irrelevant alao, what the stewards think is.

            The stewards said it was fine to receive those same parts that were already being supplied in previous year only six days after because of mitigating circumstances.

            As far as I could tell, no CAD files were sent after the Jan 1 date. I keep reading these being claimed by people but the full stewards report did not mention this at all. Only parts were sent after six days, and stewards said that and others Mercedes already being their supplier from previous year and listed parts change was enough mitigating circumstances.

            Disagree? Then apply to become an F1 steward, rise your way up then and change it.

          3. Surely it’s up to what the FIA stewards think?! Teams can think as much as they want, don’t mean poop until it’s ruled upon.

        2. @uzsjgb
          The reason mercedes or point is not scared of the steward’s decision. Court will check facts. Rule does not specify proper description what can and cant be received (previous info/parts they already purchased legally prior to rule change? because this invalidates any shipment date questions) Does the rule cover any previous years? or applies to anything for and from 2020? This is the legality concern and it is not defined clearly… If it is the former, then anyone who are carrying a brake duct not originally designed by them is automatically banned… If it is the later then rp has not breached any rules because what info you owned/learned cant be unlearned magically ! it cant be both rule… it could say anything designed for 2020 or previous years to cover every possible combo would have the same effect some more would be burned… Also again would be unfair, since they already paid and learnt prior to rule change… I can only thing wording should have said listed parts designed for 2020 and from 2020 on… everyone would be happy… because teams who are appealing the rule are digging their own graves…

      4. Spare parts for show cars. The need the spare parts!

  2. Horner stirring things up ab bit, it’s interesting to note that RB are not one of the teams protesting but are enthusiastically cheering from the sidelines :)

    1. Ofcourse. They need to know whether the 2021 Alpha Tauri can be the 2028 RB

  3. Finally. Wolff always sure that Mercedes didn’t broke the rules. Just like Otmar before the ruling.

    1. Keep believing what you will. They didn’t break anything.

      1. Keep believing what you will

        yep, its the court that will declare it illegal. So just wait for it..

        1. Actually it’s more likely the courts will rule in favour of Racing Point given the content of the stewards report. Making up some grandfather rule on parts on the spot is hardly a fair judgement. The FIA have messed up allowing what Racing Point have done and are now just trying to save face but know had they pushed a harder penalty it was guaranteed to be appealed by Racing Point. What they’ve done however is pleasing nobody and so everyone is appealing.

          As was alluded to already, the regulations are also on sketchy ground around the 6th January transfer if it’s proven that is the same parts as previously sent.

          1. @slowmo.. read a little above this posting..

            petebaldwin (@petebaldwin)
            11th August 2020, 13:11

            @dallein – You’re wrong.

            Appendix 6, Paragraph 4a of the Sporting Regulations clearly state:

            No competitor shall be entitled to pass on or receive any information on Listed Parts (including but not limited to data,designs or drawings) directly to or from another competitor or via an external entity or
            third party.

            https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/2020_formula_1_sporting_regulations_-_iss_6_-_2020-04-07.pdf

            it doesn’t matter when money was traded or when agreements were made and it’s 100% clear. Mercedes were not allowed to pass information to Racing Point.

            They said it was a minor breach because brake ducts had only just become listed parts and because the drawings passed to RP weren’t used.

          2. Read the bit after that erikje

            Nothing in that regulation specifies you cannot provide a part from the previous year that is not “listed” because you own the IP. The stewards just made up the grandfather rule and the entire ruling is on that basis. The stewards have claimed that because they didn’t fit the brake ducts they paid for and hence owned in the previous year to a car in a race then they didn’t qualify as transferring ownership which is frankly rubbish and is in noway supported in the regulations.

            The parts were paid for and supplied last year and hence those specific parts are not listed parts in the sense that the IP actually belongs to Racing Point so there is no actual information or IP transfer taking place by Mercedes providing the parts. The other point is the date of 1st January 2020 is in no way enshrined in the regulations either.

            Time will tell but you’d be a brave man betting against Mercedes and Racing Point in a court given the facts.

    2. They 100% did brake the rules but it was a rule that had only affected brake ducts for 6 days at the time when it was broken.

      1. ignoring a yellow flag by less then 1 sec will cost you your pole..
        6 days (well knowing when the rule became active months before) is a “lifetime”.

    3. Well, may be then file a protest..
      See what the FIA says..

  4. the only problem for Merc seems to be that January 6th 2020 date. If they provided CAD designs or whatever else on that exact date than this is illegal, as far as I understand. Not sure where this info has been provided or if it’s true, but this might mean trouble for Merc.

    1. CADs have been provided in 2018-2019, and it IS noted in Steward’s decision.

    2. You can something in the post to anyone though. What if Renault posted a brake duct to Williams tomorrow for example!? Surely the onus would be on Williams not to use it.

      1. Just to clarify, part of Spygate was that the information was actually used in the design of the car. Ferrari were not penalised for the actions of one employee for supplying it.

        1. The Ferrari engineer stole information from Ferrari when he left the company to join McLaren, so of course Ferrari wasn’t penalised.

          If Mercedes agree to send CAD drawings or parts to RP, both are going against the regulations.

          1. @dragon88 Nigel Stepney hadn’t left Ferrari or joined McLaren at the time he sent the data to Mike Coughlan.

            Nigel was still a Ferrari employee & had a contract with them until the end of 2007. It was believed that part of the reason he did what he did was that he was unhappy at a technical reshuffle that saw him been taken off the race team (He had been chief mechanic) & moved to factory based job (Head of performance & development).

            At the time he passed the data on I don’t believe he had spoken to Mclaren management about wanting a job there & therefore hadn’t been offered any sort of contract. It also came out later that both Stepney & Coughlan had spoken to Nick Fry about the possibility of the 2 of them joining Honda to work alongside Ross Brawn.

          2. Yes, but also remember that Renault F1 was found to have information “including, but not limited to the layout and critical dimensions of the McLaren F1 car, together with details of the McLaren fuelling system, gear assembly, oil cooling system, hydraulic control system and a novel suspension component used by the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars” and the FIA did F-all.

          3. That’s because under Max Moseley’s crooked leadership he used the FIA to settle a personal vendetta with Ron Dennis. One of the most disgusting penalties ever given by the sport, all on the basis that the team hadn’t been “transparent” enough.

    3. Both Mercedes and Racing Point submitted information to the FIA concerning what was transferred on January 6th. It says so in the FIA ruling.

      But it seems the sporting rules do not specifically say when they came into effect. Is it the beginning of the calendar year or the beginning of the championship, i.e. the first race? The only defence the FIA has is what they think the “spirit” of the rules is. I can’t see that holding up in an independent court.

      The more analysis is put into this case, the better it looks for Racing Point (and Mercedes). A probable outcome may be, that while the FIA interpretation of the rules takes precedence for further cases, in this case the FIA interpretation could not have been known beforehand, so all penalties against Racing Point are revoked.

      1. @uzsjgb it’s not even the FIA’s interpretation of the rules, strictly speaking – what the stewards have done is to make their own assumptions on how the rules that the FIA have written should be interpreted and to then base their judgement on that, hence their reference to what they assumed the purpose of the rules were.

        The vagueness of the rules are such that I would agree that, in an actual law court, the judgement by the stewards is not necessarily on a completely sound footing and there are a number of areas where this judgement could be attacked, given it relies on the stewards having to fill in the gaps in some areas of the regulations (particularly with the dates on which they were assumed to kick in).

    4. As far as we can confirm, no CAD files were sent after Jan 1, only the parts they were already supplied (on Jan 6) and the stewards ruled that this was still acceptable given the short timeframe and the fact that Mercedes were already supplying them as unlisted parts before.

  5. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    11th August 2020, 9:19

    I guess Horner has a valid point, as well as Dr Marko before. For year and years Toro Rosso has been the B-team with a B-car, while they could’ve pulled a Racing Point and just copy the entire Red Bull.

    At the same time, I still think that RAcing Point deserved some credit for actually doing it right where so many others who tried to copy entire chunks of a car failed. Nobody did it because they thought they couldn’t pull it off. Racing Point included as they stated before. Everyone is okay with it when they think it can’t be done, but when someone succeeds, all hell breaks loose.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      11th August 2020, 12:58

      They couldn’t run 4 identical cars – that would be akin to a team running 4 cars and splitting them into 2 teams. Then Ferrari would end up P3 or P4. They are already in a massive position of privilege being able to test concepts on the Toro Rosso and have double engine testing. It’s probably the only team that can’t run an identical car. But Toro Rosso could have copied the Mercedes or Ferrari cars.

      Besides, I’m pretty sure that the cars share a boatload of components and designs probably ten-fold more than Racing Point and Mercedes do.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        11th August 2020, 12:59

        And yes copying a car like you said is easier than done. Somehow RP got it closer than rivals and should reap those rewards.

      2. and have double engine testing.

        like Mercedes probably has williams, RP, Merc and next year McLaren. So even more “doubles” then.
        Btw, no-one ever felt the need to discuss the differences or comparisons of the TR/RB cars. So you can “think” they share a lot, but the facts will show otherwise.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          11th August 2020, 15:42

          A bit different because Toro Rosso can try out engine mappings specific to the Red Bull. Obviously, the differences between a Toro Rosso and a Red Bull are much lower than a Williams and a Ferrari which are 2 completely different constructors.

          If Toro Rosso were 3rd in the championship and looked identical to Red Bull, there’d be a revolution in the paddock. Both teams know that Toro Rosso needs to end a few spots off in the championship unless Red Bull was having a hard time.

          1. RP to name one, has the complete drive train by Mercedes. No difference in drivemappings. But its not allowed to share those information and i am sure the FIA checks it. So it will be nearly impossible for TR/RB to share this info without risking a lot.
            I understand you think differently but there is not a shred of evidence to prove this.
            you are casting aspersions that are entirely baseless.

    2. Does anyone seriously think that Red Bull are not sharing more information than is allowed every year with Alpha Tauri. If I was Horner I’d watch where I pointed my finger because under scrutiny I don’t think they’d hold up to everything. It only takes one whistle blower…

  6. TW could trot out chapter and verse of why, in his opinion, they never broke any rules and that would shut down the protest if he was indeed correct. He has said nothing other than “I have no concerns”

    1. He just forgot to report to you!

      1. No. He knows they broke the rules but it can be demonstrated that the data that was transferred outside of the regulations was not used. Therefore he’s not concerned because at worst, it’ll be a slap on the wrist.

    2. @blik What one person who has vested interests says is in no way going to shut the protest down. If it goes all the way to court it’s going to come down to the interpretation of a bunch of lawyers and a judge (I don’t know the exact process), just like the first judgement was the interpretation of the group of stewards it happened to fall to.

      1. In the UK court there is jurisprudence for F1 copyright cases, thanks to Force India. Yeah, the irony is hillarious.

  7. Mr. Toto, by the way the mask is to cover your nose too. It is already in itself “a kind of illegality” too, as it can affect others. Thank you very much.

  8. The whole of F1 is behaving like a squabbling Borgia court with Ferrari being Lucrezi at the head ravening pack.

  9. it’s about what is philosophically allowed and what isn’t.

    Yeah, that’s Red Bulls point as well Toto. They have been trying to juggle two teams, when apparently you can just send a copy of all the cad files to your B team and have them build a copy of your car.
    Imagine the amount of time and money Red Bull would save, and the amount they would earn through the better finishing position of the B team.

    1. SadF1fan, except they do already send a fair chunk of their stuff over – witness Toro Rosso describing their 2019 car as having “the back end of a Red Bull” bolted onto it, for example.

      1. But like Haas all allowed under the rules and that’s the difference!

        As Marko stated, if the RP/Merc deal is okay, then next year there are 4 identical cars at Red Bull, 6 at ferrari and 8 at Mercedes. Only the poor renault is single..

        1. The ruling clearly states that the RP/Merc deal is okay. The Racing Point front brake ducts were constructed from the Mercedes CAD models and they were declared legal. The Racing Point rear brake ducts were also contructed in the same manner, in the opinion of the stewards they are only illegal, because they were not used on the 2019 car. The only problem is that the brake ducts became listed parts in 2020.

          Red Bull can send Toro Rosso CAD models of all the non-listed parts and Toro Rosso can construct the parts.

          Of course the FIA has realised this and has already said that they intend to change the rules, so that there will not be a copying championship.

  10. I’m wondering whether or not Merc and RP have already selected the employees that they will throw under the bus as this thing develops.

    How long will it be before both Otmar and Toto have a press conference announcing how shocked and disappointed they are that these (add names here) conspired to transfer CAD designs and data between the teams without their or the teams knowledge.

    1. No need, because the FIA has already stated that the transfer of CAD models and data was fully legal. Even the construction of the front brake ducts from the Mercedes CAD models and data was fully legal.

      I don’t really understand why the transfer of designs and data is such an issue. Mercedes could have legally sent the brake ducts themselves.

      Does Ferrari manufacture all the parts that Haas buys and then sends them the finished parts? Or do Haas/Dallara construct them from Ferrari designs?

  11. Never seen anything in any set of regulations that states letting someone else look at your IP is against the rules. That may be because I haven’t read every line of all the regulations, or it may be because it would be silly to try to tell teams what they can and can’t do with their own IP.

    The ‘fault’, if it exists, lies with whoever acquires and uses the information.

    1. Read the “listed parts” clauses. They clearly state that it is not allowed to exchange data between teams. You have to develop and build those parts yourself.

      1. Aha, thanks – turns out it was indeed because I hadn’t encountered that part of the regs!

    2. @neilosjames

      https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/2020_formula_1_sporting_regulations_-_iss_6_-_2020-04-07.pdf

      Page 53, Paragraph 4, point A.

      No competitor shall be entitled to pass on or receive any information on Listed Parts.

      1. it wasn’t a listed part last year, and the information was passed on in 2018-2019.

        1. Regarding the front ducts that true. But the rear duct were delivered on 6 januari. So after the new rule was active.

          1. All the data on the rear brake ducts was also passed on in 2018-2019. It says so in the ruling. There is no way a team can receive brake duct data on January 6th and have their own ducts ready on February 19th. The ruling also states that it is not reasonable to assume Racing Point could construct new brake ducts in 2020, which shows how much time the FIA thinks it would take.

          2. Yes and the stewards noted that and said it was still okay given the short timeframe.

      2. I mean just to highlight how awful this regulation is written. If you’re the last team in the championship and have no points, what’s to stop you getting paid by another team to ship some listed parts by recorded delivery to one of their top competitors and then point the figure that they “accepted” the delivery of said parts and hence had received a listed part. It’s just silly.

  12. Racing Point really need to get Toto Wolff to stop talking about this because the more he white knights for them the more suspicious it makes the whole thing look. The more he loudly insists they did nothing wrong, Mercedes aren’t culpable at all, how dare the the other ‘stubborn’ teams point fingers and insist he’s just being a ‘mediator’ it just makes me think he’s trying to control the narrative. You can protest a little too much.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      11th August 2020, 13:08

      There’s a lot at stake. Aston Martin May not want to associate itself with a team that’s been found guilty of breaking the sporting regulations even though the regs appear to be written as we speak to serve the protest.
      Certainly Mercedes doesn’t want the negative publicity. There’s no chance that the FIA will win. Both teams will throw infinite resources into this.

      Of course, this will only result in Mercedes forcing the FIA to share their deal with Ferrari which will destroy Ferrari’s reputation.

      Mercedes may even ask that Formula 1 break away from the FIA and many constructors may support that.

      1. Considering Aston Martin’s in Laurence Stroll and Wolff’s pocket now I don’t think it’ll affect their involvement with Racing Point enormously. What I think’s more critical here is clearly buying and replicating the Mercedes as near identically as possible was obviously what Stroll’s business model was to be for RP/AM, and if the FIA have ruled it illegal and will close those loopholes that allowed it then where does that leave them? Presumably with a lot more investment to be competitive than Stroll was originally intending.

        Personally I don’t see Mercedes as being hugely involved but Wolff’s position in all of this makes me uneasy, given his connections not just to Mercedes but to Racing Point. I wonder if someone ends up falling on a sword… it’ll be Wolff?

        1. @rocketpanda I agree that it seems like TW doth protest too much. Although he is part of the ordeal so I suppose he has to.

          I don’t know…I’m not going to sit here and say I have the answers to this but obviously other teams still want answers and that to me is significant. Why can they still run illegal brake ducts? Why was it ok to send RP brake ducts in January? I know there are short answers to these questions, but I can sure see why teams want further clarity too.

          On the one hand I would be very surprised if TW/Mercedes would knowingly take a risk with the brake ducts in question, or the info on them. What would be in it for Mercedes to have helped RP to the point of an illegality? But then there’s the concept of what they (Mercedes and RP and the other teams) consider to be technically legal or not. What RP thought was legal, and still vehemently do, has so far not been the case, subject to appeal of course.

          Regarding Horner I think he is absolutely right to bring the topic up with the FIA and ask for clarity. He’s not filing a protest at this point, so I don’t think there will be further investigation, at least not because of anything Horner has asked for, but perhaps with the other teams protesting there will be further investigation, or at least further clarity. I absolutely agree more clarity is needed.

          The Jan 6/20 date seems suspect or at least I would say the same thing I have about RP…they are playing with fire and behaving on a manner (the comprehensive copying) that was always going to at least invite a ton of scrutiny even if everything turns out pretty mundane and for the most part legal, and things go no further than the penalty RP has already received.

          TW (Mercedes) sent brake ducts to RP on Jan 6 to ‘help them’ in case the ones they designed themselves were not going to be ready for Feb testing. Turns out the brake ducts were not used and I’m not sure that is relevant. The sending of the ducts on that date to me sounds like at a bare minimum playing with fire and asking for the very scrutiny they now find themselves under. We’ve been told it was not a big enough breach to warrant a penalty. Yeah that sounds like something the other teams would just sit on their hands over and just let go by.

          1. The legality of what they’ve done is in a very grey area of the rules and so there’s certainly an interpretation where it’s fine but there’s also one where it’s not. They must have known they were playing with fire in that regard, they can’t complain now about getting burnt.

            Mercedes involvement is obvious, they helped them when they probably shouldn’t have – but given the extreme level of duplication on the Racing Point car, wondering how much further that help went is a legitimate question if just for clarity. When you then roll in Wolff’s aggressive defence of Racing Point, his involvement with Stroll and the Aston Martin brand, the mixed messages of the whole affair and Wolff shouting about going to court as a threat… for me the whole thing just feels very off.

            I also can’t imagine Wolff being absolutely fine with this whole saga if it were between Ferrari/Haas, or Red Bull/Alpha Tauri. I think he’d be loudest voice calling for clarity and harsher punishments if it was deemed illegal. So it strikes me as rather strange how generally indifferent Mercedes are about a duplicate of their work being used.

          2. @rocketpanda Can’t argue with anything you’ve said above.

            I thought of a question in the meantime.

            If TW is so convinced they and RP did nothing wrong, and that RP indeed designed their own RBD’s, what made him think the ones he shipped them in January would fit and work for them? I think the clue to that is in the findings of the stewards…the process ie. the design work RP showed the stewards, showed that their emphasis was on designing a way to adapt the Mercedes RBDs but not the RBDs themselves. They deemed that the design work RP did ‘paled in comparison’ to what work Mercedes did to actually design the RBDs.

            So to me it is highly interesting that the RBDs sent by Mercedes in January were obviously ones they knew that RP were going to be able to use, even if they never needed them.

          3. @robbie

            Wolff does not think that Racing Point designed their own rear brake ducts.

            There will be contracts in place about what information Mercedes provides to Racing Point and how Racing Point is allowed to use this data. These contracts obviously allow Racing Point to directly construct their brake ducts from the Mercedes CAD models, because Racing Point did that in 2018-2019 with the front brake ducts and in 2019 with the rear brake ducts. Of course Mercedes was informed about what Racing Point was doing, why would Racing Point keep that a secret?

            I would assume that is also how it works between Red Bull/Alpha Tauri and Ferrari/Haas. I further assume that there will be differences concerning individual parts, some parts the selling team will manufacture themselves and give the finished parts to the buyer (aside from the obvious engine, gearbox and related parts).

  13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    11th August 2020, 12:48

    “We want clarity, absolute clarity!” Binotto is heard screaming with Jean Todt joining the chorus.

    Together the 2 Tenors:
    cla-RITY! CLA-rity! CLAAAAAAAA-RIIIIIIIII-TYYYYY!

    1. Just as soon as he gives us ‘clarity’ of the Ferrari/FIA engine agreement I assume?

  14. This is such a simple thing and the original penalty will be reversed through appeal.

    You can’t retrospectively change rules and their meanings.

    The data was obtained before the cut off date, the parts were purchased before the date.

    Even the FIA ruling says you can’t unlearn what you’ve already learned in their own judgement.

    It might be naughty and not in the spirit of the rules but no rules have actually been broken. The judgement won’t stand up in a court.

    The penalty will be revoked and the rules changed to prevent it happening this way again…. That’s my prediction for the outcome of this dragged out storm in a teacup.

    1. They weren’t changing the rules though, they were clarifying what “design” means in more detail.and the stewards said that RP did not “design” enough in their view.

      At the same time, they understood that there wasn’t enough clarity on it before, hence slap on the wrist penalty for breaking sporting regs (which will be punished harsher in the future to anyone) that is making a lot of other teams angry.

  15. The irony is that the Brake Ducts supplied on 6th January which were not used were in case RP’s own designed brake ducts did not arrive in time!\ from manufacture. The physical ducts made no difference as RP had had the CAD drawings since 2018 and the same physicsl ducts in 2019. That is surely a none issue hence the stewards commnet about “minor breach” but then it is only a breach because they assume the Regs apply from 1st January rather than from first race of parts/ cars.

  16. Haha Racing Point have said all along that they developed their car from photos but it’s clear that Mercedes have conspired with Racing Point to develop the 2020 car every step of the way. No accident that it looks just like the 2019 Merc.

    Completely outside the spirit of the rules. Speaks of the arrogance of Wolff and Stroll that they thought they were clever enough to avoid any of this sticking to them.

    Wolff will be on the nose with Daimler after this debacle.

    1. You know the only thing they did was break was sending them ducts six days late right? (the same ones RP were legally already using for previous year) And the stewards said that was alright given the circumstances of it only being six days and them being customers for previous years. No CAD data was transfered after Jan 1.

      Giving the CAD designs for brake ducts before 2020 are perfectly legal.

  17. Mercedes must be thinking that their 2020 brake duct is a listed part but that the 2019 brake duct isn’t a listed part because it wasn’t a listed part when it was designed, manufactured, and used by them.
    I think this is a loop holt that RP was also trying to use.

  18. Racing Point will become Aston Martin with Mercedes engines and the factory Mercedes team will redraw. Toto will be the team manager.
    So how you expect the knowledge to pass to racing point? They will wake up one morning and they will say give everything to them? No, they need time to understand and work with everything Mercedes has.
    That my view on the subject.

  19. And yet Ferrari rolls on having really cheated. Hard to take this brake duct thing seriously in that context.

  20. Nothing wrong with that if RP took advantage

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