Claims Mercedes assisted Racing Point’s copying are “total nonsense” – Wolff

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insists any claims his team assisted Racing Point’s copying of their car in breach of F1’s rules are “total nonsense” and said he will defend the brand from any such accusations.

Racing Point has made no secret of the fact its car is based on last year’s Mercedes W10. It insists its design was created using only photographs of the Mercedes as well as components it was legitimately able to obtain at the time under F1’s ‘non-listed parts’ rules.

Following a protest by Renault, the FIA stewards ruled Racing Point had violated the rules in its copying of Mercedes’ rear brake ducts. These were ‘non-listed parts’ until the end of last year, but in 2020 became ‘listed parts’, which teams must design themselves.

As a result, Mercedes’ connection to Racing Point has come under scrutiny from rival teams.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the verdict showed Racing Point’s claim they only used photographs to copy the Mercedes was ‘BS’.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the FIA should consider what involvement Mercedes might have had. “Regarding Mercedes I’m sure questions will get asked, because 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.”

Wolff strongly defended his team’s position. “First of all, copying the car more than from photos is something we would know [about],” he said. “That’s why from my perspective it’s total nonsense to pursue that argument. And I will be defending our brand firmly if somebody were to go down that route.”

Racing Point has appealed against the FIA’s decision. Renault has also appealed, urging the FIA to hand down a stronger penalty than the €400,000 fine and 15-point deduction which was issued. Ferrari has joined the case as well, issuing an appeal of its own, and urging the FIA to clarify how far teams will be permitted to copy rival designs in the future.

“I think one can discuss the philosophy of ‘do we want to have cars that look like other cars’ and ‘do we want to close up or tighten the regulations so these kinds of things are not possible anymore'” said Wolff.

“That is a debate we can have with the FIA and commercial right holder and the teams to discuss whether the regulations that have been interpreted in a correct way by Racing Point, [and] should be changed going forward or not.”

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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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  • 20 comments on “Claims Mercedes assisted Racing Point’s copying are “total nonsense” – Wolff”

    1. This has nothing to do with Mercedes, it has everything to do with how the Stewards interpret the rules regarding Racing Point fitting 2019 Mercedes W10 rear brake ducts to their car.

      1. If Mercedes provided brake ducts in 2020, they are very much involved

        1. And if they did provide a windtunnel model and a car to photograph and measure @paeschli, they are even more involved!

      2. Well, I think what Kolles said in that interview during the weekend clearly points to Mercedes having quite a bit more than “nothing” to do with it actually @drycrust.

        And while I know Kolles has been in quite a few questionable positions over the years, he clearly always knew what he was talking about and overall managed. I am sure he knows many people inside RP from his days there, and would not just put such clear statements out if he did not have reliable sources for them. Whatever his motivation might be.

    2. Of course they didn’t.

      Dad just bought his son a 2019 Mercedes for his private collection of toys. Wasn’t his fault that the RP engineers had a look at it. :)

    3. We only gave them the designs for the aero, breaks, exhausts, etc…they build it though promise! So yeah, we really didn’t help them…(facepalm)

      1. Thats explain why Brawn dont trust Toto.

      2. Mercedes helped them in 2019.

    4. They just accidentally locked Andy Green in their garage one night when he happened to have a 3D scanner on him.

    5. I wonder if Wolff will jump before Daimler fire him.

      He’s finished at Mercedes at the end of this year.

      His terribly conflicted between competing organisations and basically selling Mercedes IP to enrich himself via his future involvement in RP/Aston Martin.

      1. Also my thoughts. Wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t make it to the end of the year.
        If he shared the information without approval from Mercedes, Mercedes only reaction can be firing him. And writing this, Mercedes would never allow him to share their IP.

    6. That is a silly comment. in 2019 the ducts were not listed parts and so were used legally and sold by Merc legally. The only issue seems to be that RP did not use the rear BD’s. Why the stewards made that decision is the issue that is relevant (though why the stewards came up with that is still beyond me) – if they had used the rears in one race then there is no issue but they didn’t because the rake of the car was like RB’s last year. How could Wolff force RP to use what he had sold them?

      1. No. The issue is that CAD drawings of the Mercedes design went to Racing Point, when the 2020 season was officially started. CAD drawings for a part that is actually listed.

        1. if this is the 2019 Mercedes like people want to claim, how can you explain Hamilton lapping both their cars yesterday? And how can you explain the RP car being around 2s slower than the W10 of 2019 on the same track?

          1. That is not so much of a mystery, even in a spec class like Indycar which is far less complicated than F1, the best teams always rise. In a situation where Mercs team is several times larger than RPs and has less experiemce with the car, it is only logical they end up quite far behind. Apart from that, Hamilton vs Stroll, need I say more?

      2. I don’t see how buying something last year and not using it somehow means you have the right to not meet the requirements for the Listed Parts for this year, but apparently the Stewards say that is the case. The Stewards aren’t in charge of Racing Points supply chain, so why should Racing Point be excused from meeting the obligations of the rules? It would be nice if the Stewards were to explain with clarity the reason why a Listed Part in a Silver box with a Pink sticker is acceptable, but the same Listed Part in a box of any other colour (with or without coloured stickers) is banned.

    7. how can you explain Hamilton lapping both their cars yesterday?

      2 mediocre drivers as simple as that.

      1. That was meant to be a reply for Boudi.

    8. There is no reason why Mercedes would let RP completely copy their car. They don’t gain anything from it. If they had done what Ferrari or Red Bull did in the opening racing and lost time on last year, they would have been losing to a direct clone.

      Also the RP isn’t as fast as the Mercedes last year, which implies they haven’t been able to capture everything

      1. @burden93 What do Mercedes have to lose from RP copying their 2019 car?

        Haas copies the Ferrari almost entirely and Alpha Tauri mostly copies the Red Bull. It’s sort of part of the deal it seems when they are a customer team that they can use most of bodywork design as well.

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