Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Former team boss claims Racing Point received Mercedes wind tunnel model and show car

2020 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

A former Formula 1 team principal has made new claims over how Racing Point ‘re-engineered’ last year’s Mercedes to create its RP20.

In an interview with German television channel Sport 1 on Sunday Colin Kolles alleged the team received a wind tunnel scale model and show car from Mercedes.

Kolles ran Racing Point fore-runners Jordan and Midland in 2005 and 2006. He later took charge of HRT and Caterham’s Formula 1 teams. He has run his own sportscar team since leaving F1 at the end of 2014.

Two weeks ago Racing Point was fined €400,000 and docked 15 points from its constructors’ championship for using brake ducts which FIA stewards ruled were based on parts it obtained from Mercedes. Racing Point had legitimately obtained ‘listed parts’ from Mercedes, but brake ducts were redefined as ‘non-listed parts’, which teams must design themselves, from 2020.

Racing Point has said it relied on photography of Mercedes’ championship-winning W10 to produce its duplicate of the machine. But Kolles rejected that claim, and said he believed the team had other sources of information.

Colin Kolles
Kolles said the Racing Point “was not just copied from photos”
“From photos you cannot copy a car,” Kolles told Sport 1. “It’s not just about the brake ducts. It’s about the whole concept of the car. It was not just copied from photos.

“[They did not have] just parts, they also had certain data. And they had, so I was told, a 60% wind tunnel model and a [full size] show car as a template, from which parts were scanned and then converted into CAD data. Otherwise the concept could not work.”

A 60% scale wind tunnel model is the maximum size Formula 1 teams are allowed to use. Kolles did not specify which seasons either of the designs originated from.

He also raised questions over Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. A major dispute between the pair is known to have taken place in mid-2013.

Kolles queried the nature of the relationship between Wolff and Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll. Wolff, a shareholder in Mercedes’ Formula 1 team, bought a stake in Stroll’s Aston Martin company earlier this year.

“As the Mercedes group I would basically ask myself why the Mercedes team boss is always on vacation, on [Stroll’s] boat or in Gstaad,” said Kolles. “Many other things have happened that, in my opinion, were not entirely compliant.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Racing Point’s RP20 is based on last year’s Mercedes
“I think they have a very, very close connection. This is my personal opinion. But that’s not just my opinion – other people have that opinion too.”

Kolles was close to former Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone during his time in the sport, and pointed out several times during the interview he maintains many contacts within the paddock.

On Saturday Wolff rejected the suggestion Racing Point’s copying of their car had gone beyond the use of photographs and branded claims to the contrary as “total nonsense”.

“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.”

Mercedes and Racing Point have been approached for comment.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

167 comments on “Former team boss claims Racing Point received Mercedes wind tunnel model and show car”

  1. I mean, Kolles is right – the whole thing stinks, Wolff’s involvement stinks and the claim they built the whole car concept from photos is a joke. But Kolles has nothing as evidence so at the moment he’s just got his tinfoil hat on. Until someone produces proof of a Merc show car, or can prove how dodgy the links between all of this appear, it’s just words.

    1. Again put it more eloquently than I did @rocketpanda

    2. I am sure that Kolles wouldn’t say this if he didn’t have good sources for it. He probably has good contacts within the team and I am sure there are team members who also feel this is a sketchy move from the team.

      1. Or he just doesn’t like Toto Wolff and wants to sling mud while the opportunity presents itself?

        It’s all hearsay until it can be proven in the court of law, at this point…

        1. Saying it out loud on media means you do have to be certain enough of the facts that you don’t get sued though RL. Kolles is quite smart and has shown in the past that is quite apt at preparing for all eventualities.

          1. @bascb Kolles was also reported as nursing a considerable grudge against Wolff, to the point where he was accused of illegally wiretapping Wolff and then trying to extort money from him back in 2013 over some remarks Wolff apparently made about some of the other senior managers at Mercedes.

            Given we’re talking about someone who had enough of a grudge against Wolff that he stands accused of having engaged in criminal activity against Wolff, I would be wary of taking anything that Kolles says on trust.

          2. @anon very interesting- +1.

          3. Oh, you are certainly right about having to question Kolles motive for saying this Anon. But he must count on being close enough to the truth that it can either be proven, or will keep Wolff/Mercedes and stroll from taking legal action exactly because they know it to be real

          4. @bascb is he necessarily counting on it being close enough to the truth though? The way that he’s phrasing a number of his more contentious points is to claim that he is simply passing on what others are relaying to him, and he is very keen to stress that it is merely his opinion that he is expressing.

            Phrasing those comments in that way means that, if a lawsuit for libel was raised, he could then invoke the defence in court that he was merely expressing his opinion on the matter, which is a frequently invoked defence in libel cases. In that case, it wouldn’t necessarily require Kolles’s claims to necessarily be true for him to be able to defend himself – so long as he is careful enough in the way that he phrases his comments, he could construct a defence for himself whatever the truth of the matter.

    3. Maybe the claim they built the whole car from photos is true… if we’re talking about photos of actual CAD drawings.

      1. @maroonjack Lol

        @rocketpanda I agree and I’m not about to jump on Kolles’ claim as gospel without further evidence, and as well if Mercedes did do what he claims, perhaps that was legal to do wrt whatever year of 60% model was allegedly provided etc etc.

        But yeah it remains for me that at a bare minimum the optics don’t look ideal for TW/Mercedes and certainly his and Racing Point’s behaviour invites the very scrutiny they’re under. Sending them brake ducts in January to ‘help them’ in case their’s weren’t ready for testing, for example. They’ve invited this scrutiny so they needn’t be surprised when folks are a bit up in arms wanting more clarity and answers.

        Ultimately I’d really be surprised if the risk for TW or Mercedes at helping Racing Point illegally would be worth it, so I’d be really surprised if there is anything underhanded going on from their end. Or put another way, every side seems convinced they are 100% right. Stroll, Szafnauer, TW, Renault, now Kolles…it sounds like it comes down to the finer technicalities of what is legal, even if just by a hair, and what is not.

        I just don’t see what is in it for TW or Mercedes, even with a relationship there between he and Stroll, even if TW ends up at some point being RP’s team principal…I really doubt he would blatantly hurt his own reputation and future and I think moreso that he is clear of wrongdoing. I’ll not say the same thing of RP though at this point and after all, they have been charged and punished, subject to appeal.

        1. Hi Robbie


          Long time no talk. Trust your free of the COVID issue?

          We never agree but before even beginning to consider anything Kolles says do a quick search on some of the background. The man is a snake, a criminal and will do anything to get at Wolf. There are considerable financial reasons why. Wolf takes the high road but I hope it’s not the Clinton high road results.

          There is a reason he is no longer anywhere near the F1 grid which has room for many types and characters. As we know.

          Your boy is doing well but…

          Much to learn

      2. A copy of a hard disc is also called an image. I think it got lost in translation and became a photograph. ;)

    4. You can say the same regarding Ferrari’s engine, but they’ve been forced to change it…

      1. nah according to the world Ferrari and FIA are the same thing apparentely… i’ll be interested now how this with RP and Merc will develop….

        1. Come on @domo70, you really want to defend what the Ferrari and Jean Todt did with the secret deal? I’m old enough to remember the flexible floor also.

          1. Are you old enough ti remember the McLaren spy-story? And btw, as I said before, if the flexible floor would’ve been introduced by any british team you’d call it clever engeneering…

          2. @john-h, i’ m not defending Ferrari, but all teams over F1 history have been politically in power for one reason or another…. i’m not a big fan of the Ferrari politic myself… but its funny that anytime Ferrari does something loads of Fan shout FIA = Ferrari international Aid, and when other teams such as Mercedes or Red-bull are involved ( just to mention this two in most recent years … ) everybody shout conspiracy theory against the great Merc or Redbull… i think F1 its not only about sports and race big chunk its really power and politics…..
            has been like that since i start to watch F1 in the 70′ ……I’ll be very interested now to see what happen with this RP/Merc story about the Pink Mercedes……

          3. My point is ALL teams play politics, weather they are Italian, British, German, whatever. You seem to insinuate it’s only Ferrari that receive such allegations. I remember *Bio* the Red Bull years very well and the flexible bodywork, and no not everyone was just saying it was clever engineering.

            The problem with the engine deal is that everything was behind closed doors, it’s about as seedy as you can get with no other teams having any chance of an appeal – then this comes along and Ferrari can appeal. Don’t you see how that might be perceived?

          4. Did you guys understand why FIA signed a confidential agreement with Ferrari? Because they discover about what was going on with their engine illegally. A former Ferrari employee Lorenzo Sassi, despite signing a NDA, after switching to Mercedes told every secret about Ferrari’s engine to his new boss Toto who complained to the FIA. Despite no blatant illegality they where forced to change engine and signed the agreement otherwise Ferrari could’ve brought both FIA and Mercedes to court because the only illegal thing in the whole story is how Mercedes came to know everything about a competitor’s engine…the irony is that right now Mercedes, with simple reverse engineering, is probably getting the same result using a different path but they are british/germans so it must be cleverness…

          5. Bio, there does seem to be a deep seated irony in that, in accusing others of xenophobia and bias, you seem to be presenting that same attitude towards Germans and British people that you decry in others.

            You mention Sassi, but that was related to a different issue (ERS deployment) – and, indeed, many noted that the FIA was behaving rather abnormally in that case in choosing to explicitly name Mercedes employees in that case, something they’d not done in other cases and arguably risked breaching legislation in a number of countries about not punishing whistleblowers.

            @domo70 you will certainly find quite a few articles that complained that Red Bull were cheating with a number of pieces on their car over the years, such as Horner being involved in a bit of an ill-tempered exchange with journalists in 2012 over the design of the floor of their car after they accused him of racing an illegal car.

            There was also something of a campaign in the Italian press to paint Red Bull as cheaters when Giancarlo Minardi accused Red Bull of using traction control on their car – before then trying to weasel his way out of the claim by saying that the car just sounded reminiscent of the noise made by those using traction control when his claims started getting him into legal trouble. It’s not exactly as if the national press in countries such as Italy are above such behaviour either…

          6. @anon never said that the Italian press is above such behavior…. press can be very dirty no matter what country it is…. we are basically saying more or less same thing ….. history shows that every F1 Team in power have being accused of Cheating … it happens to Williams , Ferrari, Mclaren, Redbull and so on…. but i do think Ferrari is more under the guns… maybe because they are getting that bonus just for showing up, which doesn’t goes down well with True F1 Fan……

          7. @anon wrt “accusing others of xenophobia and bias” you’re using big words to scare someone with a different point of view than yours. Unfortunately you seem to be part of the people that don’t believe there is discrimination towards non-British teams. I’m sure if you watch and listen very carefully you’ll start to find that this has happened for quite a while. Sky does it all the time even when FOM uses them for the global broadcast in English, which is shameful. You’d probably mistake it by silly jokes and good ol’British humor. It’s not exclusive of F1, football, uk politics, etc. but unfortunately F1 is still too English and that brings a whole can of worms. There’s still lots of people in the UK that believe their society is not racist….go figure!

    5. Yeah, let’s believe the guy that tried to blackmail Toto Wolff in 2013., shame on you for giving this scumbag a platform for his sour grapes.

      1. To be fair, it is pretty much impossible to replicate a winning car through photos taken in the pitlane. The photos will tell you a certain amount but will not give precise aero measurements etc. Racing point clearly have had either help from Merc or they have managed to somehow get hold of detailed data in other ways. Photos are not how they made their car fast.

        1. Respectfully, I think you’re vastly underrating the technology the teams have at their disposal.

          1. Henrik Jørgensen
            17th August 2020, 21:04

            Yeah, I would not be surprise, if teams don’t do 3D scans of competitors cars. The smallest 3D scanner are applied in dental care, so there is plenty of technology out there.

          2. Respectfully, you’re demonstrating you have no clue how cars are designed if you even think it remotely possible to copy a car from photographs alone, & get it right.

            As I’ve challenged others … go buy the 7400 piece Lego Millennium Falcon, the try build it 100% accurately just from the picture on the box, & in the same amount of time it takes someone else building it using the plans. If you consider PR’s staff and budget limitations, you may have to build it with your thumbs taped to your forefinger too.

            That’s the scale of impossibility you are buying into …

        2. What is wrong with people?

          It’s not like the car is finishing second every week is it?

          There is a huge level of resource being poured into the most efficient team in the business before it becomes a manufacturer advertisement! An important one. By a man happy to do so. We should rejoice frankly. They bought legal parts bar some almost ridiculous historical legacy issue. Parts that simply cannot be made totally ‘different’ due to the technical regs and where the cars aero is moving to (because you would never follow the best – you would do a Horner and moan it’s the engine even if there are many others using it) if they had been glued to the wing for one race they would be legal. Does that really sound like a deep rooted copying issue? Of course not.

          Fact is others are terrified of an efficient team with a bit of dosh.

          Yet Haas?

    6. kolles is sticking his neck out though.
      that 2nd picture looks a lot like the racing point, starting to unsee the original livery.
      I never would have thought Brackley supplied a 60% model and an actual car, I felt that would be too generous, there is a lot of IP in both items. My feeling was that merc made the Rps themselves or used a common suplier as was found out to be the case for the brake ducts. Anyone can tell the Haas is made by Dallara, it sheds carbon every kerb strike, the RP though, looks just like the real article.
      Does it matter? i like the car but it is old and inherently not a challenger.

    7. Does not matter at all how they copied it. It’s competitive racing. Espionage part makes it more interesting, exciting and more competative for car performance improvements design improvements. Hell, all can see and take photos of the actual race car on the track. If a team has a competitive edge it ethically makes sense to take photos and add those same performance tweeks. The espionage part makes it even more exciting.

  2. I am not sure whether there is a lot more here than ‘I believe, and some others not having inside knowledge either do too’, though I believe Colles might have (had?) good contacts.

      1. @bosyber Never mind. Colles is a good amalgamation of Colin and Kolles.

  3. I’ve always failed to understand how one team boss having a stake in another team isn’t a conflict of interest. And that’s without the whole Tracing Points saga…

    1. Toto previously sold his shares in Williams due to pressure from Mercedes, now he has bought shares in Williams again, and Aston Martin. I wonder what has changed at Mercedes, or maybe he doesn’t care now.
      The man has his fingers everywhere.

      1. Pretty sure Toto will not renew his Mercedes contract. He is in open conflict with the Mercedes bosses above him and he has a good relationships with Lawrence Stroll (+ a stake in the team).

        Mercedes success right now is obviously the result of Brawn’s genius, so I don’t expect any fireworks by a Toto/Vettel pairing at Aston Martin.

        1. @paeschli what open conflict are you referring to?

          1. @paeschli so your argument is that Daimler wants Vettel and Toto doesnt, so he’s going to leave and go to Aston Martin with… Vettel? Yeah, makes sense.

            Also, do you have any evidence apart from a few clickbait articles with very little substance in them, trying to flesh out the idea and put more controversy into what was likely an off-the-cuff comment?

          2. @minnis I simply find it suspicious that we’re mid-August and Toto hasn’t confirmed his plans for next year. Why did Hamilton felt it necessary to state that his plans for next year are not linked to Toto’s? Does he know he’s going away?

            Anyway, we’ll see how it turns out.

      2. Wolff has not bought shares in Williams again. He sold all his shares in 2016. 5% of the shares reverted back to Wolff, because the buyer did not complete the transaction. Claire Williams has explained this in detail.

        1. And we are to believe this transaction took 4 years to end unhappy?

      3. The Williams shares that TW “sold” have returned to him because the buyer did not fulfill the terms of the transaction. So…nothing to see here folks….so says Claire W and TW.

      4. @jamal Toto Wolff didn’t buy back into Williams. Some of the shares he divested were returned to him when a deal fell through.

    2. @cduk_mugello Because Wolff doesnt have a stake in a competitor.

      He owns less than 1% of Aston Martin, which is majority owned by Lawrence Stroll.

      They have nothing to do with Racing Point, which is the racing team, which is owned by a consortium of owners headed up by Lawrence Stroll.

      Frankly, if you have an issue with this, I fail to see how you’re okay with the Alpha Tauri/Red Bull situation!!

      1. @minnis He might not have shares in Racing Point Ltd or whatever the legal entity is, but when he has an investment with Aston Martin Racing, and we know the team is being rebranded next year, Wolff is most definitely a stakeholder!

        You can debate the rights and wrongs of it, but he has a clear interest in how well that team performs.

        1. Yes, but as I said, he doesnt have shares in them so not sure what you’re on about. Besides, as I said, what about red bull and alpha tauri?!

        2. Toto has shares in Aston Martin Logonda, the car manufacturer, RP is 100% privately owned by YewTree Overseas limited, consortium of 6 friends/partners of Lawrence Stroll, who has a majority stake, Aston has 10yr works team agreement but No equity share in race team in 2020

    3. You mean like Mateschitz? Never seen that many complaints over the years about this. And I think he owns a lot more of his two teams than Wolff does.

    4. You do know that Daimler themselves own a 5% stake in aston martin

  4. Total Bulls.

    One disgruntled and failed team principal comes out of nowhere and spreads this…
    Go back to your hideout, Mr.Kolles

    1. Yeah, whatever happened to “Honour amongst thieves”?

  5. “so I was told” = hearsay = inadmissible & potential slander.

    Go on Colin, way to go to get your name in the papers! Everyone remember the nickname he got from wearing the 1st hat that his gopher could find in Melbourne 2005?

    1. He’s protecting the source there.

      1. Boy, you’re really going out of your way to speak this rumour into your own reality

        1. Well, well anonymous “RL” what are you doing here? Got on here just to try and get Toto out of the deep?

          1. I guess the fact you registered yourself here at racefans, and I couldn’t be bothered, somehow gives your claims more validity.

            This ad hominem further dilutes your arguments. Thanks.

    2. Yeah, thats such a Trumpian move. People are saying… I don’t know if its true… But that’s what I heard…

  6. Big Allegations. I wonder how much the FIA have really looked into it. I think Mercedes and Racing Point ticked off the right boxes during scrutineering, but maybe there are other things the FIA could look into. I wonder if they have access to the CAD drawings of both cars, and if they have overlaid etc… if the brakes were only found to be copied after a protest, what else is “actually” copied that passed the pre season scrutineering? the whole chassis? we might never find out. Toto Wolff talking about gladly going to court seems a bit like preemptive talk that convicted criminals have said, trying to be judged first in the court of public opinion.

    1. Well it can well be that RP showed the FIA how they went about adapting photos to 3d models. But did they tell the FIA how they came by detailed pictures (from the provided car)?
      And how they were able to reference and cross-check the results by putting the info from their own wind tunnel model next to the original windtunnel model @kpcart

      1. Have at least one guy, who does nothing else than stand in front of the Mercedes pits for a whole season taking detailed pictures with a 3D-camera.

        1. Off course all teams have several people taking picture of all the other cars, and specifically of the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull who often find clever solutions @uzsjgb.

          But that won’t give you detailed pictures of the diffusor, of the details of the bargeboards from all angles of the rear suspensiion with a high enough quality to take them and render the part in a 3D model just like that. Off course RP will claim that is how they got all the pictures they used, and they could be speaking the trugh. But if they had a car available for sevral hours to make pictures, that would give them far more accurate material to work with.

          1. @bascb the diffuser and bargeboards on the RP are different to the Merc. The rear suspension is legally supplied to RP by Merc.

          2. Off course RP did do some development yes @gardenfella72. And yeah, the engine also comes from Mercedes, as does the gearbox. But those are elements you are allowed to buy in.

            The rest of the car should be a design OWNED solely by the competitor. Arguably one that is in its core a copy, with some further developments incorporated, is not that.

          3. @bascb the FIA have determined that, save for the rear brake ducts, the rest of the design is owned by RP.

            It can be argued that every modern F1 car has at its core the Cooper T43 from 1957 with some further developments added.

            F1 has always been a copycat series. The list of ideas copied by teams is phenomenal – exhaust blowing, R-vanes, double diffuser, floor slots, paddle shift, sequential boxes just to name a few.

            Ferrari has been helping teams copy them for the past few years with very little criticism thrown at them. It’s the step-change in RP’s design that made the copying so obvious.

          4. Actually the FIA nor the stewards have judged anything on th car apart from the rear brake ducts (not designed by RP) and the front brake ducts (ok, since they can be argued to continue the design used last season) @gardenfella72.

            The FIA did confirm that RP informed them an showed them how they went about the job and was satisfied with what was shown to be fine. But since nobody protested other parts (so far) there is no conclusion

    2. So if I make serious accusations against you and you respond by saying I’ll see you in court, then that shows you are probably guilty?

      1. Not really Ian. But if you then say “be my guest, in court the information will get confirmed” that makes your case stronger. Or if that case in reality never gets brought because the one you accuse cannot prove you wrong.

        If you react by rather quickly apologizing, talking about words out of context etc to avoid a court case, then it would show you as probably having been telling something rahter less likely to be true.

  7. Colin Kolles, reliable as The Sun.

    1. Same goes for Wolff, right ?

      1. How does that work?

        One is a completely crooked failure and not welcome in the F1 paddock. His stock in trade is making a mess and flying away.

        The other is the most successful TP in history. Like it or not.

        You choose which.

    2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      17th August 2020, 20:18

      Given his track record, it he was given a 2019 Mercedes he’d find some way of making it slow and unreliable.

  8. I’ve a RB15 model right here for any interested F1 teams. Scale 1/18…….

    1. @rickhendrikse apparently they only need a picture of it anyway, maybe keep it in a draw for now.

  9. Isn’t “scanning” the same as “using photo’s”?

    Clearly they must have had extensive access to a car (or model) to be able to take all those photo’s, but that was never denied was it?

    1. Not quite @f1osaurus, the claim is those photos are from testing an race weekends, like other teams do as well, but then not use to copy so much of another car all at once.

      So if he has inside info there was a session W10 photosession that is certainly new, and not just because it heavily implies Mercedes involvement.

      But, whether protecting sources or just opinion and speculation, Kolles does not give anything concrete enough to know which one it is (getting attention from someone that wants to protest further? You’d think he then would have actual info, but who knows).

      1. @bosyber Aren’t you just inferring that yourself? No reasonable person would think that anyone can copy an entire car just by taking photo’s of the outside alone. So I always assumed they were allowed to take photo’s of an actual car. With it’s “dress” off.

        1. But still, that was what RP was claiming to have done @f1osaurus, makes sence then that other teams were less than satisfied that was the whole truth behind things, right.

          1. @bascb No, they said they used “photos”.

            You claimed they said to have used “extensive photo sets”. Which is exactly what people use to create 3D models of objects.

          2. Ahm, right @f1osaurus, I really don’t get what point you are trying to make there.

          3. @bascb

            Isn’t “scanning” the same as “using photo’s”?

          4. That does not explain what you want to tell me though @f1osaurus.

            I mentioned that it is not normal to get access to a rival teams whole car to be able to make detailed pictures from all angles like Kolles mentions RP is supposed to have gotten.

            The issue is not using pictures – scanning is not the same as using photos, since you really need to have access where you can go over the car within close range, that is completely different than making pictures from available angles during testing or race weekends – the issue is: Why would Mercedes give RP this access unless it was meant for RP to copy their design.
            Which would make it pretty clear that the resulting car is not a design made and owned by the team copying it.

          5. @bascb Scanning could be exactly the same as using photo’s.

            Plus I added:

            Clearly they must have had extensive access to a car (or model) to be able to take all those photo’s, but that was never denied was it?

            So yes I assume they have had extensive access to a car (or model) to be able to take all those photo’s, but that was never denied was it?

          6. Yes it was @f1osaurus. RP claimed they only used detailed pictures, and the parts they had available from las year’s RP (front brake ducts) and the CAD data from those. No access to Mercedes owned IP that would not be readily available beyond that

    2. The allegation I’ve heard is that RP would’ve used some sort of lidar scanner to capture the data to recreate in CAD after the fact.

      It’s the same technology iRacing uses to recreate real-world tracks. But so far, I’ve only heard it whispered in the shadows. It’s definitely the talk of the paddock, but I don’t think there’s hard evidence out there to prove it currently.

  10. This a serious allegation. But who has the legal standing to filed a protest based on hearsay? If FIA wanted to ignore it, no evidence will suffice.

  11. This is what I posted nearly two weeks ago.

    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.

    1. Bingo………….. tracing point in the hand of a more capable drivers would be on podium most of the races…….

      1. More capable drivers and more data in the team. Racing Point seems to be getting to grips with the car, they struggled at first to understand.

        Mercedes has many years with this concept so they know all there is to know about running a low rake car, RP on the other hand is learning on the fly what works and what doesn’t. If other teams don’t upgrade the car, RP could become regular podium contender (they are P4 and P5 on merit now)

  12. Daimler should sack Wolff immediately.

    Selling IP to a rival team that you have a personal financial interest in is a complete conflict of interest and grounds for immediate termination.

    Not to mention he’s brought Mercedes and F1 into disrepute with this saga.

    1. I’ve yet to see the report from the investigation you carried out. Once confirmed I’d be happy to forward your request.

    2. I’m sure he personally handed them the docs in exchange for a wire to his caymans account without telling a soul at Mercedes. /s

      1. He has a small financial interest in RP at the moment, plus there’s little doubt he’ll be moving to RP/Aston Martin in the future as Team Principal.

        He’s horribly conflicted, acting underhanded, and acting in the best interests of RP/Aston Martin not Mercedes.

        The guy is drunk with power and thinks he’s untouchable.

        1. He has a small financial interest in RP at the moment

          No he doesn’t!
          You’re probably confused with his small investment in AML (a car company; not an F1 team).

        2. yeah Mercedes who have won 5 races this season but your right toto was obviously more focused on racing point…. its why the Mercedes f1 team is struggling

    3. Selling IP to a rival team that you have a personal financial interest in

      What’s his ‘financial interest’ in Racing Point? David Bondo

      1. @coldfly Being a shareholder of the company that takes over the Racing Point team next season?

        1. @f1osaurus, AML will NOT take over RP.
          They merely move their title sponsorship from RBR to RP.

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            18th August 2020, 6:52

            @coldfly It becomes the works Aston Martin team. You can stupidly pretend that has no financial implications for Aston Martin, but that would just be … stupid.

          2. It becomes the works Aston Martin team. You can stupidly pretend that has no financial implications for Aston Martin, but that would just be … stupid.

            Nice to meet you, stupid.
            No it doesn’t (as of yet)! AP will be as much a ‘works’ team, as Sauber is now a works team (or RBR is a works team of AML).
            Stroll et. al. might want to change that in the future, but he will need a lot more board/shareholder approval and agreements/transactions to ever get there.
            But Stroll is a branding/marketing guy (and pretty good at that). He doesn’t have to make AP a real works team as long as people think it is. Why sell AP to AML, if you and others already are convinced it is a works team? … coldfly.

          3. @f1osaurus You can stupidly pretend that has no financial implications for Aston Martin, but that would just be … stupid.

          4. @f1osaurus You can stupidly pretend that has no financial implications for Aston Martin, but that would just be … stupid.

            Which point are you trying to make to yourself besides confirming your acquired nickname?

    4. You do realise that Toto owns 30% of the Mercedes F1 team? He’s not an employee.

  13. From memory though, isn’t Kolles one of those ‘take what he says with a pinch of salt’ types?

  14. Ain’t this the guy that tried to blackmail Toto?

  15. Are we witnessing the beginning of Wolffs downfall? The more this whole tracing point thing picks up momentum, the more rumours appear about a Mercedes/Wolff involvment. Or should I say inwolffment?

    1. @d0senbrot Mercedes sold the plans to their 2019 brake ducts when it was allowed to do so. So why is it a surprise that they were also fine that RP copied the rest of the design by photographing a model?

  16. Wow, big allegations. Wouldn’t think you guys would post this without some kind of belief. Makes me want to put my tin foil hat on because as Wolff says the thought is absurd.

    Interesting to see what comes out of all this.

  17. If this is true then Mercedes and Wolff are in big trouble…

    Not going to lie – I kind of want it to be true. Mercedes’ and Wolff’s pretence at being whiter-than-white, and their holier-than-thou attitude, has long grated.

  18. Mercedes must be waist deep in the mess looking at the politics and reactions.
    If Mercedes would be in the safe zone, they wouldn’t make such fuss about it, but take a look what is happening: pretty example, that behind the scenes, all Mercedes related teams withdrawn from the lobbying, even Mclaren who will be mercedes customer from next year, although they were in the party first

  19. Let me put my tinfoil hat on a sec…
    Explains why they had to change wind tunnels, even if Merc didn’t “give” them a show car they could’ve left one on display on site and ensured that Racing Point guys took their 3D camera etc.

    1. @alec-glen
      Let me borrow your tinfoil hat for a second :)
      Some of the Mercedes guys that are unhappy with Toto’s management style could have noticed Racing Point guys with their 3D camera inside Mercedes wind tunnel and as a result could have blew the whistle… So Toto made sure the car will be shipped in the night to RP with his personal driver wearing a black helmet to go unnoticed à la TestGate.

  20. Meanwhile, Williams received the Mercedes Lego Speed Champions model and a book of stickers? :-D

    1. Williams is proud to be “their own team”. They don’t ever want to be a “customer” team. So they do everything themselves and that’s what it brings them.

  21. Kolles is a mate of Ecclestone who always wants to rock the boat to prove the series was better under his mismanagement rather than the current mismanagement. And he hates Toto Wolff. Not many in the paddock have given him credence in the past and I doubt they will now.

    At the Silverstone race the TV feed showed a McLaren shirt with a huge camera lens focused on the end of the pit lane happily snapping away at passing cars a few meters away and some others in the garage. He could have photoed the litter on the moon let alone an F1 car with that huge, monstrous lens. Most, if not all teams, have photographers working for them at races and practice sessions, targeting particular parts of rival’s cars. And ti is not just RP who will have been csanning those photos into a computer to work out what their rivals are up to, what good ideas they may have had, what insights can be gained.

    A 3D camera is not essential for such an exercise but there are advantages, and these days such a setup is fairly portable and over 21 races with all the practice and qualifying sessions lots of data can be collected and the gift of a scale model from one team to another §wouldn’t be needed. 3D photos can be used to make models with a 3D printer. The fact Kolles thought they would need the gift of a hard model shows how out of date he is and that makes me think he is either repeating silly bar room rumour or his having an ‘episode’.

    The kindest interpretation is that he is confusing RP using the Mercedes wind tunnel to test their RP model?

  22. Another insider with an axe to grind. While we’re spreading rumors I heard Horner really has it in for Toto because Geri really had the hots for him but he turned her down and Christian was just her rebound choice.

    1. Awesome!

      I fully stand behind that theory!

    2. @phillyspur Suzie > Geri any day

  23. Isn’t this what the New FIA whistleblower hotline is for?

  24. I don’t know where the idea comes from that you can’t do much with photographs. I do a lot with photogrammetry every single day and it’s relatively easy to build very high-resolution 3D models using photograph data. The teams all have ultra-high resolution photographers grabbing shots of each other’s cars every single weekend, so it really isn’t going to add much beyond that source of information having a wind tunnel scale model, especially if it’s two or three years old or worse.

  25. “From photos you cannot copy a car,” Kolles told Sport 1. “It’s not just about the brake ducts. It’s about the whole concept of the car. It was not just copied from photos.”


    1. With the Amount of Pictures available, the resolution you can achieve, plenty of areas that can be used for scale because they are a prescribed dimension, the possibilities modern technology gives you to simulate designs and the amount of brains and resources available to an F1 fan, it baffles me how one can think this is not doable.

      1. *F1 team of course

        1. if this is was doable only by copying from picture we will have 20 Mercedes in different colors… the problem is not only the chassis, its what is under…… even the HAAS since join F1 is more or less the copy of ferrari outside but under its different story and you could see that …HAAS never being as good as it is tracing point this year….

          1. @domo70 Underneath much is the same too since they buy a lot of those parts.

          2. Exactly @f1osaurus, that’s my point…. it is a pink 2019 Mercedes…..and if you had a more capable driver, driving …. RP would be way more up in the championship….

          3. @domo70 If you look at spec racing series where everyone is using the same car, then you still see multiple second differences between teams. It’s not just the drivers

  26. Should be pretty easy to verify if RP have an exact replica of something that’s hidden on the Merc….like the innards of a read brake duct.

  27. I fail to see how a show car means anything. A rolling chassis with out of date aero is not important. You can see these things in the lobby of a shopping mall without much security except for a do not touch sign.

  28. I really don’t get the hyperbole on how this would put Wolff or Mercedes in any sort of bother. Mercedes sells lots of plans and parts to RP. Including apparently the brake duct plans.

    How is letting RP take photo’s/scans of a model car suddenly such a shocker then?

    1. listed parts, @f1osaurus.
      check Apendix 6 4a) of the Sporting Regulations.

      1. @coldfly How is that even relevant?

        1. Read the article first. If you still don’t get it then ask again.
          Pretty clear if you ask me.

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            18th August 2020, 6:50

            @coldfly Try to actually think for a change?

            They are not allowed to copy Listed parts through any means. So how is this relevant to what they used to copy the designs that they copied?

          2. Try to actually think for a change?

            Yeah not very smart that I thought you could read!
            The pragraph I quoted is not (only) about copying, it is about ‘passing on’ (making available) of ‘information of’ listed parts. Thus Mercedes is explicitly acting against this paragraph if they gave AP a scale model of a current car.
            And it should be no surprise (even to those who cannot read) that the bodywork of a car is a listed parts. Thus a scale model of the car is ‘information about’ that listed part!

          3. @coldfly Youa re not adding anything, so …

            They are not allowed to copy Listed parts through any means. So how is this relevant to what they used to copy the designs that they copied?

          4. I really don’t get the hyperbole on how this would put Wolff or Mercedes in any sort of bother.
            It’s not the copying of RP which is the issue, it’s that fact Mercedes provided these items.
            That’s what Ap.6 4a) is about.
            Assuming you read the paragraph, you now only confirm the nickname you gave yourself above.

          5. (edited and resubmitted to make it easier for the reading impaired)

            I really don’t get the hyperbole on how this would put Wolff or Mercedes in any sort of bother.

            It’s not the copying of RP which is the issue, it’s that fact Mercedes provided these items.
            That’s what Ap.6 4a) is about.
            Assuming you read the paragraph, you now only confirm the nickname you gave yourself above.

  29. jonathan leggett
    17th August 2020, 15:25

    Sounds like sour grapes to me from a (comparative) loser!

  30. Toto has shown superior managerial skills and good judgement that don’t match the idea of giving sensitive data (model & showcar) to another team. He knows better than anyone the risk involved.
    So many things have been said and written. Something surely stinks in this, but don’t expect people like Toto to have been foolishly involved in this.

  31. Let’s hope Kolles is smart enough to wait a few weeks before driving around in his brand new Ferrari or McLaren supercar….

  32. The issue I have is that a lot of people will wish this to be true and it will gain traction on that basis. If it is true then it needs to be proved in a court of law and if it is true then a suitable punishment should be handed out.

    I am sure that if Kolles’ statements were true then he would have provided all available evidence to the FIA for consideration. Otherwise this will look like a hatchet job. Only he will know his motivations for speaking out.

    The cynic in me thinks that we are now moving towards trying to prove RP/MB guilt in the court of public opinion instead which is what really worries me. If enough people say something then over time (I mean many years) then enough people will eventually be gaslighted into believing that something must be wrong and that MB are a true force of evil in F1 that must be struck down independent of any actual proof found.

  33. Kolles has previously tried to bribe Wolffe with a blackmail smear campaign.

  34. It’s my understanding that when the FIA were at the Racing Point factory RP were able to show the FIA exactly what photo’s they used, How they were scanned, How they created the 3D models from them as well as all of the CAD drawings & how they were created. They were able to speak to the designers & technical team regarding all of that as well as how the differences between the 2019 Mercedes & 2020 Racing Point (And there are some differences under the bodywork) came to be as well as the reasons for them.

    If they had indeed simply been handed the CAD drawings & wind tunnel models then none of the photos, Models, CAD drawings or detailed design documents showing how they designed the car would exist & the designers/engineer’s certainly wouldn’t be able to detail how/why things were designed the way they were.

    1. I think they would be carefull enough to make sure they have the “paper trail” to show that process even if they had had a car model. That might just have been used to validate, whether the RP copy/design did exaclty the same (or better?) as the original

    2. @gt-racer Thanks, this is pretty much the only sensible comment (with at least some information and understanding of the situation) in this entire thread, as opposed to the worthless throwaway opinions, conjecture, speculation and bias that seems to dominate ‘below the line’ these days. Appreciate you sharing your insight.

  35. I am certain that Daddy Stroll is 100% trustworthy and only cares about the sport.

  36. More and more evidence or rumours have come through and this all got me thinking.

    Why Mercedes and Toto wants to help Racing Point so dearly. What if Mercedes quits after 2021 and Toto and all the others want a new challenge. Which is of course Aston Martin. They want to be on top when the new regulations arrive and Mercedes is doing everything and even more to help them get closer to the podium places for the future.

    This all raises a question about the drivers. They have money from Checo and an owners son. But Vettel is a free agent and when you think. It would be stupid not to sign him. Yes he has been awful in this year but with the help from Toto, money from Mexico and a four times wc as a driver it looks quite good.

    Well this is just speculation but when you think it. It makes a lot of sense. Still if FIA will find something illegal between Mercedes and RP it could end up in a way Ferrari and Mclaren went in ’07.

  37. Colin Kolles has his own interests at play. Take a look at Brawn/Parr book Total Competition

  38. Did he drive the truck?

  39. Guilty as sin…

  40. You cant compare Ferrari deal with FIA with this one. That was a IP of a gray area that Ferrari doesnt want to disclose with the whole F1 because future developments. FIA agreed so that means its a legal settlement , no party was at fault as long they agreed on conditions. This Mercedes and RP copy , its way above the legality limits.We will all find out at some point the truth , and i wont be surprised if Wolff and Hamilton will depart Mercedes next year or 2022. Hamilton still dont have a contract yet and Wolff its itching to leave.

  41. Colin Kolles is like F1’s grim reaper.

    He only appears when a team is in serious trouble.

  42. “Bad-mind and grudgeful!”as the Jamaicans would say.

  43. Always had respect for anything the Dieter or Keith published but you have sunk to new low giving credence to anything Kolles has to say, it’s unsubstantiated rubbish.
    It’s was widely reported that Kolles tried to blackmail Toto and anyone that remembers the Caterham saga will surely not give this guy the time of day.
    As far as the RP v Renault saga I would try and either report facts or wait until the ICA before making comment.

    1. Absolutely +1million

      Frankly appalled at the lows lately

      Dieter – your better than this. We know you like to show an anti domination side but this is frankly the Sun or the Mail.

      Let’s have some more insight than absolute twaddle.

  44. Mark in Florida
    17th August 2020, 22:22

    Well… If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck it must be a Mercedes copy. Seriously there is copying parts of cars or styles of a car, from the rake to wing style. But to get an exact replica of Mercs car from photos is ludicrous. Unless RP had a surreptitious LIDAR set up in the pits to scan Mercs car without their knowledge. This whole thing stinks.

  45. If it goes to court I think RP and Mercedes will win. RP does not have a copy of Mercedes 2020 car which would be against the rules. RP has a copy of an “old” Mercedes which slides into the gray area. This is why it wasn’t ruled a technical infraction but a sporting infraction but is it really an infraction at all? Red Bull’s 2020 car is faster than Mercedes 2019 car and faster than 1 of the 2020 Mercedes. Ferrari’s 2020 car is not close to Mercedes, Red Bull, RP, Renault, Mclaren, …

  46. Red Bull:

    Am I a joke to you ?

  47. Kolles has smeared a stink all over F1 every time he has been near the sport. Is it two teams he’s folded now? Lost count.

    Please stay away and stop fanning your stench towards the reputable press.

  48. Apparently some secretive guy in an Aston Martin put all the Mercedes drawings on a microfilm and handed it over to Lawrence Stroll.

  49. A man unconnected with the team heard something from someone else, therefore it must be true?

    I call bull.

  50. Exactly what I was thinking. Brake ducts are just one piece of the puzzle. Its not possible to copy the entire concept from photos.

Comments are closed.