Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

FIA approves rules banning Racing Point-style “reverse engineering” in 2021

2020 F1 season

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The FIA has formally approved new rules which will are intended to prevent teams “reverse engineering” rivals’ designs from next year.

Several teams pushed for the introduction of the rules in response to the RP20 design Racing Point produced this year, which is closely based on last year’s Mercedes W10.

RaceFans previously revealed details of the steps the FIA will take to outlaw reverse engineering from 2021. New rules governing Listed Team Components will stipulate what information sources relating to rivals’ designs may and may not be consulted by teams.

The use of three-dimensional cameras, software to create design data from images and photographs, surface scanning of parts and photogrammatery – software which converts image data into models – will all be banned.

Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA issued a statement noting it had “approved changes to the 2021 Technical Regulations that will prevent the extensive use of reverse engineering of rival designs for the design of a car’s aerodynamic surfaces.”

Formal approval has also been given to the new 2021 Concorde Governance Agreement, which the FIA is a signatory to along with Formula 1 and the 10 participating teams. The FIA said the contract “secures a strong future for the pinnacle of motor sport, with an improved governance structure which, combined with the introduction of Financial Regulations and major changes to the Sporting and Technical Regulations due to be introduced in 2022, aims to produce closer and more sustainable competition.”

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

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  • 22 comments on “FIA approves rules banning Racing Point-style “reverse engineering” in 2021”

    1. Wait

      In 2021 or from 2021? It’s says both things in the article

      Surely they won’t enforce this for next year’s cars, we are in October!

      1. @johnmilk the statement on the FIA’s website is as follows:
        “The World Motor Sport Council approved changes to the 2021 Technical Regulations that will prevent the extensive use of reverse engineering of rival designs for the design of a car’s aerodynamic surfaces.”

        That would indicate the rule change is intended to take effect in 2021 and to apply during the 2021 season.

        1. So no copying during 2021, which is absolutely redundant as the cars will be new for 2022

          Sounds like f1

    2. They’ve got the Mercedes rear suspension is the point I think, that they’re simply buying, as well as all the cooling systems, looms and everything, that the engine cover is shrink-wrapped round. Add the Mercedes best-in-class wind tunnel and I think these new rules are a bit late.

      1. its not designed to stop RP, its designed to stop anybody else.

        And yes they’re late, that’s normal in F1. You find a way to do new stuff without breaking current rules. FIA gets mad then bans them.

        1. It doesn’t apply to anybody else @Yaru. Copying in that much detail is only any use if they’re copying an entire concept – reverse engineering as opposed to just looking for ideas. Nobody else is buying all the non-listed parts from the best car either.

          1. Yea and the rule will prevent any teams from doing what RP did. That is the point, nobody else can do it anymore.

            Buying non-listed parts though, that’s fair game that anybody can do now.

    3. It’s so great to hear that F1 is banning DRS!! Wait a minute now I hear it’s banning reverse grids….How about doing both???
      Well the cats out of the bag. Being able to ban reverse grids, this season Proves that DRS could be gone by the Next race.

      It’s time, because it’s that dumb.

      1. DRS won’t be banned because its needed to make up for the loss of downforce from the dirty air of the lead car (which leads to lower downforce and less cooling – aka much slower)

        If you get in DRS distance, you deserve the extra power to begin with for even getting there since the current are so reliant on clean air.

        2022 regs are meant to reduce the turbelent air generated by the lead cars, how well it will work remains to be seen (DRS is still there in the first year of 2022).

    4. Dreadful news for Vettel.

    5. I have an opinion
      9th October 2020, 22:47

      We suspect that none of these techniques were used to actually design parts of the Tracing Point. These techniques were used as excuses to deny blatant technology sharing.

      1. Who’s “we”?

        Also, technology sharing of non listed parts are fine.

        1. Isn’t that the whole problem tho.. That’s pretty much where Racing Point is getting it’s advantage no..

    6. I assume since the RP20 was homologated, it is clear for 2021? (aside maybe from engineering some rear brake ducts, at worst).

      1. The yearly evolution of these cars is impressive.

    7. It’s a shame to have such a law. The reverse development would not bring any advantage to the copy team. It can only let the slow team to catch up in a really effective way. The reverse development could make F1 become more like a Formula 1 grand prix,not a mix of F1 and F1.5! Racing Point would never beat Mercedes by reverse development. And Mercedes could always be one step forward towards Racing Point. So why not pick the easy way?
      Foremore, if other teams created a W10 by their own development, what would be the benefit of the existence of this law?

      1. Henrik Møller Jørgensen
        10th October 2020, 6:32

        Agree! F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, but you have to employ a sketch artist, if someone comes up with the double diffuse of this era, and you want to complete.

      2. Basically this law means that if you want to copy the W10, you’ll have to do it the old fashion way with just pictures and guesstimates. You can’t use special programs that can convert pictures to real
        mathematical data and CAD designs.

        If you can make a W10 by just copying pictures, you can use it.

        In theory, this will allow teams to still copy designs from the (way) ineffective old way as opposed to the new picture to data conversion way.

    8. If they want close racing instead of restricting they should make all teams make all documents available to 2 year old cars – all the data all the designs and people should be allowed to use it.

      That way it’s not to close to the current car but stops any secret advantage going on for years. Also would prevent cheating(?)

      So after 2016 other teams could have closed in on merc.


      1. Workable but they don’t want to do it that way cos they want teams to still do some level of developement.

        So their solution is to give less tunnel time the higher up you finish from 2022 onwards (in addition to the budget cap coming next year). Basically like a reverse qualifying grid but for developement.

    9. I’m sure there will be several loopholes how one could still copy enough parts of another car. The issue arrose because Racing Point / Aston Martin is using many other components too (PU, gearbox, suspension etc).

      1. I mean, if they are not from the Listed Parts, they’ll be fine.

        RP isn’t the only one that buys Non-Listed Parts from another team and if they considerably reduce the amount of Non Listed Parts, they’ll be a lot of opposition from the sellers and buyers.

    Comments are closed.