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Renault protest "misconceived and poorly informed"

NEWS STORY
13/07/2020

Racing Point has issued a brief statement in reaction to Renault's protesting of its two cars following yesterday's Styrian Grand Prix.

The statement follows the the Red Bull Ring's stewards decision that the protest is admissable and the subsequent impounding of the RP20's rear and front brake ducts for investigation and comparing to those on the 2019 Mercedes.

"BWT Racing Point F1 Team is extremely disappointed to see its results in the Styrian Grand Prix questioned by what it considers to be a misconceived and poorly informed protest," read the statement.

"Any and all suggestion of wrongdoing is firmly rejected and the team will take all steps necessary to ensure the correct application of the regulations to the facts.

"Prior to the start of the season, the team co-operated fully with the FIA and satisfactorily addressed all questions regarding the origins of the design of the RP20. The team is confident that the protest will be dismissed once it has presented its response."

While technical director Andrew Green admits to being influenced by the Mercedes he has always insisted that he started off with a blank piece of paper and no intellectual property of the German team's was used.

"We designed the car from scratch," he said ahead of pre-season testing when concerns were first raised, "starting from almost a blank sheet of paper - which is very exciting, because the team hasn't been in a position to do this in a very long time.

"We've applied everything that we've learnt over the past seasons," he added, "combined this with what we've seen adopted by some of our competitors, and we've given it our best shot at optimising the final season of these present regulations."

As the pace of the car became all too clear during testing, he dismissed the claims that the car was a clone of the Mercedes and that his team had received assistance from the German team.

"Absolutely, categorically, all those designs are Racing Point's, from absolute scratch," he told Sky Sports. "There has been no transfer of information on this car from Mercedes. They would never contemplate it, we would never ask for it. It's absolutely outside the regulations, it would never happen. We haven't tried in any way, shape or form to try and circumvent the regulations.

"What you see is what people have drawn from looking at pictures of Mercedes," he admitted, "the same as anyone else could have done, and I think they've done a cracking job to be honest.

"We've utilised what we can see," he continued, "we know how sensitive teams are to other teams taking pictures... there's a pitlane full of photographers there all employed by the teams to take pictures of other people's things, all we did was to utilise that information. Information that we had, information that everyone else had, so no difference."

However, when asked about the philosophy behind the RP20, he admitted that Mercedes was in the mix.

"We wanted to fix something that had been haunting us for many years," he said. "We started development on this concept back in 2014, something like that. From that point on, although we were adding performance to the car and the car was getting better it had this underlying Achilles heel that we were really struggling to get rid of.

"We tried so many updates last year to try and sort the car out, and yes we made some improvements, the car was getting better, by the time we got to Abu Dhabi the car was reasonable, we were fighting for fourth in the team rankings, which is where we wanted to be. But the gains we were making were getting slower and slower and slower and the fundamental characteristic of the car wasn't changing.

"So, around the middle of last year we questioned what we were doing, questioned where we were going, we questioned the fact that there is only one more year left with these regulations. So, whatever we do this year, we're throwing it away, 2021 is completely different.

"So, we've got an opportunity here, what shall we do, shall we do something different or shall we carry on doing what we've been doing for the last five years?

"Everyone agreed, let's do something different, let's try something different, let's throw away what we've done before, let's start with a clean sheet of paper, let's do something new.

"So where do we start? Well, we start with the fact that we've got a Mercedes power unit, we've got a Mercedes gearbox... and one thing about the Mercedes gearbox... we're running a Mercedes 2019 gearbox because we've always run a year behind Mercedes... it does limit what you can do with the ride height of the car, the suspension geometry is basically designed for Mercedes to run that philosophy of a low rake car and they weren't going to change that for us or for anyone so we decided 'why don't we try and join them, let's go that route, let's see where it leads us'.

"And at that point we did, we tore up everything we knew about high rake car and the philosophy we'd been running for the last few years and started again, started afresh. It was a big risk, it is a big risk, it's a massive risk to not just take someone's concept but to understand it and develop it. It's a huge risk, and I've got a lot of faith in the team back in Brackley to deliver what we've got now, I think it's a credit to them, a massive credit."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 15/07/2020 20:07

"What did the F1 fraternity including the teams expect would happen with the cost of development so high and one team (Merc) dominating?

Put yourself in the shoes of a small mid field team.

It is only logical that you'd do exactly what Racing Force Point India has done and emulate the success of another team as much as possible to get the best bang for buck.

The alternative is to keep experimenting and end up throwing tons of money and resources at being in the lower ranks until you run out of money (again) and get bailed out by another new "investor" (again) for another cash sucking season. Rinse and repeat.

Racing Force Point India have had the FIA sign off on the design before the car was built.

There is no way I can see the FIA changing their mind now as the FIA already have egg on their face after the secret Ferrari deal.

With 2022 seeing all-new cars, Racing Force Point India have done the smart thing that other teams should have done, particularly Toro Alfa Rosa Tauri who could have had more input from Newey than any other team.

The alternative is to struggle down the order to eventual failure on and off the track.

One good side effect of Racing Force Point India doing well is that we as fans are getting to see another two cars and drivers fighting up the order and providing more racing which is what we want and F1 needs."

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2. Posted by Hondaunearthed, 14/07/2020 21:21

"Kenji I would have agreed with you. However I watched a video about this by Marc Preistly, he explained the ramifications if Racing Point are indeed to be found not guilty, and it seems huge for the sport as a whole."

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3. Posted by kenji, 14/07/2020 14:08

"I do think that there is a great degree of 'overegging' here. To state that we decided to throw all the previous out and start with a clean sheet of paper is disingenious. Yes, the paper may have been clean but it was soon allegedly carrying another teams designs...hardly original IMO. In the 'artworld' we use the euphemism 'appropriated' as a more gentlemanly term for forgery. I doubt that they will have made any errors, they must have known that the similarities are too obvious to be anything other than a visual copy. My guess is that they have covered all the bases and will come out of it all intact. Anything less could be very very expensive despite Stroll's very deep pockets."

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4. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 13/07/2020 14:32

"Hope there is no 3 pointed star emblem on the brake ducts!"

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5. Posted by Hondaunearthed, 13/07/2020 13:38

"I think he is trying to convince himself even..
So they built an awesome car from “scratch”, this year.
Must have better designers than every other team out there, considering everyone has basically been just evolving for the past couple of years to get to current performance levels. But they did it in 6-8 months.
Only thing that is the same as Mercedes but is the power unit and gearbox. Williams has those things also, however...hired the wrong engineer."

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