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Duct-gate: FIA to tweak 2021 regulations

NEWS STORY
07/08/2020

Ever since the stewards announced their findings, shortly ahead of today's opening practice session, there has been growing frustration, bordering on anger.

While Racing Point, with the full support of Mercedes, insists it has done nothing wrong, rivals, pointing to the stewards findings, argue how can it be that a car that has been declared illegal is allowed to continue racing without threat of meaningful punishment.

Furthermore, with the RP20 so clearly competitive, rivals teams fear the decision is a double-edge sword as Racing Point quickly claws back the 15 points it has been deducted, in the process claiming more prize money than teams that have obeyed the rules from the outset.

Aware of the storm that is brewing and the possibility of further instances down the line, Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA's head of single-seater matters, has revealed that moving forwards the sport's governing body intends to tweak the rules.

"We do plan, with very short notice, to introduce some amendments to the 2021 sporting regulations that will prevent this becoming the norm," he told reporters. "This will prevent teams from using extensive part of photos to copy whole portions of other cars in the way that Racing Point has done.

"We will still accept individual components to be copied in local areas," he added, "but we don't want the whole car to be fundamentally a copy of another car."

Though refusing to go into details, he said: "We will be providing guidance about that, as well as the ruling and the wording itself over the next weeks.

"We want to give a very strong message to teams that they should not be starting doing that now for next year's car, because that will simply not be allowed," he warned. "It will be of course accepted that team's, whatever they have now in the 2019/2020 cars, they are not supposed to delete it or start afresh because that is never how it works.

"Copying has been taking place in Formula 1 for a long time," he admitted. "People take photos and sometimes reverse engineer them and make similar concepts.

"In some areas, they are even identical concepts or closely identical as other teams," he continued. "We do not think that this can stop in the future completely. But what we do think is that Racing Point took this to another level.

"They clearly decided to apply this philosophy for the whole car. By doing what I would call a paradigm shift, they actually use a disruption in the process that has been the norm of designing a Formula 1 car in the last forty years.

"So one should not penalize them for that because they were original in deciding to follow this approach. However, we do not think this is what F1 should become. We don't want next year to have eight or ten Mercedes, or copies of Mercedes, on the grid where the main skill becomes how you do this process. We don't want this to become the normal Formula 1."

The full decision details can be found here (pdf)

Check out our Friday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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1. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 07/08/2020 17:45

"The question now is how much of a copy is going to be allowed, 25% / 50% / 75%."

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