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Renault and Racing Point to appeal stewards ruling

NEWS STORY
08/08/2020

The teams had 24 hours from the time of yesterday's hearing result to decide whether they intend to appeal, and after that they have a further 96 hours in which to decide if they intend pressing ahead.

While Renault has now joined Ferrari, McLaren and Williams in confirming its intent to appeal, Racing Point is also intending to appeal but for obviously different reasons.

Racing Point clearly feels, having insisted that its car is legal, that the fine and points deduction is wrong, while the four rival teams feel the punishment is not harsh enough. Indeed, they are particularly incensed that though the rear brake duct is in breach of the sporting regulations, Racing Point is allowed to continue using them without fear of punishment, only a reprimand.

Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Renault believe that ultimately, as Racing Point improves and scores more points, courtesy of an 'illegal' part they are being penalised.

They also argue that in effectively giving Racing Point the green light the sport is leaving itself to further instances of copying.

"Racing Point has been found guilty," said Zak Brown, "and I am concerned that they still have those... what were deemed illegal in Austria on the race car now.

"I think that is confusing for the fans, how something that is not legal in Austria is still on the car.

"Around this whole copying, obviously they claimed that they had coped the car via photography," he continued. "It's clear from reading the document that is BS and therefore you have to question anything else around that car.

"I think this is, potentially, the top of the iceberg," he warned, "the starting point of looking at what's happened here, because I don't think it's healthy for the sport."

"One thing that is important is that it has somehow been clarified that there has been a breach of regulation," added Mattia Binotto. "I think that is the starting point. Obviously that is relative to the braking ducts but there is an entire concept behind, which is about copying: are we allowed to copy or not, an entire concept. The two things need to be split.

"On the braking duct there is a breach of regulation, that is a fact and it has been clarified. Is the penalty sufficient or not? Again, I think we need to go through carefully the 14 pages. There are 24 hours eventually for an intention of appeal. I think as Ferrari we will be very careful in understanding and deciding what is the next step."

"It's a bit disappointing," said Otmar Szafnauer. "We thought we are well within the rules and did absolutely nothing wrong.

"We invited the FIA in March to come and view everything that we did. We had full disclosure," He added. "Thereafter, they wrote to us and said we were completely compliant. So that's a bit disappointing.

"However, we now have to assess the sanction that was given. The FIA have acknowledged the rules of non-listed parts going to listed parts were far from clear and ambiguous and they could be viewed from two different sides.

"The initial thought is that from our perspective, we did nothing wrong so that's unfair. There's always two perspectives, I guess. The FIA were the arbiters on this. We now have to discuss with the FIA what is going to happen going forward."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 09/08/2020 1:20

"Thanks C5 & mickl for your responses. My post addressed the 'big picture' ergo, wrong/illegal in Austria then by logical deduction [ if no change made to either parts or regulations ] wrong/illegal in all subsequent events. To delve into the minutiae of the decision is complex, too complex for me to show any definitive errors from the parties involved. That will al come out in future court appeals...hopefully. In a general comment it would appear prima facie, that RP knew that they were on shifting sands, why else call in the FIA for clarification prior to the protests? Tombazis initially states that he overlooked the issue of brake ducts!! Why would he do this when he was fully aware of the change of status from unlisted to listed? As i said it's complex but RP are not, IMO, an innocent party and neither are MB. As for the 'unlearning defense' i don't buy that at all. Yes, we are all creatively influenced by those images already embedded from past associations, but there are levels of design and functionality that proscribe what is acceptable as substantially the same/similar/different in copyright issues. The same applies within the framework, 'ought reasonably to know ' whereby knowledge is not a defence. The future of this dilemma certainly has a way to run yet...."

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2. Posted by C5, 08/08/2020 23:00

"@kenji, I belive you are not correct. The part itself is perfectly legal to the technical regulation. It's how the knowledge to design the part was obtained that's in question.

In two prior cases - Arrows A1 in 1978 and McLaren Spygate in 2007 - the issue was copyright owner clearly did not give permission to their intellectual property being used by another team.

But in this case, RP legally purchased the part from Mercedes and from that made their own version. Mercedes is clearly not unhappy with that, so all they're left is to determine what the penalty for a breach of the sporting regulation should be.

Assuming there is a breach; FIA has clearly been on the loop all along so it seems somewhat odd that they all of a sudden decides there is a problem.

But it's clear from the FIA is the part itself conforms completely to the technical regulation, so why should it not stay on the car?
"

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3. Posted by mickl, 08/08/2020 19:28

"@ kenji How do you go about making RP 'unlearn' what they already know about the brake duct? Any redesign will most likely be an evolution of the current part and will probably perform better which defeats the purpose of the ruling and protest. Should the FIa mandate RP to make a part that is empirically worse?

This is probably the most practical way of going forward for RP to run the car. Although maybe disqualification from the season prior to the ruling would probably be more fitting but that penaly can't be given, if I recall, unless the car is found to be illegal according to technical regs which again would mean part redesign and so forth. This probably another factor in making it a ruling based on a breach of sporting regulations instead of technical."

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4. Posted by kenji, 08/08/2020 16:50

"It all seems to me to be very simple. If running the copycar with rear brake ducts in Austria that have since been deemed to be illegal then that identical car being run in any subsequent races, without alteration, must also be illegal!! Why pay a kings ransom to a bunch of QC's to arrive at that conclusion? RP should lose all points from races past and continue to be so adjudged until the illegal parts are changed.it is simply ridiculous to accept the Stewards findings. Personally i think that Wolff is hedging here and his defence lacks his normal 'brio'. As Zack Brown alludes, this is only the tip of the iceberg and i fear that he may be right."

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