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"We have done absolutely nothing wrong," insists Szafnauer


As the whole 'duct-gate' issue continues to dominate the headlines and divide the paddock, an emotional Szafnauer stated the team's case, claiming that the purchase of brake ducts earlier this year were "spares", while pointing to the technical relationships between Haas and Ferrari and AlphaTauri and Red Bull.

"If you read the rules, the new sporting regulations don't apply until 24 hours before the first practice session of the championship," he said, referring to the brake ducts his team bought from Mercedes in early January. "So the reason we got those parts in was we were unsure if the parts that we designed and manufactured for this year were going to be manufactured in time for winter testing for February. So we received those parts as spares or parts to run in winter testing.

"As it turned out," he continued, "we didn't need them at all and our parts made it. "We ran a big part of the rear brake duct that is on this year's car from Singapore last year. However, you can't do the whole thing because it is a different upright, but we ran a significant part of it last year.

"But just so you understand, there is no rule, sporting or technical, that says you have to run them in the year before.

"We have 886 unique drawings for these brake ducts and if you look at the regulations, the regulations state they have to be your design," he continued. "We designed the whole thing ourselves.

"However, the stewards are saying, 'yes but the start of your design is saying you looked at a Mercedes brake duct and started with it', but you have to remember that in 2019 they were not listed parts.

"So you have got to ask yourself, if we started with a Mercedes design and then designed it ourselves, where did Haas start with their brake ducts and where did AlphaTauri start with their brake ducts?

"As a matter of fact, there are other teams here, including Haas, who have probably never run a brake duct of their own design, it is probably come from Ferrari, and the AlphaTauri/Toro Rosso ones have always come from Red Bull.

"The thing is, once you learn something on an unlisted part in 2019 or, in our case, in 2018 when we got the information it was legal, and you can't unlearn that... you can't unlearn that.

"We need to appeal it because we stayed within the regulations," he explained, "both sporting and technical and we need to clear our name. We should not be losing 15 points and we should not be charged 400,000 Euros when we have done absolutely nothing wrong.

"It is unprecedented that last year, this part could be supplied by any team for you and this year you have to design it yourself. We did design it ourselves and we manufactured it completely ourselves. We should not forget we did not get a part from Mercedes at all. We did not shortcut the process, we did not gain any manufacturing time, we did not gain any money buy buying parts.

"Formula 1 is all about exploiting the regulations to the limit," he added. "Just because we did a good job and have a competitive car, it does not mean we have done anything wrong.

"The real conundrum is that people are looking at our car and saying 'you copied the Mercedes' or 'you have copied more than we would have copied', well unfortunately copying is what Formula 1 is completely based on.

"I don't know what the appeal process will uncover," he concluded, "but the more you dig the better off we are, because then the judges will understand how we got to this car, these brake ducts and they will overlay the regulations and see that we are well within all the regulations for what the car is and what the process was."

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1. Posted by mickl, 13/08/2020 2:23

"@Kenji Just to clarify about the cover up re Ferrari engines. As you say, they've not had the findings of their agreement published. If it had been published then it wouldn't be a cover up as the facts are known. In this case this is the definition of a cover up as the FIA won't publish the findings therefore the public doesn't know what has happened. You know, as in they 'covered up' what has really happened."

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2. Posted by mickl, 13/08/2020 2:15

"@Kenji about Ferrari engine performance breach/cheating secrecy with the FIA. That's a cover up isn't it? Mercedes legally sold a part to a customer, a part that is was legally allowed to sell in 2019 and that's what it did. The problem is RP using that design again this year instead of designing a totally new one. Also, why is it weird to supply CAD drawings? If they're selling an item to fit onto a car, it would probably save a ton of time without having to build the car, try to fit the part then redesign and try to fit again. It's just basic efficiency. You don't think drawings and measurements are supplied to the customers from the engine manufacturers? They just plonk an engine on the floor of the customer's factory and say 'it's your problem now' and walk away do they?

Don't you think with this coming out, Ferrari and Red Bull or even Renault, wouldn't have protested or complained directly against Mercedes by now. This sport is not subtle about sticking a knife in a competitors back and it would have been done by now.

Again, I've asked you previously how do RP unlearn what they already know? You gave a wishy washy answer that that was kind of legal semantics. I don't actually disagree that it's stupid they can still run the car but in real life that won't happen unless the FIA deleted RP's data and put in new designers. The FIA has not specifically stated that the parts were a 1:1 copy, only that there has been a breach in sporting regs.

RP has stated the duct has to go around a specific strut legally supplied by Mercedes and that's the way it has to be designed. I think lots of the midfield teams have been supplied the same parts by other teams, it's just that design doesn't work. We'll see if that's the case. I reckon a lot more will come out of the woodwork when Mr Stroll's legal team gets to work.

There's defintely BS going on and it just depends which side is actually shovelling it. Lots of people with boners in the paddock and on here wanting the Germans to be toppled."

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3. Posted by kenji, 10/08/2020 2:43

"@ Wokingchap....I don't see how you can make that statement re Ferrari. Ferrari have not been found guilty of anything that warrants a comment/breach of rules and published in the public arena. You are suggesting a cover up but on what grounds? Cause and effect appear to be somewhat conclusive but not, ATPIT, supported by factual admissions.
As for the latest hoo har re RP i see a completely different issue altogether. That said i would pose the question...would RP have appealed the FIA decision even if the other teams did nothing further? It's a complete farce compounded by the ongoing 'reprimand' being delivered to RP. They are in breach of the rules and they should not be able to continue to race without penalty. It also appears that MB may have their greedy fingers in this pie and they are reacting in such a manner as to beg the question of why were they delivering CAD designs to a customer who just happens to be a competitor? Has anyone checked for the similarity of the current RP BD's and the current MB BD's similar are they?.This issue has a way to run yet and it's far more exciting than some of this years races!!"

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4. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 09/08/2020 12:31

"Could this be deeper than just brake ducts? did Mercedes actually help Racing Point with what no one can deny is almost an exact copy of the 2019 Mercedes.
With Bottas on just a one year deal, Hamilton contract talks on hold, Wolf not wanting to sign the new Concorde agreement as he needs "flexibilty", Mercedes support for Racing Point in this case, are Mercedes going to pull out at the end of 2021 is the new Aston Martin (Racing Point) team to become effectively the works team. Giving Racing Point a 2019 car would get them up to speed and learn the car going forward, see 2+2 does equal 5."

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5. Posted by Wokingchap, 09/08/2020 10:50

"Greg, I agree and this explanation is very clear. Totally double standards by the stewards and FIA, every tiny detail about this is now public yet Ferrari cheat with their 2019 engine and its all kept SECRET. WHY. Todt has a lot to answer for."

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6. Posted by kenji, 09/08/2020 10:17

"I somehow think that Szafnauer is struggling here. 'Copying is what F1 is completely based on'!!! Wrong. Tell that to Adrian Newey. Red Bull..high rake. Mercedes..virtually no rake. Massive differences. "

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7. Posted by Greg, 09/08/2020 9:37

"I must admit that Szafnauer raises some valid points. How do the B-teams get their parts. Hand me downs foe sure and most likely then re- engineered. As he pounta out they bought the parts in 2018 when it was quite legal. They used some of the design in tneir 2019 car and now the parts are illegal because they are a copy. Doent fit that well. Will eagerly await the outcome. Maybe they should protest against Hass and redbull 2(Alpha Tauri)"

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