Green adamant that RP20 is no Mercedes clone

21/02/2020
NEWS STORY

If nothing else, the discovery of Mercedes controversial dual axis steering (DAS) system drew attention away from Racing Point on Thursday. Prior to that on-board footage from Lewis Hamilton's car one of the main topics of conversation in the Barcelona paddock was the similarity between the 2020 Racing Point and the 2019 Mercedes, particularly in terms of the nose and front wing.

At a time some were questioning whether there had been any transfer of information between the teams, which would contravene the rules, Racing Point technical director, Andrew Green was adamant.

"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," he continued. "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 added, an admission that most might term disingenuous, "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."

Asked about the philosophy behind the RP20 however, he admitted that, in this particular department, Mercedes was in the mix.

"We wanted to fix something that had been haunting us for many years," he admitted. "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."

Asked about the performance of the RP20 so far, he said: "We're quietly satisfied. It's difficult to know where we really sit in the pecking order, the drivers are more comfortable in the car. We've definitely made some progress, how much progress we've made it's really difficult to say, we don't know what everyone's fuel load is, we don't have enough running, but so far we're cautiously optimistic."

Check out our Friday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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Published: 21/02/2020
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