Wolff not expecting 'duct-gate' to go to International Court of Appeal


Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff is confident that the case involving the legality of the Racing Point RP20 will not go to the International Court of Appeal.

While Renault, which initiated the whole saga by protesting the cars, has announced that it is withdrawing its appeal against the stewards' decision, there has been no such announcement from Ferrari, the only other team protesting the decision.

Nonetheless, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff is confident that the case will not go to the International Court of Appeal.

"I think this is part of the politics of Formula 1," he told Sky Sports. "It was a little bit of pushing against Racing Point's performance, which is really outstanding this season.

"It's not down to a brake duct," he continued. "I think they've done a really good job, and you can see how close they are to us.

"So I think this is a good group of people that have run in previous years with a low budget, with a tight ship, and this is why they have just closed that gap also to us.

"But I think this is going to resolve itself hopefully next week. I don't expect this to go to the ICA."

However, asked if this means he thinks Ferrari will follow Renault's example and withdraw its appeal, he admitted: "I don't know."

Meanwhile, Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul explained the reason for his team's surprising U-Turn.

"I understand that maybe there are some elements to be seen in order for people to appreciate what we've done, why we've done it and why we are dropping so early," he told Sky Sports. "I think there are some elements missing that will show up in the next few weeks.

"Basically what we've been doing since the start is to get a guarantee," he continued, "and make sure that we share the vision with the FIA and Formula 1 that the championship is a championship for constructors. Not constructors by the definition of an OEM, but people building, designing their car, owning the IP of the car with original designs and original aerodynamic concepts. We don't want a championship of copying or tracing.

"So we wanted to make sure that whatever the regulations are currently saying, future regulations will make sure that this is the case, and we have received guarantees that it's the vision, but also that the regulation will evolve in that direction in order to avoid any ambiguity. So that's what's happening.

"It's a work in progress," he admitted. "The regulations cannot be voted now because we are between two Concorde Agreements. But as soon as the future of the new Concorde Agreement is in place, those regulations will evolve in that direction."

The Frenchman admitted that had Renault persisted, there was no guarantee the appeal would have been successful.

"The appeal process is very complex and a process full of doubt and uncertainty," he said. "We don't know what could have happened at the extent, at the outcome of that process. So we have no certainty that we would have ended up in a better sporting situation."

Asked whether Mercedes had attempted to influence his team's decision, Abiteboul said: "Mercedes is a great brand, and is a partner of Renault, but to a certain degree everyone is a partner of everyone in the paddock. Aston Martin, the future brand of Racing Point, is also a very strong partner of Mercedes and Daimler, there is evidence of that.

"So I think we are competitors. We've tried in the past to engage and to develop some synergy with Mercedes. Now that again we've got a more long-term period of time in Formula 1, maybe that's the sort of thing we can do in the future.

"But what matters, what we were after, is clarification of the regulation and that's what will happen."

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Published: 29/08/2020
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