Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insists any claims his team assisted Racing Point’s copying of their car in breach of F1’s rules are “total nonsense” and said he will defend the brand from any such accusations.
Racing Point has made no secret of the fact its car is based on last year’s Mercedes W10. It insists its design was created using only photographs of the Mercedes as well as components it was legitimately able to obtain at the time under F1’s ‘non-listed parts’ rules.
Following a protest by Renault, the FIA stewards ruled Racing Point had violated the rules in its copying of Mercedes’ rear brake ducts. These were ‘non-listed parts’ until the end of last year, but in 2020 became ‘listed parts’, which teams must design themselves.
As a result, Mercedes’ connection to Racing Point has come under scrutiny from rival teams.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the verdict showed Racing Point’s claim they only used photographs to copy the Mercedes was ‘BS’.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the FIA should consider what involvement Mercedes might have had. “Regarding Mercedes I’m sure questions will get asked, because if the team in question are guilty of receiving, surely the team that has provided has been also in breach of those regulations? And that’s something for the FIA to look into.”
Wolff strongly defended his team’s position. “First of all, copying the car more than from photos is something we would know [about],” he said. “That’s why from my perspective it’s total nonsense to pursue that argument. And I will be defending our brand firmly if somebody were to go down that route.”
Racing Point has appealed against the FIA’s decision. Renault has also appealed, urging the FIA to hand down a stronger penalty than the €400,000 fine and 15-point deduction which was issued. Ferrari has joined the case as well, issuing an appeal of its own, and urging the FIA to clarify how far teams will be permitted to copy rival designs in the future.
“I think one can discuss the philosophy of ‘do we want to have cars that look like other cars’ and ‘do we want to close up or tighten the regulations so these kinds of things are not possible anymore’” said Wolff.
“That is a debate we can have with the FIA and commercial right holder and the teams to discuss whether the regulations that have been interpreted in a correct way by Racing Point, [and] should be changed going forward or not.”
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