Racing Point has been docked 15 Constructors’ Championship points, whacked with a €400,000 fine and officially reprimanded by the FIA after it upheld Renault’s protests against its brake ducts.
The sport’s governing body handed down a lengthy summary on Friday morning before the opening practice session of this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, with FIA Stewards concluding that the team had breached F1’s sporting regulations in the process of designing the brake ducts run on this year’s RP20 chassis.
The FIA concluded that the ‘principal’ designer of the car’s rear brake ducts was Mercedes-AMG, which had provided the design specifications of its brake duct designs run on last year’s championship-winning W10.
Brake duct designs could be legally shared at the time, however, the sporting regulations were amended before the start of the season declaring brake ducts to be a ‘listed’ part and therefore each team must wholly design their own brake ducts.
The Racing Point team had already come under fire by rivals for its ‘reverse engineering’ design of its RP20 challenger, which was conceived by painstakingly copying the design of last year’s Mercedes W10 from thousands of photographs.
The FIA had earlier ruled that the RP20 design, while bearing a near-identical resemblance to the W10, was wholly the work of Racing Point – but the governing body admitted that it had failed to pick up on the specific issue of the copying of Mercedes’ brake duct design.
“Since the RP20 RBDs [rear brake ducts] were not run on the RP19 in 2019 and since the Stewards believe that the design effort expended by Racing Point in adapting the RBDs originally designed by Mercedes for the W10 pales in comparison to the significance of the original Mercedes work, the Stewards conclude that the principal designer of the RP20 RBDs was Mercedes, not Racing Point,” the FIA said in its statement.
The FIA argued that Racing Point gained a competitive advantage by being able to devote design resources to other areas of the car, but conceded that it was unrealistic for Racing Point to remove and redesign its brake ducts for the remainder of the season. The brake ducts are compliant to the technical regulations, even though the process of their design breached the sporting regulations.
As punishment, the FIA decided that the team would lose 7.5 Constructors’ Championship points for both its cars in the Styrian Grand Prix as well as be fined €400,000. The team was additionally reprimanded for running the same brake ducts under protest at the Hungarian and British Grands Prix.
Racing Point will have 24 hours to decide whether or not it intends to appeal the decision.
Image via BWT Racing Point Formula 1 Team
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