The resemblance is uncanny, at least that’s what other teams in the paddock have said about the 2020 Racing Point RP20 car. In fact, it was so uncanny that their competitors have taken o calling the car the “Pink Mercedes” and that’s because it looks very similar to the Mercedes car from 2019.
No mystery that Racing Point uses Mercedes engines and parts and owner Lawrence Stroll also bought Aston Martin which Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff invested in. Just how chummy is that relationship and could there be a possibility that Racing Point enjoyed too much intellectual property from Mercedes in designing this year’s challenger?
That was the questions coming out of winter testing and while there was no formal complaint lodged at the season’s first race in Austria, the second race at the Red Bull Ring did prompt an official protest from Renault F1 and the FIA have deemed it legitimate.
The complaint is centered on the FIA sporting regulations appendix 6 and discusses the concept of “listed parts”. This concept is how Haas F1 managed to secure much of it’s car from Ferrari. However, it also discusses what can and cannot be shared between teams in this customer/supplier format that Formula 1 is beholden.
Paragraph 1, article 2 (a) says: “A competitor shall, in respect of the Listed Parts to be used in its cars in Formula One, only use Listed Parts which are designed by it.” Article 2 (c) adds: “In the case of the Outsourcing of design, such third party shall not be a competitor or a party that directly or indirectly designs Listed Parts for any competitor.”
Renault have keyed in on the front and rear brake ducts and say they are too similar to the Mercedes W10 car from 2019. The stewards have launched a full investigation saying:
“With regards to front and rear brake ducts used on cars 11 and 18, the stewards summoned and heard from the team representatives of both teams and a representative of the FIA Technical Department.
“The stewards determined that the protest met all requirements specified in Article 13 of the FIA International Sporting Code and is, therefore, admissible.
“The FIA Technical Department representative was directed to seal and impound the relevant parts of cars 11 and 18 in preparation for conducting a detailed analysis of those pieces.
“The representative is further directed to provide a detailed report to the stewards with the findings and to include an assessment that matches those findings against the alleged infringements outlined in the protest.
“The representative is authorised in the name of the stewards to call upon such outside technical assistance, including representatives of the following teams: – Renault DP World F1 Team, BWT Racing Point F1 Team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team – in the conduct of their assessment.
“Furthermore, the stewards ordered the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team to provide the front and rear brake air ducts of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ used by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in the 2019 season to the FIA Technical Department for examination.”
Mercedes has been ensnared in this investigation too as they will have to proffer the drawings and parts for their brake ducts in order to make an evaluation. The protest was filed after the race and could impact the 6th and 7th place finish the team enjoyed in Austria on Sunday.