Following Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix, the Renault F1 Team has filed a formal protest concerning the legality of the Racing Point’s 2020 car, the RP20. FIA has also requested Mercedes to provide some parts from its 2019 car.
Several teams expressed their concerns regarding Racing Point’s 2020 car during the pre-season testing, suggesting that the Silverstone-based team’s 2020 car was a copy of Mercedes’ 2019 machine. As the RP20’s aerodynamic parts share many similarities with Mercedes’ W10’s solutions, Racing Point’s 2020 car has been dubbed 'the pink Mercedes' since the winter testing.
While teams are allowed to purchase several parts from rival outfits, many believed that the cooperation between Mercedes and Racing Point was not in compliance with the Sporting Regulations.
Although Racing Point never denied that it has taken inspiration from Mercedes’ W10 while designing its own 2020 F1 car, it repeatedly stressed that its car complied with the Sporting Regulations. The Silverstone-based team purchases Mercedes’s power unit and gearboxes, and it also used the Brackley-based outfit’s wind tunnel. While it is common for teams to rent a rival’s wind tunnel, the regulations strictly forbid to share data with each other.
Renault has stated that its rival contravened the Sporting Regulation concerning the listed parts that must be designed by the teams themselves. The Enstone-based outfit has protested against the legality of the RP20’s front and rear brake ducts.
The stewards concluded that Renault’s protest met all requirements and deemed it admissible. Following the steward’s meeting, the front and rear brake ducts from Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll’s cars have been impounded so the FIA Technical Department can conduct a detailed analysis.
Moreover, Mercedes has also been asked to provide the FIA with the relevant part of its W10 car so the governing body can carry out comparisons between Mercedes 2019 design and Racing Point’s 2020 solutions.
In a statement released at 20:17, the stewards said: ”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.”