Brawn on Racing Point protest: ‘Copying is standard in F1’

F1 director of motorsport Ross Brawn says copying in F1 is standard practice, but insists the FIA is facing a “tricky problem” when it comes to judging the case of Racing Point’s RP20 design.

Racing Point is fielding a car this season whose design it admits was directly based on a detailed photographic analysis of Mercedes’ 2019 winning W10.

The Silverstone-based outfit’s design approach has unsettled its rivals, especially Renault which lodged a protest after the Styrian Grand Prix and another after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix that targets the brake ducts on Racing Point’s RP20 which are almost identical to those that featured on last year’s Silver Arrow.

The bone of contention centers around whether the pink squad designed and produced the ducts on its own or whether the design was based on a blueprint supplied by Mercedes, a practice outlawed by the regulations when it comes to listed parts, meaning components that must be designed in-house.

    Racing Point: ‘Impossible’ for our brake ducts to be illegal

However, brake ducts were non-listed parts in 2019, which implies that Racing Point was authorized in 2019 to buy the element from Mercedes, and there may have based its own current design on a legitimate blue print, although Renault would perhaps beg to differ.

Brawn argues that teams have always copied each other in F1, and the former Ferrari technical director admitted he was never left behind in this respect during his active years as a designer in the sport.

“My view is copying in Formula 1 is standard,” Branw said in his post-Hungarian Grand Prix debrief.

“Every team has, in normal times, digital photographers in the pitlane out there taking thousands of photos of every car for analysis, with a view of copying the best ideas.

“We used to give our photographers a shopping list.

“Racing Point have just taken it to the next stage and done a more thorough job. There is not a single team in this paddock which has not copied something from another.

“I’d ask every technical director in the paddock to raise their hand if they haven’t copied someone else. You won’t see any hands. I have certainly copied others.

“Last year, Racing Point had access to, and could use, 2019-spec Mercedes brake ducts because they were not a listed part. This year, brake ducts are listed parts, so you have to design your own.

“However, Racing Point cannot forget the knowledge they acquired using the 2019 Mercedes brake ducts.

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“I think it is illogical to think they can wipe their memory banks. It is a tricky problem and one for the FIA experts to resolve.”

The FIA is expected to rule on the complex case ahead of the British Grand Prix or at the latest in between the two rounds at Silverstone.

In the interim, Renault is prepping its case while Racing Point is prepping its defense.

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