Since the beginning of the season, teams have been launching protests over the legality of the Racing Point car. It started with Red Bull, and has been carried over the past GPs by Renault.
Recently, Renault has filed a protest over the legality of Racing Points brake ducts. It has been alleged that RP full on copied it from Mercedes, which is illegal.
After a long time debating, as well as calling representatives of Racing Point, Renault and Mercedes, the verdict has finally seen the day light.
Racing Point has been fined $400K ($200K per car) and stripped from 15 points from the championship (7.5 point for the car) for the Styrian GP. The team has been given only a reprimand for the Hungarian GP as well as British GP.
So what’s the real deal with it then?
Well. In a 14 pages document presented by FIA, there is a lot going on. Some of the points will be summarised down below.
1) FIA concluded that initially the designer of the brake duct design was Mercedes, which means Racing Point has broken the rules and “obtained a part from another manufacturer” which is illegal
2) Racing Point used CAD drawings from Mercedes W10 for the RP19, which was deemed as legitimate because during that time they were listed as brake ducts (which have been, during that time, under non-listed parts). In 2020 however, this classification has changed to listed parts, so using those listed parts in the design of the 2020 is then illegal.
3) FIA acknowledges that there is a “grey area of understanding” of the rules regarding what they called “grandfathering” the parts that were once deemed legal, and if Racing Point would ask FIA, they would help them implement them legally, but the team did not ask.
4) The Stewards believe it’s rather a breach of Sporting Regulations than non-compliance with the Technical Regulations, hence the penalty given is sufficient and there is no need for disqualification of the cars.
5) FIA has admitted a lack of focus on the duct breaks when inspecting the car on an overall note in March 2020, and they admitted that the clearance of the change of rules (from non-listed to listed parts) has been lacking
6) Racing Point has been deemed on an overall note transparent and open when it came to their actions and they fully believed they have been compliant with the regulations, hence no deliberate intent to break the rules was attributed.
The penalty for Racing Point results in them being currently P7 instead of P5 in the championship standings. It has been definitely a difficult time for RP - not only have they been given the penalty, but also Sergio Perez still remains in quarantine due to a positive re-test for the COVID-19. Nico Hulkenberg will take over his place once again this following weekend.