Ferrari and Renault and Racing Point confirm brake duct appeal


Another hearing in the case of Racing Point's 'copycat' brake ducts will go ahead, after Ferrari and Renault confirmed their decision to appeal the initial ruling and penalties


Florent Gooden / DPPI

There will be another hearing into the Racing Point brake duct saga after Ferrari, Renault and Racing Point itself all confirmed that they will appeal the decision in the case.

The F1 team was last week found guilty of copying Mercedes’ rear brake ducts, but rivals raised concerns that the punishment was too lenient, and that other elements of the car had not been investigated.

Racing Point was fined €400,000 (£356,000) and docked 15 constructors’ championship points, following a protest by Renault after the Styrian Grand Prix. The team can continue to race the contentious components this season without further penalty.

This outcome left several teams disgruntled, and several have questioned the legality of the rest of this year’s Racing Point RP20, which is unmistakably similar to the 2019 championship-winning Mercedes W10.

Ferrari, Renault, McLaren and Williams quickly announced their intention to appeal the decision last week, as did Racing Point. They had until Wednesday morning to confirm their appeal or withdraw.

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Ferrari said that it would be pursuing a review, as did Renault. In a statement, the Enstone-based team said: “We have confirmed our intention to appeal against the Stewards’ decision in respect of the Racing Point brake ducts.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work intensively with the FIA and all stakeholders to develop and implement a clear and enforceable regulatory framework that will ensure all teams participating in the 2021 season will develop their original aerodynamic concept by themselves.”

McLaren, however, has dropped its appeal. Immediately after the verdict, McLaren Racing’s chief executive, Zak Brown, questioned why Racing Point was able to continue competing with the brake ducts, and suggested that other aspects of the car should be examined.

“My initial reaction is Racing Point has been found guilty,” he said. “I am concerned that they still have what was deemed illegal in Austria on the race car now. I think that is confusing for the fans, how is something that is not legal in Austria still on the car?”

He went on to question the team’s concept. “They claimed that they had copied the car via photography. It’s clear from reading the document that that is BS. And therefore you have to question everything else around that car. I think this is potentially the tip of the iceberg, the starting point of what has happened here.”

Since then, the FIA has said that it will take steps to prevent a repeat of Racing Point’s ‘Pink Mercedes’ — which is an attempt to copy the entirety of a rival’s concept — even if they are only doing so from video footage and images.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, the team said: “McLaren Racing has decided not to appeal the decisions of the FIA Stewards in relation to Renault’s protests of Racing Point.

“The team welcomes the Stewards’ decisions and findings in this case and importantly that the FIA has demonstrated that transgressions of the rules will be investigated and punished.

“Moreover, McLaren Racing is pleased that the FIA will further clarify the sporting and technical regulations to protect Formula 1 as a sport where teams are clearly defined as constructors, and removes the potential that the Formula 1 World Championship includes cars that are, in effect, copies of other competitors’.”

Williams also confirmed that it would not be following through with the appeal, with a statement released by the team indicating it was satisfied with the steps the FIA was taking with new regulations to combat the issue of copying.

“We believe the FIA’s decision to seek the prohibition of extensive car copying for 2021 onwards addresses our most fundamental concern and reasserts the role and responsibility of a constructor within the sport, which is fundamental to Formula 1’s DNA and Williams core beliefs and principles.”