FIA to change 2021 F1 regulations to avoid copying conflict


F1 2021 regulations will undergo some adjustments after the Racing Point ruling

Racing Point, 2020 Silverstone

The RP20 that has kicked up quite a fuss in 2020

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Formula 1 teams will be banned from following the lead of Racing Point’s ‘Pink Mercedes’ under plans to prevent the copying of an entire car from next season.
Aside from the car’s rear brake ducts – which were found to have been copied illegally – Racing Point says that it replicated last year’s Mercedes by studying photos and footage.
Today, motor racing’s governing body, the FIA said that it would clamp down on the process after the confirmation that Renault‘s protests against Racing Point‘s 2020 car were upheld.

Following the confirmation this morning of the decision, FIA’s head of single-seaters Niklas Tombazis said the governing body will adjust the rules to prevent similar situations arising.

Racing Point was found to have breached the sporting regulations by using Mercedes‘ 2019 W10 rear brake duct designs but escaped any disqualification having not broken any technical rules.

“First of all copying has been taking place in Formula 1 for a long time, taking photos, and sometimes reverse-engineering them and make similar concepts or in some areas even identical concepts or close to identical as other teams,” he said.

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“We do not think this can stop in the future completely. But what we do think is Racing Point took this to another level. They clearly decided to adopt this philosophy for the whole car for what I would call a paradigm shift.

“They actually used a disruption in the process that has been the norm in designing a Formula 1 car for the last 40 years. One should not penalise that as they have been original in deciding to follow this approach.

“However we do not think this is what F1 should become. We don’t want next year to have 8 or 10 Mercedes, or copies of Mercedes, on the grid, where the main skill becomes how you do this process. We don’t want this to become the norm of Formula 1.

“We do plan, in the very short notice, to introduce some amendment to the 2021 sporting regulations that will prevent this becoming the norm. It will prevent from using extensive parts of photos to copy whole portions of other cars in the way racing point has done.

“We will still accept individual components to be copied, and local areas, but we don’t want the whole car to be a fundamental copy of another car.

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“We will be providing guidance about that, as well as the ruling, the wording itself, over the next weeks.

“We want to give a very strong message to teams that they should not be starting doing that for next year’s car because that will simply not be allowed. It will of course be accepted that teams, on the 2020 cars, they are not supposed to delete it or start afresh because that’s never how it works.”

Racing Point was fined €400,000 (£356,000) and docked 15 constructors’ championship points though team principal Otmar Szafnauer has said already the team is considering an appeal.

Similarly, rivals have said they will be considering their options, with Renault and McLaren team bosses Cyril Abiteboul and Zak Brown less than impressed in the team press conference on Friday.

Any appeal will have to be made ahead of final practice, within the 24 hour period from the original decision being published and any appeal lodged will have to be confirmed within 96 hours.

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