Stewards demand Racing Point & Mercedes brake parts over illegal copying allegations


An investigation will compare brake ducts from this year's Racing Point and the 2019 Mercedes F1 cars after a protest that they had been copied in breach of regulations

Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll during the 2020 F1 Styrian Grand Prix

Racing Point ran strongly in Austria, but Renault has protested the legality of the 'Pink Mercedes'

Leonhard Foeger/AFP via Getty Images

Stewards have impounded parts from the Racing Point cars used in the Styrian Grand Prix after a protest that they had been illegally copied from Mercedes.

The front and rear brake ducts have been sealed and seized, and Mercedes has been ordered to provide its brake ducts from last year’s car, following the allegation by Renault.

They will form the basics of an investigation into whether Racing Point has replicated the 2019 design from Mercedes, which supplies the team with its engine, gearbox and some suspension parts.

Brake duct comparison

Spot the difference. Investigation revolves around Mercedes 2019 and Racing Point 2020 brake ducts

Getty Images

This year, brake ducts fall into the category of listed parts, which must be designed exclusively for each team, without input from competitors.

A statement from the stewards said that the protest had been judged admissible, after hearing from Renault, Racing Point and a representative from the technical department of the FIA, motor racing’s governing body.

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It followed a strong performance by both Racing Point cars in Sunday’s race, climbing from the second-half of the grid to finish sixth and seventh — with Sergio Perez challenging for fourth.

“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 stewards’ statement read.

“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.

“Furthermore, the stewards ordered the Mercedes F1 team to provide the front and rear brake air ducts of the Mercedes-AMG W10 used by the team in the 2019 season to the FIA technical department for examination.”

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Since Racing Point’s RP20 was unveiled in February, ahead of pre-season testing it has been dubbed the ‘Pink Mercedes’ for its similarities to last-season’s championship-winning car.

But the team has been adamant that it has simply made (and legally) imitated the Mercedes concept based on video footage and images, without access to any confidential designs.

In February, Andy Green, the team’s technical director, said that it was logical to follow that direction because the parts supplied by Mercedes were designed for such a car.

“It’s difficult to try and shoehorn and develop around a different philosophy from the underlying architecture that you have,” he said.

No date has yet been given for the assessment and reports into the brake ducts.