Formula 1 is at risk of becoming a “copying championship” devoid of real manufacturers if Racing Point’s model becomes the norm, according to McLaren racing director Andreas Seidl.
Racing Point has made no secret of the fact that its 2020 car is a copy of last year’s Mercedes and the move has paid dividends, with the team enjoying a strong start to the season.
Whilst Racing Point insists it has broken no regulations by copying a rival’s car – it did so from photos rather than confidential data – it is the subject of a protest by Renault.
McLaren’s Seidl admits he doesn’t know the ins and outs of the protest and although doesn’t believe Racing Point have cheated in any way, believes allowing such a model to exist risks changing how F1 operates in the future with smaller teams likely to copy rivals instead of trying to innovate themselves.
“We don’t know all the details that are behind [the protest], but to be honest how outspoken and proud Racing Point are about running a one-year old Mercedes, I would be surprised if anything has been done that is not in accordance, or possible with exploring the limits of the regulations,” Seidl said in Hungary.
“This protest is another key element on making some clarifications, on the FIA and Formula 1 side of what they want Formula 1 to be in the future.
“Do they want that Formula 1 is ending up in a copying championship?
“In a championship where you end up with two or three constructors’ or manufacturers’, and we simply have then more cars of one manufacturer or constructor on-track?
“Which we definitely think [it] is the wrong way to go for Formula 1, and is not a sustainable way.”
Seidl believes F1 should be about 10 different cars all competing to be the best and McLaren remains committed to that.
“What makes Formula 1 so special for us is Formula 1 has always been a competition between 10 constructors’, where the final car in the end is the result of the know-how, the power, the engineering power you have built up within your own team over years. In the end that’s the competition,” he added.
“I think our position is clear, what we want to see, and it’s important to get these clarifications now in order to also make up our mind on how we see our future as a team.
“But we clearly want to be our own independent team with our own identity, and yeah. So looking forward to the outcome of this.”