The FIA’s head of single seaters Nikolas Tombazis reckons Renault will likely protest the Racing Point cars after every grand prix until the matter has concluded.
The French manufacturer raised a protest over the brake ducts of the RP20, claiming they are a direct copy of last years Mercedes’ brake ducts, a design process they believe must have included the transfer of technical data between the two teams which is illegal.
Racing Point claims it reverse engineered Mercedes’ W10 through detailed photographs of the car, which would be entirely legal under the regulations.
It’s now up to Racing Point to prove their side of the story and for the FIA to agree, but it’s likely the matter will rumble on until after the Spanish Grand Prix if appeals are submitted.
Tombazis therefore expects Renault will raise another protest this weekend followed by the two Silverstone races and then Spain, as the current protest only applies to the Styrian GP.
“Currently they’ve protested the Styrian GP,” Tombazis is quoted as saying by Autosport.
“They have the right to protest other Grands Prix until this matters adjudicated, and Racing Point have the right to run with these components or other components. Depending on whether they feel confident about winning the case or not, and if ultimately, Renault decides to protest every single race, they have the right to do that. And Racing Point would have that risk to take.
“I think it is likely that we will see therefore, for formality reasons, protests potentially. It’s Renault’s decision, it is certainly not our decision or our desire or anybody’s. But I think it is likely we’re going to see protests perhaps until this matters adjudicated.”
Tombazis expects an initial decision on the Styrian protest before the British GP, but it’s highly likely it will be appealed, prolonging the process.
“The stewards gave Racing Point three weeks to submit their document. I expect they would have a submission to make in the coming week,” he explained.
“So I expect the stewards would convene sometime probably the week before Silverstone. But again, that depends on when Racing Point complete their submission, and we – the FIA technical department – complete our submission. But it’s likely a possible adjudication date is the week before the first Silverstone.
“Theoretically, the team that is less happy with the stewards’ decision can then decide to appeal, and it goes to the International Court of Appeal and then of course, it’s another set of preparations and lawyers and submissions involved. So that could probably take us to the week after Spanish Grand Prix.”