Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer has vowed that the Formula 1 team will clear its reputation amid the copying scandal, and has pointed the finger at some of its rivals.
Racing Point has been docked 15 points, fined, and reprimanded, after stewards determined that it had breached the Sporting Regulations regarding the design process of its rear brake ducts.
The team has already lodged an intention to appeal while four of its rivals – Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams – has also done so, believing the penalty is insufficient.
They have until Wednesday to determine whether to follow through with a formal appeal.
Szafnauer was keen to clarify his belief that Racing Point had not been in breach of the Sporting Regulations.
“The point there is, if you read the rules, the new Sporting Regulations don’t apply until 24 hours before the first practice session of the championship,” he said.
“So the reason we got those parts in was we were unsure if the parts that we designed and manufactured for this year were going to be manufactured in time for winter testing for February.
“So we received those parts as spares or parts to run in winter testing. As it turned out, we didn’t need them at all and our parts made it.
“We ran a big part of the rear brake duct that is on this year’s car from Singapore last year. However, you can’t do the whole thing because it is a different upright.
“But we ran a significant part of it last year. But just so you understand, there is no rule, sporting or technical, that says you have to run them in the year before.”
What about AlphaTauri and Haas?
AlphaTauri and Haas have close relationships with Red Bull and Ferrari respectively, and Szafnauer pointed to those two teams in his defence of Racing Point.
“We have 886 unique drawings for these brake ducts and if you look at the regulations, the regulations say they have to be your design,” he said.
“We designed the whole thing ourselves. The stewards are saying, yes but the start of your design is saying you looked at a Mercedes brake duct and started with it, but you have to remember that in 2019 they were not listed parts.
“So you have got to ask yourself, if we started with a Mercedes design and then designed it ourselves, where did Haas start with their brake ducts and where did AlphaTauri start with their brake ducts?
“As a matter of fact, there are other teams here, including Haas, who have probably never run a brake duct of their own design, it is probably come from Ferrari.
“And the AlphaTauri/Toro Rosso ones have always come from Red Bull.
“The thing is, once you learn something on an unlisted part in 2019 or, in our case, in 2018 when we got the information it was legal, and you can’t unlearn that. You can’t unlearn that.”
Defending Racing Point’s approach.
“We need to appeal it because we stayed within the regulations, both Sporting and Technical and we need to clear our name,” stressed Szafnauer.
“We should not be losing 15 points and we should not be charged €400,000 we have done absolutely nothing wrong.
“It is unprecedented that last year, this part could be supplied by any team for you and this year you have to design it yourself.
“We did design it ourselves and we manufactured it completely ourselves. We should not forget we did not get a part from Mercedes at all.
“We did not shortcut the process, we did not gain any manufacturing time, we did not gain any money buy buying parts.
“Formula 1 is all about exploiting the regulations to the limit. Just because we did a good job and have a competitive car, it does not mean we have done anything wrong.
“The real conundrum is that people are looking at our car and saying ‘you copied the Mercedes’ or ‘you have copied more than we would have copied’.
“Well unfortunately copying is what Formula 1 is completely based on.”