Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll has issued a strongly-worded statement defending his Formula 1 team and has accused his rivals of displaying unsporting behaviour.
Racing Point was docked 15 points, fined and reprimanded after stewards deemed that they had broken Sporting Regulations regarding the rear brake ducts on its RP20.
The car was found to be fully compliant within the Technical Regulations.
The team has lodged an intention to appeal the decision while four rivals – McLaren, Renault, Ferrari and Williams – have also notified their desire to appeal, ostensibly to clarify the situation and push for a harsher punishment.
Stroll has shied away from media covering since his acquisition of the Force India outfit two years ago but on Sunday spoke publicly for the first time on the matter.
“I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated – particularly those comments coming from our competitors,” he said.
“I have never cheated at anything in my life. These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity – and that of my team – are beyond question.
“Everyone at Racing Point was shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling and firmly maintain our innocence.
“This team, under various names, has competed in Formula 1 for over 30 years and today employs 500 people. We’ve always been a constructor and will continue to be so in the future.
“Throughout those 30 years, this team has been an underdog, punching well above its weight with a fantastic group of people. Between 2016 and 2018, this was the fourth best team on the grid, operating on the smallest budget, and scoring regular podiums.
“Emerging from administration, with stability and fresh investment, this team’s competitive form should not be a surprise to anybody. The team can finally realise its potential and should be celebrated for its strong performance.”
Stroll went on to outline various comments made by the stewards and then issued a stinging riposte to Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, and the rivals who have criticised Racing Point.
“There was an absence of specific guidance or clarification from the FIA in respect to how that transition to Listed Parts might be managed within the spirit and intent of the regulations,” said Stroll, referring to the contentious brake ducts, which became Listed Parts for 2020.
“The rules, as they are written, state that after 2019, no further information on brake duct design can be shared or acquired. At that point, what you know and have learned, is your own information. From that point onwards, you are on your own. Which is exactly what we have done.
“So, to clarify, there was no guidance in place by the FIA surrounding the transition of non-listed to listed items and Racing Point received in March 2020 written confirmation from the FIA with regards to our compliance on the matter.
“This week I was also shocked to see the FIA introduced a new grandfather clause, which had never previously existed.
“Beyond the clear fact that Racing Point complied with the technical regulations, I am appalled by the way Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams have taken this opportunity to appeal, and in doing so attempted to detract from our performances. They are dragging our name through the mud and I will not stand by nor accept this.
“I intend to take all necessary actions to prove our innocence.
“My team has worked tirelessly to deliver the competitive car we have on the grid. I am truly upset to see the poor sportsmanship of our competitors.
“I understand that the situation in which the FIA finds itself is difficult and complicated for many reasons, but I also respect and appreciate their efforts to try and find a solution in the best interests of the sport.”