Racing Point: Owner Lawrence Stroll ‘extremely angry’ at suggestions of cheating

Formula 1
Nico Hulkenberg in the Racing Point

Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll says he is “extremely angry” at suggestions his team have cheated in Formula 1’s ‘copying’ controversy.

Racing Point have been docked 15 points and fined £361,000 for illegally copying Mercedes’ 2019 rear brake ducts for use on their car this season.

Stroll said accusations from Racing Point’s competitors were “completely unacceptable and not true”.

And he said he was “shocked and disappointed” by the FIA ruling.

Four of Racing Point’s rivals have lodged an intention to appeal against the verdict, seeking further clarity on the ramifications that arise form it, while Racing Point have done the same seeking to overturn the sanction.

In a rare public statement, Canadian billionaire Stroll said: “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.”

The punishment arises from a change in the regulations on the status of brake ducts from the 2019 to 2020 season, for which they have been added to the category of so-called “listed parts” that teams have to design themselves.

The FIA stewards likened Racing Point’s design process to “using tracing paper to copy a shape/drawing” after Mercedes legally supplied drawings of their 2019 brake ducts to Racing Point last year.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer said the stewards were “wrong in that assessment”.

One point of contention for rival teams is Mercedes’ decision to supply brake ducts to Racing Point in January this year, after the rule on their status had changed.

Stewards said this “did not constitute a breach of the regulations worthy of censure as the parts in question were not used and did not expand the information that had previously passed from Mercedes to Racing Point quite legitimately”.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said the team felt “100% comfortable with our position” and had “zero worry” about the case.

Stroll said: “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.

“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.”

He added: “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.”

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