Renault withdraw Racing Point appeal over ‘copying’

Formula 1
Nico Hulkenberg in the Racing Point car

Renault have decided to withdraw their appeal against the verdict in Formula 1’s “copying” controversy.

Racing Point were docked 15 points and fined 400,000 euros (£360,000) for illegally copying Mercedes brake ducts.

Renault appealed because they felt the verdict did not make it clear the rules required originality in car design.

But on Tuesday, the team said work between the teams and governing body the FIA had “led to concrete progress in safeguarding originality”.

Ferrari, who have also appealed against the verdict, have given no indication that they intend to follow Renault.

Renault were concerned that the stewards’ verdict against Racing Point did not explicitly clarify that producing a “copycat car” was forbidden in the rules.

Racing Point’s 2020 car has been dubbed the “pink Mercedes” and “Tracing Point” for its likeness to last year’s world championship-winning car, and the team have admitted that they sought to copy the 2019 Mercedes as closely as possible.

Rivals felt this was contrary to the intention of a rule that dictates teams must “design themselves” specific parts of the car which differentiate performance.

Following the verdict, the FIA said it would seek to change the rules to ensure what Racing Point did for this season could not happen again.

But Renault and Ferrari pressed on with their appeals because they wanted to be sure that this would be followed through.

There have been extensive talks in the past two weeks between the teams, the FIA and F1, which have led to progress on the topic of enshrining into the rules the concept that copycat cars are not allowed.

But BBC Sport understands Ferrari do not yet feel there are sufficient guarantees for them to back down.

Renault’s decision comes in the context of all 10 teams last week signing up to new contracts to stay in F1 for the five-year period of 2021-25. These deals are known as the Concorde Agreement.

Renault said: “Beyond the decisions, the matters at issue were vital to the integrity of Formula 1, both during the current season and in the future.”

The team added that “intensive and constructive work between the FIA, Renault and all F1 stakeholders has led to concrete progress in safeguarding the originality in the sport by way of amendments to the sporting and technical regulations planned for the 2021 racing season, confirming the requirements to qualify as a constructor”.

“Reaching this strategic objective, in the context of the new Concorde Agreement, was our priority,” Renault continued.

“The controversy of the start of this season should be put behind us, as we need to focus on the remainder of an intense and unique championship.”

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