Racing Point withdraw appeal against punishment in F1’s ‘copying’ row

Formula 1
Racing Point at Monza

Racing Point have withdrawn their appeal against their punishment in Formula 1’s “copying” row.

The team were docked 15 points and fined 400,000 euros (£356,000) for illegally copying Mercedes’ 2019 brake ducts for use on their car this season.

Team owner Lawrence Stroll had said the accusations were “completely unacceptable and not true”.

But a statement said they were withdrawing the appeal now “ambiguity around regulations has been settled”.

It added: “The stewards and all parties involved in the appeals process recognise that there was a lack of clarity in the regulations and that we did not deliberately break them.”

The issue arose over a complication in the rules following the change of status of brake ducts between 2019 and 2020.

For this year, brake ducts were added to the category of “listed parts” that teams have to design themselves. These are fundamental performance-defining parts of the car such as the monocoque and aerodynamic surfaces.

But it was not illegal last year for teams to share the details of these parts.

So, while it was legal for Mercedes to supply the design of their brake ducts to Racing Point last year, stewards decided it was illegal for Racing Point to copy them for use on their 2020 car.

The issue has raised philosophical questions about the nature of F1 and what defines a constructor – and several teams appealed against the verdict seeking clarity on this topic.

Rivals were especially concerned that Racing Point had admitted they had deliberately copied all of Mercedes’ 2019 car as much as they could for this season, which they felt was against the intent of the rules.

Renault, McLaren and Williams withdrew their appeals after securing reassurances from governing body the FIA that the rules would be changed for 2021 to ensure that level of copying would be illegal.

Ferrari, though, are continuing with their appeal, but have said they will withdraw it if the appropriate rules are formalised.

Team principal Mattia Binotto said: “We are fully convinced that what Racing Point did this season is not right. We believe that’s against the principles of our sport and we believe that cannot happen in the future.

“In that respect we are asking for and seeking clarity with the FIA. If, let me say, regulations will be put in place, a technical directive for the future in 2021 where we are pretty sure it will not be possible to copy, eventually we are ready to withdraw our appeal.”

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