Renault boss wants ‘clear resolution’ from Racing Point appeal
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 25th August, 2020 - 7:57am
Renault Formula 1 Team boss Cyril Abiteboul has explained that his team’s decision to protest Racing Point’s penalty is about obtaining a “clear resolution” for the sport.
Renault protested the brake ducts used on both Racing Point cars following the Styrian Grand Prix.
It followed that protest with similar submissions at subsequent events prior to the FIA announcing its conclusion.
That saw Racing Point handed a EUR 400,000 fine and docked 7.5 points per car for the Styrian Grand Prix, a net loss of 15 points, as a result of the rear brake ducts on the RP20.
The ruling allowed the squad to continue using the components at the centre of the dispute with nothing more than a reprimand at any future events it elected to do so.
While Renault’s protest centred on Racing Point’s brake ducts, there has been a wider question asked of the philosophy used by the Silverstone-based team.
Its 2020 car is strikingly similar to the 2019 Mercedes, a result of detailed analysis and reverse engineering through photographs it says.
Others in the paddock have questioned that claim, and the ethics of whether the wholesale copying of a car fits within the spirit of the regulations.
Renault confirmed following the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix that it would appeal the FIA’s ruling.
Ferrari too confirmed it would lodge an appeal, while Racing Point made a similar announcement though for the opposite reasons.
While the process is messy and disruptive, Abiteboul reasons it’s necessary for the sport in order to gain the clarity and answers needed going forward.
“What we are seeking since the start of that process; it’s not a legal outcome, it’s not a degradation of the relationship between teams or team principals in the paddock, it’s really some answers to a situation, to a precedent that has been set, a disruption that has been brought into the sport,” he explained.
“That’s what we’re after. We don’t think we have a clear resolution to that as of yet.
“We’ve been at the start of that process. We want to make sure we lead that process until there is a crystal clear outcome that cannot be turned around once things are settled.
“I’m not talking about a legal settlement; I’m talking about settlement in general.
“We want, in particular, satisfaction that the rules will be changed.”
Copying rivals is not prohibited under the regulations, provided the team owns the intellectual property behind the design.
It’s a practice that has been common place throughout the history of motorsport, but rarely on the scale of the Racing Point RP20.
The FIA has said to teams that, going forward, it would look to regulate the practice out of F1.
“We have indication that it will be the case, but until it is the case, in that environment we know that you can’t back off,” Abiteboul explained.
“So that is what we are after.
“We are expecting that F1 confirms again that it is a sport for constructors.
“Not just OEM (original equipment manufacturers), but constructors that design the whole car, that create the whole aerodynamic concept, and that each car is its own aerodynamic concept. That’s what we are after.
“We appreciate that the rules are not clear, and that’s what we are seeking from the process.”
No date has yet been set for the International Court of Appeals to hear the case.
F1 this weekend heads to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium for Round 7 of the 2020 season.