How similar are the Racing Point and Mercedes brake ducts?

While a number of Formula 1 teams have been uneasy for months about the similarities between this year’s Racing Point and last season’s Mercedes, the matter has now escalated after Renault protested the team.

How similar are the Racing Point and Mercedes brake ducts?
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Rather than complain about the general cloning of the Mercedes, Renault has instead opted to focus on the specifics of the team’s front and rear brake ducts.

It is clear that rivals have closely observed the similarities between the RP20 and last year’s Mercedes W10, and Renault feels that there are enough similarities with the brake ducts to consider them a copy.

Here we take a look at the two designs.

Racing Point RP20, rear brake detail
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, rear duct

At the rear of the car, the overall design of the brake drum, inlet scoop, vertical end fence and associated winglets is uncanny.

Meanwhile, at the front of the car, there will generally be more changes made throughout the course of a season, with the amount of cooling altered to suit the characteristics of the circuit.

This also means that the teams often have to change the configuration of the drum to offset the cooling capacity with their aerodynamic demands. The W10 sported at least four distinctly different designs throughout the course of the season.

Racing Point RP19 front brake detail
Mercedes F1 AMG W10 , brake detail

You can see from this comparison image above that it had at least one design which is similar, if not the same, as the ones used on the W10.

Small geometrical differences between the Racing Point and Mercedes ducts on the outside may be sufficient to placate the FIA’s technical representative, however.

But should they be identical on the inside with channelling – something which can only be copied with inside knowledge – then that will only strengthen Renault’s case,

Marrying the internal flow structures will have a significant aerodynamic and thermodynamic impact, a gap that would be difficult to bridge for any of the smaller teams.

It will also be interesting to see if Mercedes has been requested to supply just one of its brake duct designs, or all of them that were raced throughout 2019, as there were discernible differences between them.

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Listed parts

Brake ducts on F1 cars are incredibly complex, and is especially important because under the 2020 Formula 1 regulations they fall under the category of ‘Listed Parts’.

This means that unlike suspension and brake assemblies that teams are allowed to purchase from one another, the design of the brake ducts must be their own and not sourced from another competitor or third party.

Any ‘Listed Parts’ designed by a competitor or third party means it also retains exclusive rights over the design, as long as it competes in Formula 1. That cannot then be used by another team.

Based on Renault’s protest, the FIA has sealed and impounded the relevant parts from Racing Point’s cars and has asked a representative of the Technical Department to conduct a thorough analysis and report back to the stewards.

The representative is also authorised to call upon outside technical assistance, including representatives of Racing Point, Renault and Mercedes.

The stewards have also ordered Mercedes to provide the front and rear brake ducts used on the W10 during 2019 in order that the FIA Technical Department may use them for their comparative analysis.

Racing Point RP20 brake and Mercedes W10 brake comparison
Racing Point RP20 brake and Mercedes W10 brake comparison
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Photo by: Motorsport.com

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 , brake detail
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 , brake detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 in the garage
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 in the garage
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front suspension and front brake
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front suspension and front brake
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front suspension
Mercedes AMG F1 W10, front suspension
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes AMG F1 W10 brakes detail
Mercedes AMG F1 W10 brakes detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes front wheel assembly technical detail
Mercedes front wheel assembly technical detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes front wheel assembly technical detail
Mercedes front wheel assembly technical detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes AMG F1 technical detail
Mercedes AMG F1 technical detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

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