Racing Point defends switch to 2020 Mercedes suspension

The Racing Point Formula 1 team is pushing ahead with plans to upgrade to a 2020 Mercedes gearbox and associated suspension parts next season, despite opposition from rivals.

Racing Point defends switch to 2020 Mercedes suspension
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Before the start of this season and when it was agreed to race the current cars in 2021, a token system was introduced to allow teams to make selected upgrades on weak areas of their packages.

However, the rules specified that teams currently using 2019 components sourced from their respective partners will be allowed to switch to the 2020 equivalents without using their two tokens.

That will allow Racing Point to upgrade to the complete rear end of the Mercedes W11 next year, and AlphaTauri to do the same with the Red Bull RB16.

Ferrari partners Alfa Romeo and Haas already use 2020 gearboxes and other parts supplied by Maranello, and thus won’t be able to benefit from the rule.

Once the season started and the potential of the Racing Point RP20 became clear, rivals realised that the Silverstone-based team will potentially make a further step once the W11 elements are added to the car in 2021, and still use two tokens for other areas of the car.

“I think we are not fully happy that there are teams that eventually can upgrade their entire package from a 2019 to a 2020 package,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said when asked by Mororsport.com in July.

“That I believe would be unfair, because the season with two tokens is similar for everybody. We’ve got only two tokens, and everybody should be limited to that.”

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The subject was raised with the FIA, but no changes have resulted. Racing Point technical director Andy Green believes that the opposition has now fizzled out.

“I think so, it's happening,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “The rules allow us to do it. We're going ahead and doing it, we've cleared it with the FIA, and they have no problem with us doing it.

“The rules as written allow the teams to bring their cars up to the 2020 specification, which I think is only fair.

“Just because we elected to run 2019 suspension before COVID started shouldn't be held against us. We should be allowed to bring our car up to the same specifications everyone else has got.

“To be clear, it's an upgrade to a 2020 suspension, it's not an upgrade to 2021. What we're running now is 2019. So what they want to do is penalise us and keep us running two-year old parts, rather than bringing it up to date.

“It's not like we're getting an advantage and bringing ‘21 parts of the car. It's only bringing it up to the same as they've got now.”

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