Racing Point: No concern over “pink Mercedes” F1 protests

Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer has no concerns about any possible protest from the team’s rivals over the legality of its RP20 car, which has been dubbed a “pink Mercedes”.

Racing Point: No concern over “pink Mercedes” F1 protests

Racing Point opted to follow the design lead of Mercedes’ 2019 title-winning W10 car with the design of its 2020 model, much to the frustration of its rivals who were left unhappy by the ‘cloning’ approaching.

The move appeared to pay off in testing as Racing Point ran as one of the fastest midfield teams, a feat it repeated on Friday in practice ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Sergio Perez ended the day third-fastest, only trailing the two Mercedes drivers, with teammate Lance Stroll seventh overall. 

Read Also:

Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul said in April he was “still wondering” about the Racing Point chassis amid speculation a formal protest could have been lodged at the planned season-opener in Melbourne prior to its cancellation. But Racing Point remains relaxed about any potential action that could be taken by rival teams in Austria over the car.

“No, not at all,” Szafnauer said when asked if he concerned about a possible post-race protest. “It shouldn’t be a surprise that the car is quick, we’re using the Mercedes windtunnel which is probably the best tool in the business, they’ve got great correlation, which means the efficiency of the tunnel is quite high.

“We took the opportunity this year because of our stronger financial situation to depart from a high-rake concept that we got inspiration from Red Bull on. We were always compromised when we’re buying the powertrain from Mercedes, including the gearbox. They design their powertrain and gearbox to run a different aerodynamic concept than what we were running, and therefore that high-rake concept that was so well developed by Red Bull would only work so much for us. 

“We took the opportunity this year to get rid of that compromise. It would only make sense to have a look at what Mercedes were doing if that’s the kind of concept we’re going to, and it worked out.”

McLaren will not lodge protest

McLaren has reiterated it would not support any action against Racing Point, saying there are no grounds upon which to do so.

“On our side, there is absolutely no intention to launch any protest because I think also there’s no grounds for that,” said McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl. “In the end, Mercedes and Racing Point have chosen to go down this route, which to be honest I think there is also room in the regulations to do what they did. 

“Do I like it? Of course I don’t like it. But at the same time it’s possible within the regulations to do something like that and have this co-operation in terms of sharing wind tunnel technology and so on. There’s no reason to complain.”

Read Also:

Asked by Motorsport.com if there was consideration from Renault to lodge a protest in Austria, Abiteboul linked back to the debate about customer cars in F1, a practice that has long been outlawed. 

“It’s an old debate, the debate about customer cars. Racing Point has been able to push that to an extreme this year,” said Abiteboul. “I think it will be interesting to see the lap time, because there has been lots of speculation based on winter testing. And as we all know that is very difficult to say anything from winter tests.

“This week is back to racing. We will finally have an idea of the respective competitiveness. If Racing Point complies with the regulations, then they have nothing to worry about obviously. But again, back to racing is the priority number one for this weekend.”

 

Clarification sought over collaborations

Seidl said that while McLaren was not considering a protest, he was eager for the FIA to clarify how far the envelope could be pushed for such collaborations. 

“It’s important for F1 to put out further clarifications towards to the future to make sure that there are certain limitations on what they can do,” said Seidl. “We also have a lot of respect for what Racing Point is doing. We’ve seen in the past that they are a great team, which is always quite successful with restricted resources.

“I prefer to focus on ourselves. We know exactly what we have to do on our side, the McLaren side, in order to make the next steps. And that’s where I use my energy, together with the team.”

shares
comments

Related video

Austrian Grand Prix qualifying – Start time, how to watch, channel & more
Previous article

Austrian Grand Prix qualifying – Start time, how to watch, channel & more

Next article

Austrian GP: Hamilton leads another Mercedes 1-2 in FP3

Austrian GP: Hamilton leads another Mercedes 1-2 in FP3
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022