Motor racing: Racing Point docked F1 points after Renault complaint

SILVERSTONE (AFP) – The Racing Point Formula One team were docked 15 points on Friday (Aug 7) after a complaint by rivals Renault, who claimed parts of their 2020 car were copied from Mercedes’ title-winning 2019 machine, was upheld.

The sport’s ruling body the International Motoring Federation (FIA) said Racing Point had been reprimanded for continuing to use their “illegal” cars, dubbed the “pink Mercedes”, at the Hungarian and British Grands Prix.

The team were also fined €400,000 (S$648,000).

The FIA stewards’ verdict pointed out that while the matter – in particular a protest at the validity of the brake ducts of the Racing Point cars – was essentially technical, the team had been in breach of the sporting and not the technical regulations and thus escaped a disqualification.

The outcome resulted in Renault moving up to fifth place in the teams’ standing on 32 points and Racing Point dropping to sixth on 27 ahead of this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Racing Point, owned by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, has the right to appeal.

No penalties were imposed on the team’s regular drivers, the Mexican Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, the son of the team’s owner.

Perez is out of Sunday’s race after testing positive again for coronavirus, meaning he misses a second consecutive race.

He will replaced by German driver Nico Hulkenberg, as he was for last week’s British Grand Prix.

Renault’s case centred on the design of Racing Point’s brake ducts, which it alleged are copies of those Mercedes used on its world championship-winning 2019 car.

The points sanction and the fines were applied in response to Renault’s original protest following the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix where the Silverstone-based Racing Point team revealed impressive speed.

The stewards required more than three weeks to consider the complexities of the case. The key issue was the brake ducts used by Racing Point, which Renault claimed were designed by Mercedes.

In 2019, brake ducts were “listed parts” which teams could legally purchase from rivals, but this changed for 2020 when they were moved to become “non-listed parts” – forcing all teams to design their own brake ducts.

The team do not have to redesign their brake ducts for the upcoming races.

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