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Gary Anderson: Why I think Racing Point got off too lightly

by Gary Anderson
4 min read

First of all, I have to say that I have nothing against anyone or anything at Racing Point.

But I do believe that what it has done this year is against the spirit of the core philosophy of what makes Formula 1 what it is today.

It’s like any sport. Some people like and enjoy it, some hate it and just don’t understand it. But I first got involved when I was 20 and now, at 69, I’m still hanging in there in one way or another. As with many people, it has been my life and I wouldn’t change a day of it.

I have seen many controversial situations over the years, and to be brutally honest they were all derived from politics, self-interest and lack of sportsmanship – but mainly egos. This Racing Point situation is no different.

There is a set of regulations and without doubt Racing Point has crossed the line into a very grey area.

This fuss is all about the brake ducts, but in general the car is far too close a copy of the 2019 Mercedes.

The FIA doesn’t think it is practical for Racing Point to design and manufacture a new brake duct. That’s rubbish

And that opens a whole can of worms because, 3D cameras or not, to replicate a car based only on photographs and make it work is incredibly difficult.

I know technical director Andrew Green and the principles he stands for very well and there is no way he would go off as a lone soldier and copy the 2019 Mercedes in this way without it coming from the very top at Racing Point.

I believe the management wanted to shortcut the system and produce a competitive package without putting in the groundwork that other teams were and are doing. As Formula 1 stands, this is wrong.

I’m not saying Formula 1 shouldn’t change to allow some of this to happen, but as the regulations stand this is wrong. And I’m not just talking about the brake ducts, I’m talking about using the complete Mercedes concept because the aerodynamic surfaces are supposed to be your own design and the Racing Point is a copy.

When I heard Toto Wolff being interviewed about the case on Sky Sports F1, he was trying to find a place to hide. He wasn’t comfortable with the situation in any way and I’m pretty sure if it had been AlphaTauri that had done the same with Red Bull or even Haas or Alfa Romeo with Ferrari his answers would have taken a 180-degree turn.

Toto Wolff

In my opinion he knows what has happened is completely against the spirt of what F1 is all about, but still he ducked and dived to justify it.

Remember, the FIA stewards did state that Mercedes had supplied Racing Point with actual brake ducts on or around January 6. Appendix 6 of the sporting regulations state that no competitor is allowed “to pass on or receive any information on listed parts (including but not limited to data, designs or drawings) direct to or from another competitor”.

It was declared this “did not constitute a significant breach” because the parts were not used. But the rules do state this was against the sporting regulations for both teams, so I think more consideration needs to be given to Mercedes’ role in all of this.

The penalty for Racing Point must be more draconian. The FIA has stated that it doesn’t think it is practical for Racing Point to design and manufacture a new brake duct.

That’s rubbish, and I can assure you that if it came up with a better and more efficient design tomorrow it would be on the car in a couple of weeks’ time.

So yes, Racing Point needed a fine for breaching the rules and perhaps it needed an escalating points deduction until it could get something on the car that is sufficiently different from the Mercedes brake duct concept.

If it lost 10 points for the first Austria race and then 15 for Styria and so on, I’m pretty sure it would have been heading into the Hungary race with something significantly visually different. I know I would have been.

Lance Stroll Racing Point Austrian Grand Prix 2020

Reacting to a set of circumstances in F1 is everything. If you get caught with your trousers down, you need to pull them up pretty quickly, otherwise you can be embarrassed beyond repair.

On two occasions during my design career, and once while I was doing a bit of consultancy work for a team, I was confronted with the magical computer disc that contained a car design that would be two seconds faster than anything we could ever design.

I’m very happy to say I refused to even look through that data on any of those discs and immediately voiced my opinion on what I felt about using other teams’ design data.

Yes, take pictures and derive what you can out of them, employ people from another team and use their experience but actual design data? No, that had no place in my design team.

We all have to live with our principles and I’m happy that I chose that route. Perhaps if I had been more underhand and those designs did actually work then I would be a much richer person. But that would only be in financial terms, not within myself.

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