until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Renault: Racing Point should lose all points since F1 opener

by Edd Straw
5 min read

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul says he wants Racing Point lose all of the points it has scored in races where his team protested its illegally-designed brake ducts.

Renault is pressing on with its appeal against the FIA stewards’ verdict issued at last weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, which resulted in Racing Point being docked 15 points and fined E400,000 but being allowed to continue to run the illegally-designed rear brake ducts for the rest of the season with only repeated reprimands.

Abiteboul drew comparisons with his team losing a double points finish after being excluded from last year’s Japanese Grand Prix for using an automatic brake-bias adjustment system, which broke the rules demanding that the car be driven alone and unaided following a protest from Racing Point.

He argued this set a precedent for exclusion given Renault was deemed to have violated the sporting regulations, just as Racing Point did in designing its rear brake ducts – having used CAD model data from Mercedes against the listed parts rules for 2020.

As Renault did not make its first protest until the second race of the season at the Red Bull Ring, this would cover all the races staged so far except the Austrian Grand Prix.

“We are expecting a sanction consistent with other sanctions that we’ve seen in the past, the most recent one being the one that we accepted last year after Suzuka when we were found in breach of the sporting regulations and not the technical regulations and excluded from that event, therefore losing all our points,” said Abiteboul when asked by The Race what would be an acceptable sporting sanction.

“There was no discount for Renault, so I don’t know why there should be a discount for Racing Point. It should be all the points of the events that we’ve protested.

“We are also going to be in a bit of a strange situation where after every single event Otmar [Szafnauer, Racing Point team principal] will be called to the stewards, his brake ducts will be found similar to what they were and unchanged and he will again receive a reprimand. So we are facing the prospect of almost 10 races where his cars will be reprimanded.

“We would like to have also a bit more clarity about that, not necessarily that [Racing Point] should be excluded from the season.

“From a communications standpoint to the fans, to the public, explaining why a car is still somewhat in breach because it will receive a reprimand but it’s OK to be part of the the championship and therefore be eligible for points, we think is a bit awkward. So we’d like also some closure about that if possible.”

Renault Racing Point F1 2020

Racing Point scored 33 of the 41 points it has banked so far this season on the four weekends where Renault protested, with that total set to grow at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. Renault also protested after the 70th Anniversary Grand prix last Sunday, but withdrew its protest once the FIA had issued a reprimand.

Renault would also gain a total of 24 points should Racing Point be excluded from the Styrian, Hungarian, British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix, with a trio of eighths places being converted into sixth places.

The FIA stewards had ruled that the 7.5-point penalty it awarded for each car at the Styrian Grand Prix and the fine were enough to cover the rear brake duct design breach for the whole season. They cited mitigating factors such as the vagueness of the rules governing the design-process implications for brake ducts switching from non-listed to listed parts between 2019 and this year.

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer stressed that his appeal against the outcome would seek for the punishment to be rolled back.

“We’ve appealed the decision based on what the stewards had written in their findings,” said Szafnauer.

“The findings are pretty clear that we didn’t do anything underhanded or dishonest, we were completely transparent and open with FIA throughout their process of checking both our brake ducts and the remainder of our car.

“They concluded that the rules, especially for brake ducts transitioning from a non-listed part to listed, were ambiguous and unclear.

“And because of it, we believe our punishment for an unclear and ambiguous rule that we didn’t intentionally contravene is a bit harsh. We’re very confident that we’ll win.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Spanish Grand Prix Practice Day Barcelona, Spain

With McLaren and Williams having decided against a formal appeal after having initially notified the FIA of their intent to do so, Ferrari is the only other team still involved in the process.

Team principal Mattia Binotto explained that Ferrari’s involvement is to open it up to a wider discussion about so-called ‘copycat cars’ and potentially underline the importance of intellectual property for F1 teams.

The FIA has already resolved to tackle this, with head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis stating this as an aim at Silverstone and the teams receiving further information on how this might be achieved on Tuesday.

“The reason why we have confirmed our appeal is because we need to seek clarification and transparency,” said Binotto in response to a question from The Race.

“The brake duct is a point, but eventually the output and the decision of the International Court of Appeal will open to a more wider and broader discussion on the copycat car concepts, which is important as well for the future of Formula 1.

“Because at the end, it’s about discussing intellectual property and I think that intellectual property is a very important asset of a company. If someone would somehow copy almost an identical car of the previous year of a competitor, the set of regulations should somehow protect the competitor itself.

“That’s why I think at the moment, it’s important simply to move forward and understand. Clarity, transparency, for the fairness of the competition, and for the Formula 1 for the future is important.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks