Red Bull protested the legality of Racing Point’s car while the latter said they were confident of doing nothing illegal.
- AFP Spielberg
- Last Updated: July 14, 2020, 12:23 AM IST
Red Bull chief Christian Horner said “everyone” should be concerned about the pace of Racing Point this season after Renault protested the legality of their car on Sunday.
Renault lodged a formal protest in the aftermath of Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Styrian Grand Prix, a race that saw Sergio Perez storm from 17th on the grid to sixth in his Racing Point.
The Renault protest claims that Racing Point has breached Formula One’s rules by building a car that is not original in design of specific ‘Listed Parts’.
The race stewards deemed the protest to be admissible and the sport’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), impounded Racing Point’s front and rear brake ducts and requested Mercedes provide them with the same parts from its 2019 car.
Red Bull team boss Horner said: “I think everybody should be worried by the Racing Point. Perez was quicker than (Valtteri) Bottas’ Mercedes at one point of the race.
“And, bearing in mind that Bottas tyres were within one lap of age to the racing Point, Perez was three or four-tenths quicker. So, that was very impressive pace that they showed.”
Perez team-mate Lance Stroll came home seventh and said he felt his team had the ‘second quickest car’ in the race.
“We had debatably the second quickest car, maybe third, but we were definitely quicker than Renault, McLaren and a lot of other competitors.”
Racing Point are powered by Mercedes engines and their base at Silverstone is close to the Mercedes team. They finished seventh in last year’s constructors’ championship, but are in a period of evolution after new owner Lawrence Stroll took over in 2018.
Similarities between the Racing Point and last year’s Mercedes grabbed attention during pre-season testing and the team has not shied from conceding they took inspiration from it.
The said they studied the car in detail from photographs, but did nothing that was illegal.
RACING POINT ‘CONFIDENT’
Racing Point on Monday said they were “confident” a “misconceived” protest by Renault regarding the legality of their Formula One car would not see the FIA find any wrongdoing.
Renault lodged a protest against Racing Point, whose car has been dubbed the ‘pink Mercedes’ due to alleged similarities with the world champions’ cars from last season, after Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix.
The protest regards concerns over regulations on ‘listed parts’.
“Racing Point F1 team is extremely disappointed to see its results in the Styrian Grand Prix questioned by what it considers to be a misconceived and poorly informed protest,” the team said in a statement sent to AFP.
“Any and all suggestion of wrongdoing is firmly rejected and the team will take all steps necessary to ensure the correct application of the regulations to the facts.
“Prior to the start of the season, the team cooperated with the FIA and satisfactorily addressed all questions regarding the origins of the designs of the RP20.
“The team is confident that the protest will be dismissed once it has presented its response.”
In the race on Sunday, Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll finished sixth and seventh respectively in the Racing Point cars.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was eighth while teammate Esteban Ocon retired.
Under F1 regulations, teams must use parts they have designed and they are barred from out-sourcing design to a competitor.
Parts have been seized and will now be examined and compared to those used by Mercedes last year.
Racing Point are using Mercedes-designed engines as well as gear boxes this season.
When contacted by AFP, Mercedes did not comment on the matter, while Renault said on Sunday they did not want to say anything until the decision of the race commissioners.
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