Racing Point principal defiant as teams line up appeal

Racing Point have vowed to clear their name in the “cheat” scandal which looms over Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

On Saturday, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams all lodged their intention to appeal Racing Point’s FIA punishment for copying parts of the Mercedes that Lewis Hamilton drove to a sixth world championship last year.

The rival teams are keen to understand if there could be other bits on the car which are identical to last year’s Mercedes.

  • Renault

  • Ferrari

  • Williams

  • McLaren

Racing Point are much improved this season, with stand-in driver Nico Hulkenberg qualifying third for Sunday’s race at Silverstone, behind pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton in the sister Mercedes.

“We need to appeal the FIA’s decision because we stayed within the regulations,” said Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer. “We need to clear our name.

“We shouldn’t be losing 15 points. We shouldn’t be charged 400,000 Euros (£361,000). We did absolutely nothing wrong.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes team were dragged into the scandal on Friday after it was revealed they had supplied a complete set of last year’s brake ducts to Racing Point on January 6.

It was also established during the FIA’s investigation that the sport’s all-conquering team provided Racing Point with computer-aided design models for the parts which assisted them in building this year’s car, dubbed the “Pink Mercedes”.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff

Team principal Toto Wolff defended his team’s position on Friday but he was pulled from a media appearance on Saturday night, with Mercedes citing a “scheduling clash”.

F1’s governing body ruled that the transfer of brake ducts from Mercedes to Racing Point did not constitute a “significant breach of the sporting regulations”, and the transferring of data was within the rules.

However, Racing Point were found guilty of copying Mercedes’ parts. They will be allowed to continue to use them this season.

The deadline of notice to launch an appeal passed on Saturday morning. Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams will now have until Wednesday to decide if they want to press ahead with their action, which would involve lawyers at the FIA’s Court of Appeal.

“We designed the brake ducts ourselves and we manufactured it ourselves,” added Szafnauer.

“We shouldn’t forget that we did not get a part from Mercedes. We didn’t shortcut the process, we didn’t gain any manufacturing time, we didn’t gain any money by buying parts.

“F1 is about exploiting the regulations to their limit and you have to look at what is written and what is not written. Just because we did a good job and we have a competitive car it doesn’t mean we did something wrong.

“When we go to the Court of Appeal the crux of the problem will be that people look at our car and say you copied aspects of the Mercedes, and you copied more than we would have copied.

“Unfortunately, Formula One is completely based on copying. It is not a problem for us. The more they dig, the more you will see we did absolutely zero wrong. So, I welcome that.”