There was drama late on Sunday in Austria, as Renault lodged a formal protest with the Styrian Grand Prix officials concerning the legality of the Racing Point, which during testing was dubbed ‘the pink Mercedes’, so similar was it to last year’s all-conquering Silver Arrows car.
Several teams were understood to be unhappy with the RP20, given the similarities to the Mercedes W10, but Racing Point have consistently defending themselves, with Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer saying they had been looking at pursuing a Mercedes aero philosophy for a long time – but they didn’t have the funds available.
But after Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll finished sixth and seventh respectively in Styrian Grand Prix, ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in eighth, the French team decided to file a formal protest to get clarity regarding the legality of the Racing Point 2020 challenger.
We confirm that Renault DP World F1 Team has submitted a request to the Stewards of the Event for clarification on the legality of the Racing Point RP20. We have no further comment on this matter until the Stewards have arrived at a decision.
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) July 12, 2020
Their protest concerned four articles in the Sporting Regulation, most critically Appendix 6, which concerns listed parts.
Paragraph 1, article 2 (a) says: “A competitor shall, in respect of the Listed Parts to be used in its cars in Formula One, only use Listed Parts which are designed by it.” Article 2 (c) adds: “In the case of the Outsourcing of design, such third party shall not be a competitor or a party that directly or indirectly designs Listed Parts for any competitor.”
This translates to Renault suggesting Racing Point are using a design which features elements that have not been designed themselves, as per the regulations.
Renault said in a statement: “We confirm that Renault DP World F1 Team has submitted a request to the Stewards of the Event for clarification on the legality of the Racing Point RP20. We have no further comment on this matter until the Stewards have arrived at a decision.”
The race stewards will now investigate the matter before making a decision.