Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll says he is “extremely angry” at claims that the team have used “underhand” tactics or “have cheated” following their punishment for copying parts of last year’s Mercedes, and confirmed that he “intends to take all necessary actions to prove our innocence”.
The team were fined €400,000 and deducted 15 points following an FIA investigation into the brake ducts on this year’s RP20, which have been found to be a near-exact copy of those on the Mercedes W10 that dominated last season’s Formula One championship.
Mercedes shared their brake ducts with Racing Point last year when the rules permitted the sharing of certain designs, but during the off-season brake ducts were added to the ‘listed parts’ that means all teams must construct their own designs.
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
By using last year’s model to redesign the rear of their car, Racing Point were found to have breached the sporting regulations, though it was added that there was “no deliberate intent to any breach of the regulations”.
However, Renault, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have all given their intention to appeal the verdict as they do not feel the punishment is harsh enough, while they also oppose the allowance for Racing Point to continue to use the illegal parts for the remainder of the season without further sanction.
In response, Canadian billionaire Stroll – whose son Lance drives for the team – has issued a fierce response condemning their rivals for their actions.
“I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated – particularly those comments coming from our competitors,” Stroll said in a lengthy statement.
”I have never cheated at anything in my life. These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity – and that of my team – are beyond question.
“Everyone at Racing Point was shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling and firmly maintain our innocence.
“This team, under various names, has competed in Formula 1 for over 30 years and today employs 500 people. We’ve always been a constructor and will continue to be so in the future.”
Stroll believes that there are enough mitigating factors to reduce the punishment, with the team owner laying the blame at the door of the FIA rather than his team or Mercedes.
“There was an absence of specific guidance or clarification from the FIA in respect to how that transition to Listed Parts might be managed within the spirit and intent of the regulations,” he added.
“The rules, as they are written, state that after 2019, no further information on Brake Duct design can be shared or acquired. At that point, what you know and have learned, is your own information. From that point onwards, you are on your own. Which is exactly what we have done.
“So, to clarify, there was no guidance in place by the FIA surrounding the transition of non-listed to listed items and Racing Point received in March 2020 written confirmation from the FIA with regards to our compliance on the matter.”